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Red Bull duo defy minus 60-degree temperatures to ski down Gora Pobeda.
There’s remote and then there’s remote.
Some 1300 kilometres from the nearest helicopter or hospital - and hence rescue - for Matthias ‘Haumi’ Haunholder and Matthias Mayr, it was a proper mission impossible.
The pair had just successfully completed their previous challenge of becoming the first #people to ski the remote Onekaton Island when on flying home they passed over Gora Pobeda, the highest peak of the Chersky range at 3,003 metres, and from that moment the challenge to become the first #people to ever ski down it was set.
It is befitting their film, labelled The White Maze for the myriad of icy and snow-covered terrain they traversed, should open with a TS Eliot quote.
It states simply: “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
And the pair did exactly that with just three weeks in which to undertake the challenge of travelling hundreds of kilometres, climbing up the mountain and then finally skiing down it.
The conditions were not kind, temperatures fluctuating so dramatically that at one stage it was minus-60 degrees and boiling water hurled into the air would immediately turn to snow, and then there were days their adapted van would find the icy roads had melted overnight in the increased heat and turned into rivers.
Their visually stunning and, at times, eerie voyage saw them travel by van initially along the so-called 'Road of Bones" on a 40-hour drive. It was a road on which they admitted they couldn't afford to get stuck... only to get stuck.
That route eventually brought them to the village of Sasyr, the last civilisation before the rest of their expedition and with a population of 700 #people. There the locals told them they were "crazy" for tackling "the unthinkable".
On their voyage, when the icy roads could take them no further, they had to carry, push and pull their gear over hundreds of kilometres of ice and snow.
The perilous conditions meant they were not even sure their camera equipment would work sufficiently well to capture the required footage in such Arctic temperatures in some of the most barren parts of Eastern Siberian.
The pair’s motto was that “there’s always a way”, a cause helped with the support of a local family of nomads, whose knowledge of the area and support was imperative to the success of the duo.
On the climb itself, they had to contend with dodging crevasses and walking along steep ridges before reaching the summit and skiing down under glorious blue skies.
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