Explorer Mikael Strandberg
Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Expedition Siberia 2004-5: Cooking in -50

Cooking in -50 and below? These two photos are from the easy times, when the fuel worked. Around -35. We could send messages, hang up an altitude meter and watch in the ceiling and cook. But when it went below -50, our Russian fuel froze. Sometimes we had to leave with no food in the darkness. So cold that one almost cried. I had to travel hours every morning squeezing my thumb and fingers, not using the poles at all. Only keeping my hands warm. So to get the stove going, big trouble. We had a MSR XGK-II, had to warm it on the body before use. Well, on the first layer on the skin. The same with the fuel bottle. The main problem was that we had to take off the gloves to clean the stove, to get it going. When it was really cold it took hours to start the stove, clean, melting water for use to food and lunch. I remember some of those coldest of days, like pure survival. We were cold all the time. On the verge of danger. But we did it. Not one frostbite through the winter. Mainly due to our preparations by starting our journey in the summer gradually accllimitizing and being brought up in a cold climate. And due to the help of the Siberians!

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