"Hero of Russia" Malakov on another Alaska exploration

Jul 29, 2015

Dr. Mikhail Malakov and companions are expected to be kayaking Cook Inlet, Iliamna Lake, and down the Kvichak River for two weeks.

KDLG: Residents in the Iliamna Lake region and in Naknek and King Salmon:  keep an eye out for a group of kayaks traveling along your shorelines in the week or so ahead.  A famed Russian polar explorer and some comrades will be tracing an old but now familiar route from Homer to Naknek.

Audio transcript below:

Dr. Mikhail Malakov and his traveling companions were expected to set off from Homer Wednesday, intending to cross Cook Inlet, traverse the Pile Bay Road, make stops in villages as they cross Iliamna Lake, then down the Kvichak River to Naknek. They hope to wind up their trip in about two weeks with a visit to Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park.

Malakov has carved out quite a reputation over decades of polar travel, study in the medical field, and even as a member of Russia’s parliament. In 1992 he and Canadian Richard Weber made the first attempt at reaching the North Pole unassisted and under human power, starting from the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf in Canada. Just 24 miles short of their goal the pair turned back, ran out of ice, and had to be picked up. Three years later they made a second attempt and successfully reached the Pole in 81 days; with their return trip they set a record for longest unsupported polar journey.

This will be Dr. Malakov’s fifth trip in Alaska. Previous explorations have included the Yukon, Kuskokwim, and Nushagak Rivers, and the Aleutian Islands.

The purpose of this trip and others is to retrace routes used by early Russian explorers in Alaska. It’s said that he and his companions prefer traveling the hard way to better appreciate the conditions his forebears endured during the late 1700's and early 1800's.

Reach the author at dave@kdlg.org or by calling 907.842.2200.