Video: A Glimpse of a Truly Frozen Frontier

Riding along with Siberia's ancient reindeer herders
Staff Writer

Mikael Strandberg

Mikael Strandberg is a curious sort of explorer. After a handful of bicycle expeditions—Chile-Alaska, Norway-South Africa, New Zealand-Egypt—his later journies have been cultural explorations by foot and, most recently, mounted on various animals. He and his wife rode 1,900 miles across remote Patagonia on horseback in the late 1990s, he walked across East Africa's Maasailand in 2000, he explored 2,100 miles along Siberia's Kolyma River by ski and canoe in 2004, and last year he rode a camel across Yemen.

This month, he wrapped up a 400-mile trip across the frozen hinterlands of Siberia with Eveny reindeer herders that started in Oymyakon, Siberia—one of the coldest inhabited places on the planet, where temps routinely bottom out below -75ºF—and passed through a wild, rarely visited mountainous region to the Sea of Okhotsk on the Pacific coast. He traveled on foot and on reindeer-pulled sleighs (sounds like Santa, no?) and, luckily, only got minor frostbite on his cheeks. Though the journey is over, Strandberg is still writing dispatches about his experience and producing a documentary with OutWild TV, a preview of which is below.

During a 2012 scouting trip to Siberia, Strandberg said of the extreme cold travel: "It's few things today which can really make you feel like it's worth living for… coming here and seeing these reindeer herders, working the way they've done for thousands of years, it's a profound, extraordinary feeling… if you feel like you've done everything, you haven't, because this is the last thing to do."


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