Alps instead of Argentina, bicycle rather than car or plane and a tent instead of a tidy hotel. On their trip across the alps world renowned kayakers Olaf Obsommer, Lukas Wielatt, Jens Klatt and Philip Baues traveled by bike from river to river – by fair means and pulling their kayaks on a bicycle trailer behind them. This time it was not only about the highest waterfall, it was about the journey itself: the scenery, the people and about discovering simplicity.
This self-supporting kickass journey reminds us very much of Göran Kropp’s biking and climbing mission from Sweden to the top of Mount Everest [ULTIMATE HIGH: MY EVEREST ODYSSEY]. Instead of carrying climbing equipment our bike2boat culprits carry kayaks and wetsuits in the trailers behind their bikes.
Olaf Obsommer, internationally renowned kayaker and adventure film maker explains the reason for their trip:
‘After having travelled the world with our kayaks leaving huge ecological footprints, we began to ask ourselves if it would be possible to do such a project by more sustainable means. But could we make it without a car? Would our legs carry us to put-ins and take outs, and up and over the passes from river to river? Would we have the patience to travel at such a slow pace with so much whitewater on hand? We wanted to find out. We wanted to know what it would feel like to earn the rivers we’d paddle and we looked forward to escaping the rush of every day life. As compensation for traveling slowly, we knew we would be better able to soak up scenery and experiences along the way.
On July 1st 2012 the kayak team embarked on a trial expedition aptly named bike2boat across Norway. They started in the city of Bergen, with high hopes and fresh legs.
“We loaded our kayaks on bike trailers instead of a roof rack. Tent, sleeping bag, stove, food and equipment was stuffed in panniers, the kayaking gear in the boats on the trailers. Ahead of us lay a 700 kilometer route up hill and down dale, past glaciers and coves, through valleys and fjords, from river to river.”
Check it out here:
The year after the kayak fanatics decided they wanted a even more kickass challenge and so they set off for a bike2boat trip across the Alps. They started in Cannes (France) and drew the finish line in Venice (Italy) crossing Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia in between.
It turned in a 2000km trip with 35.000m of altitude climbed on their bicycles and many rivers pedaled in between.
Colder than expected temperatures made their passing of some of the Alp cols a snowy and slippery struggle with the occasional snow kayaking involved.
An amazing journey that they are turning into an amazing adventure film: