All by himself

Fedor Konyukhov’s top records
17 February 2017
Fedor Konyukhov is a world-famous extreme travel adventurer, writer, painter and sea captain. Last week, his personal record list got even longer – he flew 55 hours in a hot air balloon together with ballooner Ivan Menyailo. looks back at Fedor’s top seven achievements.
Fedor Konyukhov became the first soviet athlete to reach the geographical North Pole location alone. © Vladimir Medvedev/TASS

The first man at the five ‘poles’ of the planet

Konyukhov became the first traveler to reach five ‘poles’: North, South, the Northern pole of inaccessibility, Everest and Cape Horn. He reached the pole of inaccessibility in 1986 together with the expedition of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. Two years later together with the same team he reached the North Pole. He climbed mount Everest in 1992, and reached the South Pole in 1995 in a ski expedition which took 64 days.
November 1, 1992. Fedor Konyukhov’s round-the-world trip, on his way to Australia aboard the yacht Admiral Nevelskoi. © Valentin Titov/TASS

First Russian to travel the world non-stop on a yacht

Fedor Konyukov is the first man in Russia’s history to complete a solitary non-stop circumnavigation. Fedor completed the trip - Sydney – Cape Horn – equator – Sydney – aboard an 11m (36 ft) yacht ‘Karaana’ in 224 days from fall 1990 to spring 1991.
Konyukhov on his solitary expedition to the North Pole. © Vladimir Medvedev/TASS

First Russian to complete the “7 Summits of the World” program

This route to the highest peaks of the world include Mt. Elbrus (Europe), Mt. Everest (Asia), Vinson Massif (Antarctica), Aconcagua (South America), Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mt. Kosciusko (Australia), Mt. McKinley (North America). By the way, the North American peak has a new name now – it’s called Denali, taking the name after the national park where it’s located.
Fedor Konyukhov arrives in Miass abourt the 7-meter rowing boat ‘URALAZ’ he used to cross the Atlantic, setting a new world record. © Valery Bushukhin/TASS

World record for crossing the Atlantic aboard the URALAZ rowing boat

Despite all his ‘mountainous’ achievements, it’s the sea that is Fedor’s real calling. He has been in 40 sea expeditions altogether, and in 2002 he was the first Russian to cross the Atlantic on a rowing boat. The trip lasted 46 days and 4 hours – a world record under the solo crossing category.

World record for crossing the Pacific on a row boat

Konyukhov began his Pacific crossing mainland-to-mainland from the Chilean town of Concon – a trip of 17408 km. After 160 days, his boat touched the shore of Eastern Australia. According to the International Ocean Rowing Society, the previous record for crossing the Pacific (South) in a solo row boat was 273 days.
Konyukhov spent 55 hours and 15 minutes in the air in a hot air balloon, beating the previous record of 50 hours and 38 minutes. © Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

Fastest round-the-world balloon flight

In July 12-23, 2016 Konyukhov completed a round-the-world trip in the ‘Morton’ hot air balloon. He admitted he had dreamed of this feat since 2002. “It was interesting, the fact I was steering such a big balloon. I had nobody to learn from,” Konyukhov admitted.

The balloon was launched in Northam, Western Australia, July 12. He traversed the Pacific, South America, the Atlantic, passed the Cape of Good Hope, across the Indian Ocean to land back in Australia. One of the most challenging parts of the voyage was the trip across the Indian Ocean – the balloon got caught up in strong winds which carried it towards Antarctica. To change the direction of the flight back to Australia, Konyukhov had to gain an unprecedented altitude of 10,600 m.
Konyukhov ahead of his flight in a hot air balloon from the Yuzhny aerodrome with ballooner Ivan Menyailo. The traveler spent 55 hours and 15 minutes in the air, which beat the previous record of 50 hours and 38 minutes. © Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

World’s longest hot air balloon flight

On February 7, 2017 Fyodor Konyukhov and professional balloonist Ivan Menyailo beat the 20-year-old absolute hot air balloon non-stop flight world record having spent 55 hours and 15 minutes in the air. The previous world record (50 hours and 38 minutes) was set by Michio Kanda and Hirazuki Takezava, of Japan, in 1997. To complete the set journey, Konyukhov and Menyailo had to avoid crossing any foreign borders – the wind had the risk of steering them towards Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania. What’s more, even flying over Moscow could force the trip to stop in case of a strong snowfall.

There are many records in balloon flight that Fedor has yet to beat. For example, India holds the record for highest hot air balloon altitude reached. In 2005, pilot and businessman Vijaypat Singhania reached the altitude of more than 21 km.


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