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Adventurer Christian Clot Traverses 4 Extreme Environments to Study Human Adaptability

Explorer and researcher Christian Clot succeeded in multiple solo traverses of extreme environments on his expedition – Adaptation 4×30.

Christian Clot traversed the four most extreme environments on earth by foot and by raft to study the adaptability of human beings. He first crossed Iran’s Dasht-E Lut desert, the hottest and driest land on Earth in 2016, and then from December 2016-January 2017 he traveled 113 miles through the Amazon (using our packrafts!), the hottest and most humid climate on earth. And in 2017, he finished up by walking 113 miles through the coldest and driest terrain on earth—Siberia’s Verkhoyansk Mounts. He endured temperatures down to -58 °C (-72 °F) with wind chills exceeding -70 °C (-94 °F). The photos in this essay are from his adventure in the Amazon.

“Whatever the means of progression, a new camp had to be assembled every evening. In this case, it was necessary to completely clear a space on the of approximately 2 to 3 square meters to secure the site before installing a hammock and a tarpaulin. Then came the scientific duties and, every three days, the search for and the purification of water. Water was sometimes difficult to find, despite the abundance of precipitations: rain every day, sometimes the whole day, and deluge at certain times. It rained so much that the river level increased significantly.”
“Whatever the means of progression, a new camp had to be assembled every evening. In this case, it was necessary to completely clear a space on the of approximately 2 to 3 square meters to secure the site before installing a hammock and a tarpaulin. Then came the scientific duties and, every three days, the search for and the purification of water. Water was sometimes difficult to find, despite the abundance of precipitations: rain every day, sometimes the whole day, and deluge at certain times. It rained so much that the river level increased significantly.”
Clot carried 120 pounds worth of equipment into the Amazon, including scientific material, camping equipment, and freeze-dried food. Of the trip he says, “The weight didn't become any lighter through the journey as although the weight of the food decreased, all the equipment became soggy due to a long period of intense rain.” In order to carry that much while finding his way through dense forest and irregular terrain, Clot had to ferry gear through the woods, first cutting his way with little gear and then carrying the rest of the gear on the second trip. Of the gear, he says: “An inevitably slow progression rarely exceeding 5 kilometers (3 miles) a day, during which every move was carefully calculated to avoid frightening an animal or landing feet or hands in the wrong place.”
Clot carried 120 pounds worth of equipment into the Amazon, including scientific material, camping equipment, and freeze-dried food. Of the trip he says, “The weight didn’t become any lighter through the journey as although the weight of the food decreased, all the equipment became soggy due to a long period of intense rain.”

In order to carry that much while finding his way through dense forest and irregular terrain, Clot had to ferry gear through the woods, first cutting his way with little gear and then carrying the rest of the gear on the second trip. Of the gear, he says: “An inevitably slow progression rarely exceeding 5 kilometers (3 miles) a day, during which every move was carefully calculated to avoid frightening an animal or landing feet or hands in the wrong place.”
In order to carry that much while finding his way through dense forest and irregular terrain, Clot had to ferry gear through the woods, first cutting his way with little gear and then carrying the rest of the gear on the second trip. Of the gear, he says: “An inevitably slow progression rarely exceeding 5 kilometers (3 miles) a day, during which every move was carefully calculated to avoid frightening an animal or landing feet or hands in the wrong place.”
According to Clot, he made good progress through the forest only when he was able use his self-bailing packraft. “Whether on the Jau, Carabinani, Negro and Puduari rivers or in swamp areas, the raft has shown how useful it was for this type of exploratory mission.” Of using the raft on his trip, Clot explains: “The notion of effort is not to be underestimated under temperatures regularly reaching 40°C with 100% humidity (i.e it feels to the body like nearly 75°C according to the Humidex rate). Every move increases corporal physiology exhaustion, so using the raft is both a way to go faster and a means to feel more secure. Especially when alone and totally isolated.”
According to Clot, he made good progress through the forest only when he was able use his self-bailing packraft. “Whether on the Jau, Carabinani, Negro and Puduari rivers or in swamp areas, the raft has shown how useful it was for this type of exploratory mission.”
Of using the raft on his trip, Clot explains: “The notion of effort is not to be underestimated under temperatures regularly reaching 40°C with 100% humidity (i.e it feels to the body like nearly 75°C according to the Humidex rate). Every move increases corporal physiology exhaustion, so using the raft is both a way to go faster and a means to feel more secure. Especially when alone and totally isolated.”
Of using the raft on his trip, Clot explains: “The notion of effort is not to be underestimated under temperatures regularly reaching 40°C with 100% humidity (i.e it feels to the body like nearly 75°C according to the Humidex rate). Every move increases corporal physiology exhaustion, so using the raft is both a way to go faster and a means to feel more secure. Especially when alone and totally isolated.”
Temperatures fluctuated between + 24°C at night and + 38°C, with peaks at + 44° during the day. The average humidity was 93%, most days though, they reached 100%. This represents measures of heat (taking into account temperatures, relative humidity, wind, etc.) reaching up to + 75°C.
Temperatures fluctuated between + 24°C at night and + 38°C, with peaks at + 44° during the day. The average humidity was 93%, most days though, they reached 100%. This represents measures of heat (taking into account temperatures, relative humidity, wind, etc.) reaching up to + 75°C.
Beyond these difficult conditions ‐ where real danger often came from branches, weighted down by water, falling off trees, ‐ the experience in the Amazon has proved to be a success. All the scientific protocols could be carried out, the distance was covered and adaptation to the environment took place both physiologically and psychologically.
“Beyond these difficult conditions ‐ where real danger often came from branches, weighted down by water, falling off trees ‐ the experience in the Amazon has proved to be a success. All the scientific protocols could be carried out, the distance was covered and adaptation to the environment took place both physiologically and psychologically.”

Story & photos by Christian Clot