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Abstract

The present exploratory study was undertaken with two experienced explorers in order to examine daily events, perceived demands, coping strategies, and mood during a unique 636–675 km ‘‘double solo’’ crossing of Lake Baikal, a frozen lake in Siberia. A 59-year-old female explorer and a 49-year-old male explorer completed a daily survey and written diary during the expedition to collect situational data. Two semi-structured interviews were also completed, one within 24 hours and a second within four months of their return. These interviews sought to identify demands and coping efforts perceived as being most pertinent during their expedition. Guided by the work of Skinner et al. (2003), families of coping were organized around three human concerns (autonomy, relatedness, and competence) and two targets of coping (self or context). Findings illustrate two very different expedition experiences as evidenced by demands faced and coping strategies utilized, which influenced perceptions of workload and emotions experienced. Each explorer brought idiosyncrasies, which, when combined with different expedition experiences, bore influence on coping behaviors (focused on the self or context) and outcomes relative to the concerns of autonomy, relatedness, and competency. In discussing the findings, recommendations are offered for those preparing to undertake expeditions in extreme environments.

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