In January, 2011, Kyle Henning began a human-powered, solo expedition from the lowest point on the African continent to the highest. Starting at the shore of Lake Assal, Djibouti (155m below sea level), he bicycled 2,980km through four countries to the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania and trekked to the summit of Uhuru Peak (5,892m above sea level) on March 26, 2011.

Equator in Africa

At the shore of Lake Assal, Djibouti 155m below sea level

At the shore of Lake Assal, Djibouti 155m below sea level

The seed for Low2High: Africa was planted in 2006 after Kyle read ‘Ultimate High’ by Göran Kropp, a Swedish mountaineer who in 1996 rode his bicycle from Sweden to Nepal, towing all his gear on a trailer, and then climbed to the summit of Mount Everest without oxygen. It has been one of the most incredible adventures anyone in the world has ever done, and it has inspired many expeditions since. [More about that expedition here]

Kyle was living in Sacramento at the time and took a trip to the Grand Canyon and Death Valley with some friends. As he stood in Badwater Basin in southern California (the lowest point in America), he looked up at the ‘Sea Level’ marker in the rock above him. Kyle then had to think about Kropp and decided to one day have his own expedition from the lowest to highest points of North America, connecting Badwater Basin and Denali by bicycle.

He had to push this idea to the back of his head as he continued his service with AmeriCorps. Two years later, when Kyle was off to Ethiopia as a Peace Corps volunteer the idea resurfaced. What about the lowest to highest, in Africa? It was then that he started seriously planning his expedition.

He discovered that the lowest point in Africa – Lake Assal, Djibouti (155m below sea level) – was in fact not too far away from where he was living in Ethiopia. After a friend donated him a mountainbike that had just been cycled from Tanzania up to Ethiopia Kyle had his ride.

Route map Low2High
01-Lac-Assal

Kyle tried to follow Kropp’s philosophy of self-sufficiency as much as possible. He really wanted to honor his memory with his own expedition. It took Kyle a total 68 days to complete his biking, hiking and climbing mission raising $5000 for the New Day Children Centre in Ethiopia.
On March 26, 2011, Kyle stood on the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro and he felt he’d lived his own adventure the ‘Göran Kropp way’!

On the top of Kilimanjaro

Kyle swears a documentary film about Low2High: Africa is in the works, so stay tuned!
In the meantime a little teaser video of this kickass adventure below:

 

 

Sources: Low2highafrica website, MikaelStrandberg.com, Explorersweb.com, Adventureworldmagazine