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Crossing the world's deepest lake


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  • Chamberlain

Lake Baikal, the world's deepest, offers astounding views along its shoreline - and winter tours of its frozen expanse have become increasingly popular.

With some trepidation, Oleg Boldyrev walked, and even rode, across the multi-coloured ice.

Lake Baikal with bare treesIMAGE SOURCE,OLEG BOLDYREV
Image caption,
The giant lake creates its own climate - and winter around Baikal normally starts later than elsewhere in eastern Siberia. In late December, the lake finally freezes over - but there is very little snow until mid-January.
Huge rock surrounded by blocks of iceIMAGE SOURCE,OLEG BOLDYREV
Image caption,
Olkhon, the largest island in the lake, is a popular tourist destination, when Covid restrictions allow.
Close up of a man's shoes stood on frozen lakeIMAGE SOURCE,OLEG BOLDYREV
Image caption,
Soon, the ice is thick enough to walk on - and even for some lighter cars to drive. In February, the ice road from the mainland to Olkhon Island opens for a short period, depending on the thickness.
Close-up of sharp slabs of IceIMAGE SOURCE,OLEG BOLDYREV
Image caption,
Images of the ice have drawn lots of interest on social networks.
An abandoned bike lying on the frozen lakeIMAGE SOURCE,OLEG BOLDYREV
Image caption,
A bike with studded tyres is one of the ways to explore this frozen expanse.
Two men skating on the frozen lakeIMAGE SOURCE,OLEG BOLDYREV
Image caption,
Skating is also popular.
A long crack in the middle of the lake extending out of shotIMAGE SOURCE,OLEG BOLDYREV
Image caption,
The lake offers many miles of perfectly smooth ice. First-time visitors may be taken aback by the massive booms and cracks as it expands and contracts, in the daytime. This is normal, locals say, but watch out for larger openings.
Paper thin layers of ice protruding from the surfaceIMAGE SOURCE,OLEG BOLDYREV
Image caption,
The ice is never still. Massive pressure causes ruptures and elaborate combinations of paper-thin and rock-heavy layers protrude from the surface.
A single block of ice with a blue tintIMAGE SOURCE,OLEG BOLDYREV
Image caption,
Baikal is known for extremely clear water.
View of blocks of ice submerged in the lakeIMAGE SOURCE,OLEG BOLDYREV
Image caption,
It produces hundreds of different patterns of multi-layered cracks or bubbles.
close up of ice sculptures hanging off a cliffIMAGE SOURCE,OLEG BOLDYREV
Image caption,
On the rocky shore, winter creates elaborate ice sculptures of its own.

All photographs courtesy Oleg Boldyrev.

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