2014 – Arctic Venture

Arctic Venture is Yuri Klaver’s journey of discovery through 5 million square miles of wilderness, on foot, by ski, and kayak. The record-breaking expedition starts in Nome and leads through the Brooks Range, along the Arctic Ocean coast, through Canada to Greenland, over 6000 kilometers. Arctic Venture is an exploration of the power of the body, the perseverance of the mind, and new insights on personal leadership, risk management and sustainability.

2012: After a luckless start in Russia, Yuri paddles along the rugged shores of Alaska. In his attempt to reach the mouth of the Noatak River, he faces bad weather and high seas in the Bering Strait, and undertakes a daring and hard journey to the interior of the Seward Peninsula.

2013: Having sailed for two months along one of the most dangerous seas of the world, Yuri paddles up the Noatak River in the remote north of Alaska. In his attempt to enter the Brooks Range, he faces strong currents, wild animals and nearly manages to escape from the approaching arctic winter.

2014: Yuri becomes the first man ever to cross the Brooks Range in northern Alaska from coast to coast, by going up a river on skis, crossing a mountain pass, and paddling down Colville River to the Arctic Ocean. 

Below you can read how his recent trip of Arctic Venture went.

Amsterdam, September 23. Adventurer Yuri Klaver has returned from his five-month expedition through Arctic Alaska. He succeeded in becoming the first man to ever cross the remote Brooks Range from coast to coast, by going up a river on skis, crossing a mountain pass, and paddling downstream 1000 kilometers in a kayak to reach the Arctic Ocean, all alone. For 4 months he did not meet another human being.

In April, Yuri shoveled his kayak from the snow, which he had left behind last year. On skis he continued his way over Noatak River, to a mountain pass in the Brooks Range, in the most inaccessible wilderness of the United States. Along the way he met wolves, bears that had just come out of hibernation, and caribou that crossed
the river in large flocks. One of the severest dangers was the break-up of the river in spring.

Yuri’s own words of the dramatic night
“One night I heard a roaring sound. A storm? Caribou? An earthquake? I zipped open the tent, to see the large blocks of ice that had been stuck in the bend of the river, floating down with relentless force. The water gathering behind the ice began to rise rapidly. Before I could put my feet in my boots, the water swept through the vestibule, taking away the cutlery, pans and stove. I threw the cookware in the kayak and dragged the boat up the riverbed, together with the water-filled tent. Eventually I managed to get all the equipment on the dry riverbed with a lot of effort. It was freezing, and everything was soaked. It turned out the damage was limited so I could continue the expedition. ”

Three weeks later Yuri reached Aniuk River, which had become so high by the meltwater from the mountains that he had to wait a whole month before going further. Arriving at the mountain pass he carried all his equipment over land, to the origin of Etivluk River. 1000 kilometers downstream and 4 months later he reached the Arctic Ocean. All that time he did not encounter a single human being.

But the dangers were not over.
Yuri: “I slept in my tent, after having paddled 30 kilometers over a calm ocean the previous night. When I woke up at four o’clock in the afternoon there was a strong wind, which caused the waves to crash with full force against the shore, even though the wind was offshore. I had a bad feeling. With bare feet I ran to the spot where my kayak should lie. To my horror the kayak was gone, washed away by the sea. The wind had blown the kayak northbound to the North Pole. Three days later, employees of an oil rig would find the kayak, washed ashore on Jones Island, five kilometers from the coast.”

Again, Yuri continued. A few days after departing Prudhoe Bay, on route to the Canadian border, he was delayed for two weeks by a hurricane-force storm. When the storm abated, he decided to sail to a nearby drilling station where he could store his kayak in a shipping container. Since his American visa was almost expired, he had to return to Prudhoe Bay and end the season.

Next year in March Yuri will begin the trip’s third season, when he will try to get as far into Canada as possible, on skis, over the polar ice. The trip is part of the Venture Arctic expedition, with the aim of reaching Greenland in 2016.

Why would anyone make such a long and dangerous journey?
Yuri: “I want to know how far we can go as human beings. We are all made to wander through the wilderness, but the comfort of modern life ensures we do not fully use our physical and mental abilities. My goal is to inspire people to retrieve their dormant qualities, by giving presentations, by sharing my experiences facebook.com/arcticventure, and through my website