Lake Baikal - world's deepest lake

March 6-7th, 2019 

Lake Baikal is a geological wonder and is the lake of the extremes: let's go together to the Baikal lake in winter, crossing it completely and sleeping on its thick ice, discovering all the incredible facts of this fascinating place in Siberia.


Lake Baikal is a true geological wonder unique in the world and is the lake of the extremes and of the Guinness world records under many aspects. But let's see what are the features that make Lake Baikal so fascinating and so unique:

But now let's see some photos of Lake Baikal, taken in early March on a crossing expedition aboard a 4x4.

Mappa della traversata del Bajkal
A map showing the route followed aboard a 4x4 to cross Baikal lake, with an overnight stay in a tent near the point where the Baikal Lake is deeper. These mini-expeditions are generally possible between mid-February and mid-March, when the ice is transparent, perfectly safe and little contaminated by frost or snow.
Olkhon Island Lake Baikal Olkhon Island
The Baikal Lake crossing begins from Olkhon Island, a kind of sub-arctic desert, where the absence of snow reveals rocks covered by orange lichens. In the background, the clear ice of Lake Baikal.
Pressure ridge in Baikal ice Car crossing pressure ridge in the ice
Van on the ice Tire for driving on ice
Once the van gets on Lake Baikal, the vehicle has to negotiate several fractures in the ice, which are created by the enormous pressure throughout the ice sheet. Generally the passengers are let off the van, either to lighten the vehicle, either to give the opportunity to enjoy the scene from outside, in a beautiful surrounding.
Gas bubbles in the ice Methan bubbles in the ice
Methane bubbles released by algae in the seabed and trapped into transparent ice, are very numerous.
Gas bubble in the ice
A strange methane bubble shaped like a mushroom.
Broken ice sheet Lago Baikal
Baikal lake crossing Baikal Lake
Once off Olkhon island, visitors can enjoy various types of ice among patches of snow. The transparent ice, which appears black, is full of veins and is incredibly suggestive. Sometimes it is like observing the vascular system of a living creature.
Cracks in the ice Broken ice
Transparent ice sheets Shores of Lake Baikal
The pressure ridges in the ice are instead a chaotic mass of sheets and blocks of ice, often very transparent, which seem to have been piled up by a bulldozer that got crazy.
Blue ice Blue ice
Black ice Transparent ice
Sometimes the ice appears blue. The blue ice is very picturesque and can be find mainly near the shore.
Gas trapped in ice Methane trapped in ice
Ice with gas bubbles
Ice with methane bubbles Gas in Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is one of the lakes with greatest gaseous activity in the world, a feature evidenced by the presence of millions of gas bubbles trapped in the ice in numerous areas of the lake (and in particular along the coast).
Cars parked on ice Tent on ice
Tents on ice Camping on ice
Camp on Baikal ice Baikalnature ice camp
In Baikal ice camp, provided by BAIKALNATURE, visitors can stay overnight in tents over the ice. The camp is located more or less in the middle of the lake, very close to Baikal's deepest point. The tents are equipped with heaters that can be left on during the night and can host up to 6 people each. The smaller brown tents are instead the bathrooms.
Lake Baikal ice Baikal Lake ice
Baikal ice Baikal black ice
Baikal transparent ice Baikal in winter
Frozen Baikal lake Venis in the ice
Cracked ice Clean ice
Baikal clean ice Clear ice Baikal lake
Staying in a tent on Lake Baikal gives the chance to take long walks on the ice, enjoying the place without any need to rush and without a fixed schedule.
Sometimes large sheets of white ice are trapped and incorporated into transparent ice.
Patterns on ice made by aliens
Sometimes instead the veins in the ice are so precise that looks like made by aliens.
Baikal pure ice
Ice flowers
Not far from the base camp, I found an area of the lake covered by snow: anyway, more than snow, they are rather un-amalgamated ice crystals that cover large blocks of transparent ice.
Ice crystals
The ice crystals are usually so light that they can be blown away even by a light breeze. It is difficult to make, for example, a snowman or a snowball, because this type of snow does not aggregate.
Sauna tent on ice Lake Baikal banja
Swim in Lake Baikal

Bathing in Lake Baikal. At the base camp there is a sauna tent, for those who want to experience the thrill of the so-called "banja". In essence, you can warm yourself well in the sauna, then dive for a few seconds in the cold water of the lake, before returning to the sauna. I preferred not to try, but it looks to be very safe and, maybe, also funny.

Lake Baikal sunset
Ice reflecting sunset
Staying in a tent on Baikal also gives the chance to enjoy sunset and sunrise directly from over the ice. The transparent ice blocks reflect the orange light of the sun, looking like many small candles.
Me on the ice.

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