Montane Spine Race Organiser Sets New World Record

Scott Gilmour, organiser of the Montane Spine Race and old friend of Montane was recently part of a 3 man British expedition that set a new speed record for an unsupported crossing the world’s largest (by volume) freshwater lake, Siberia’s Lake Baikal.

The team covered a distance of around 640km (497 miles) in 12

12 days, 21 hours and 13 minutes, finishing on Wednesday 14 March at 02:08 local time.

The trio beat the previous record of 13 days and 16 hours, set by Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab in 2010, by around 18 hours.

To do so, the three adventurers had to put in a final continuous push of 135km over 42 hours, during which time they slept for just two hours, in their bivvy bags. Their attempt started on 1 March 04:55 local time.

“I’m totally knackered, but very happy,” said Gilmour, as he feasted on bacon and eggs at the finish. “I’m very relieved to be finally finished. I had a very tough last couple of days, but felt inspired and encouraged by my team mates, Mike and Rob, who helped me through. I’m just proud to have shared this experience with two great team-mates.”

The record-breaking attempt took place in the highest snowfall in the region since 1969, with temperatures regularly down to -35°C, and often strong winds. Though the team had spells of good weather too.

During the expedition, the team had to navigate around areas of ‘rubble ice’, as they pulled sledges containing all their equipment and food, covering 50 kilometres a day on average.

They survived most of the trip with just one working stove, meaning every night one of them would stay up late melting water for the others, while their team-mates slept. They averaged four hours’ sleep per night over the 12 days.

“It’s an amazing effort by a team of relative beginners in the world of polar travel,” said Philip Hayday-Brown, a polar adventurer, guide and co-owner of Ultra Endurance Series, who was in charge of operational support for the attempt. “Two of the three have very little experience of this kind of expedition, making this record all the more meaningful and impressive. They’ve proven that with some basic knowledge of how to survive and perform in regions of extreme cold, anything is possible.”

The team benefitted from expert training in Sweden on a Polar Endurance training package from, prior to this trip.

All photo credits: Scott Gilmour/

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