The Steppe of Misfortune - Photo by Jamie Maddison

The first on-foot crossing of the Saryesik-Atyrau Desert

In September this year, Untamed Border’s team member, Matt Traver, along with British-American photographer, Mark Woodward, headed out to Kazakhstan to document Jamie Maddison’s attempt to complete the first on-foot crossing of the Saryesik-Atyrau Desert. Jamie ran across the lower reaches of this sandy expanse – from the Ili to the Karatal Rivers – in under 30 hours. Across that time Jamie had to contend with 36ºC heat and soft sand dunes underfoot. You can read more about Jamie’s incredible expeditions at and check out Mark’s other work in the desert regions of New Mexico at A short film will be released early next year by Matt and Mark.