Human powered Khan Tengri, 2014

A 15000 kilometer journey through Central Asia, on a bike, towards a mountain half way across the world. The short summary which follows has been reduced to a minimum, and the technical details will be included in posts as the planning continues. But the first step already been taken, and the direction is clear.

Starting from Romania

How many times do you get to start your adventure exactly from your doorstep. I would say not too often , especially for a city dweller. Exactly here lies the beauty of long bike tours, and I can already imagine the feeling that you have a world ahead of you and only your legs to power the journey. And a lot of time, 9 months which in the rushed world in which we live today seems endless.

Cycle the Silk Road

Before getting to the Silk Road I would have to cross Bulgaria and Turkey, travelling southeastwards toward Iran, and towards the Spring. In order to have enough time for my plan I would have to start early, at the end of February, which might mean a cold and tough ride for the first month. Hopefully I would meet up with the spring in Iran, and continue along the old Silk Road, this ancient melting pot of cultures and nations, through the Stans towards Kyrgystan. I want to travel the roads less traveled, and document the experience through photography and writing.

Trek to the base camp

After the 7000 kilometer journey, I would leave my bicycle and the bike touring gear at the last inhabited place before the two week trek to the base camp starts. And after 60 kilometers on one of the worlds longest glaciers, surrounded by 6000 meter peaks I will reach the base camp of Khan Tengri, where I would meet up with my climbing partners from Romania and where I would get my winter climbing equipment.

Climb the mountain

The Lord of the Spirits, or Khan Tengri, is a 7000 meter pyramid of rock and ice and arguably one of the most aesthetic peaks in the world. It’s probably the perfect target at the end of the journey, at least for someone who is passionate about mountaineering. And it’s going to be one of the greenest ways of reaching it’s peak, from home to it’s peak just by using human power. I can only hope for good conditions, good weather and good health.

Getting back to the home on two wheels

After the mountain, the journey is only half over. The route towards home starts with sending the climbing equipment home, retracing my steppes on the Inylchek glacier, and hopefully finding all my bike touring belongings at the foot of the glacier.

The endless steppes

The journey to Romania will lead through the endless steppes of Kazakhstan and southern Russia, racing the autumn and then the winter on the way back. Even though it might seem bare and unspectacular, I think there is beauty also in the steppes, and that it’s somehow buried in our indo-european subconscious. And when Mongolia is too far away, I would have to do with the steppes of southern Russia. After the Caspian Sea, depending on time I can chose to cross the Caucasus into Georgia, Azerbaijan and back to Turkey, or continue along the coast of the Black Sea back to Romania.

The return home

There are 3 moments which I can easily imagine right now related to the journey. One is the moment of the departure, when you know that you have 9 months ahead of you, the other is a moment somewhere lost in the middle of nowhere in Central Asia and the last one would be the moment when I would return home, to all things familiar, to the mountains and to the people which are dear to me. And each of them has it’s beauty, and you can’t have one without the other.


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