Come take a walk across the world's largest freshwater lake...


Are you up to the challenge?

More people have skied to the North Pole than have crossed Lake Baikal...

Whether you fancy being an explorer or simply want to take on a unique challenge this could be for you. You don’t need experience and you don’t need to be an athlete!

Lake Baikal is the largest fresh water lake in the world. It contains an estimated 22-23% of the world’s fresh water. More than all of the North American Great Lakes combined. In places over a mile deep it is also the world’s deepest lake. It is also considered the world’s oldest lake at between 25 and 30 million years old.

It lies in southern Siberia, Russia. Mongolia is not far from its southern point and the Buriyat Republic and its unique tribes lie on its eastern shores. Home to thousands of plant and animal species it is a truly magnificent, beautiful and little visited region. Temperatures in winter can sometimes dip below -20C meaning that the lake is usually covered in a layer of ice thick enough, in places, to drive a car over. In winter the surrounding tree covered mountains are dusted in snow. The sunsets are often jaw-dropping and on cloud free nights the myriad of stars is awesome.

To reach the lake you will travel from London, via Moscow, to Irkutsk. Irkutsk itself is a city of more than half a million people with a rich history and many places of interest. Transport will meet you at the airport and you will then spend two nights and one full day in Irkutsk making final preparations, buying fresh food supplies, having some free time and enjoying a send-off celebration in a typical Siberian restaurant before being driven to Kultuk on the shores of the lake from where you will set off.



Route 1

Setting off from the small Siberian town of Kultuk and its quaint wooden buildings, you will first of all head into the middle of the lake and then across to the southern-most point near an old Soviet railway station called Pankovka on the trans-Siberian railway line. From there you will head back northwards to the opposite shore and a town called Listvyanka where you will be met by support staff and driven back to Irkutsk to celebrate, spend a comfortable night and fly home the following day.



Route 2

Groups undertaking the longer route will also set off from Kultuk and head into the middle of the lake and then across to the southern-most point at Pankovka.

Those undertaking the longer route should be able to cover slightly longer distances each day. After reaching the southern-most point they will also head back northwards but will then head north-east and stay mid-lake to avoid some areas known for open water before heading towards the western shores and on up to the Olkhon Gate and the south end of Olkhon Island.

They will be met at or near a town called Chernorud where support staff will drive you back to Irkutsk to celebrate, spend a comfortable night and fly home the following day.



Mike Laird

Mike completed a solo 640 kilometers journey across Lake Baikal in 25 days in 2019 and touched the west coast then the most northerly, most easterly and most southerly points of the lake.

He has also skied full distance to the North Pole and ventured to the Diomede Islands and Bering Strait.

He will be the trainer and supervisor for the expedition, supported by Russian ground staff on arrival in Siberia.

He has been awarded Fellowships to both the Royal Geographic Society and the Royal Asiatic Society and he was a Trustee of the Scientific Exploration Society for over ten years. He has visited almost 100 countries, led numerous expeditions as well as humanitarian aid projects in a variety of countries.

He is a professional diver and also works in Risk Management.



Contact & Registration

To register your interest (without obligation) please email mike@crossingbaikal.com and provide:

We’ll call you to acknowledge your interest and to answer any immediate questions that you may have.

If you wish to apply for a place on the expedition, you can complete and return our Application Form here.

Discounts are available for groups:

The training weekends will be in England in October (Navigation and Satellite Communications) and November (Medical and Safety) 2021. In addition instruction will be provided on equipment purchase and usage, visas, health / dental check-ups and general well-being.

Due to the ongoing global Covid situation, no payment will be requested from you, other than the training weekends, before December 2021. The go/no-go date has been set as 1 December 2021. You must have comprehensive travel insurance for the trip that provides for cancellation in the event of Covid situations arising. Full payment will be required by 1st January 2022.



Covid Statement

The ongoing Global Pandemic continues to create many unknowns and global uncertainty in the context of overseas travel and the delivery of the Lake Baikal 2022 Expedition.

To allow participants to indicate their interest, without any financial obligation or commitment at this stage, we are not asking for any payment prior to 1st December 2021 for the expedition. Payment for the UK based training weekends in October and November 2021 will be managed separately. (Applications from people residing outside UK will receive virtual training (via Zoom, Face Time, Whatsapp or Skype) plus a subsequent re-familiarisation session once in Russia).

We are hopeful that progress and clarity on the overall Global Pandemic situation may be reached during 2021 and acknowledge there is a possibility it may not be. A final ‘ go / no-go’ decision for the expedition will be made on 1st December 2021. We shall continue to monitor the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in-country advice prior to departure, as part of our overall Risk Management.

It is possible that entry to The Russian Federation may require a ‘Vaccine Passport’ to evidence the fact that you have been vaccinated against Covid. We will provide current advice as it develops although it remains your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate vaccinations and appropriate travel insurance for entry to The Russian Federation and for the expedition prior to leaving the UK.