“I’m a mountaineer, cyclist, traveller and photographer. I feel lucky because I’m able to combine my passions in ways that are always different and exciting. Three years ago I made a radical choice: I decided that adventure would be the most important thing in my life and that I would live to the fullest, full-time, at all times. My expeditions are always adventurous, as cheap as possible and often self-organised and self-managed. I make every effort to reduce my environmental impact, travelling on foot, by bike or hitch-hiking as much as possible. I like to live my adventures to the fullest, but also to document them and then share them with others."
In addition to all that, you’re also an engineer, right?
“Yes, I consult for companies. I used to work in Hungary in the solar energy sector. Now I’m involved in sustainability: I try to find the delicate balance that makes human activities economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. I always want to highlight that these are not just nice words, and that the impact of every action can be measured: the fact that I’m an engineer really just means that I work with ideas, as well as numbers. Our impact can be measured in kWh, the energy we consume to do everything: calculating and measuring this is part of my job and, believe me, our habits have a huge influence on the amount of energy we consume. I also run training in schools, explaining how everyone can reduce their impact on our planet.”
I often hear that it’s the major political actions of governments and multinational corporations that affect mankind’s impact on the planet. What advice do you have for us all?
“Individual actions focus mainly on three areas: transport, heating and food.
Using trains and bicycles reduces the impact of our journeys exponentially. We can also get used to heating our homes less, thus saving on utility bills, on emissions and energy consumption, because energy is not infinite. We can sleep well even at 12-14°C, perhaps even better! Changing the way we eat can also be good for us as well as the planet: eating local food, favouring vegetables, potatoes and rice and decreasing our consumption of meat and dairy products, reduces the energy consumption related to our sustenance 10 times over. I think that it’s important that we don’t look at others, but rather think about what we can do concretely. If we all started to use bikes to travel 10-15 km, as most Danes and Dutch people already do, we can achieve critical mass and really be the change!"
To provide a good example and inspire people, your expeditions have a low environmental impact. Tells us about where you’ve been lately.
“I cycle, but I’m also a mountaineer, and this summer I was in Pakistan to experience high altitudes. I didn’t take any planes and this more than halved the carbon dioxide emissions of my trip. I travelled 1,500 km by train and bus and for a few short stretches by taxi, when I couldn’t find any public transport. It took around 20 days to get there, a little longer than expected because of the floods at that time, which made travelling over land difficult. It actually only took me seven and a half days to get home with favourable weather conditions! I made two attempts to climb 6,000-metre peaks, but I was hindered by the bad weather and some intestinal issues. Nonetheless, I was delighted by the experience. I learnt a lot and I’m extremely satisfied with everything I was able to do without taking planes. A few friends of mine told me that it’s easy for me to move slowly because I have so much free time. I convinced them to visit Mexico and the United States in one trip that was twice as long, instead of two separate trips over two years. In doing so, they still took half the intercontinental plane trips.”
How much does your luggage weigh? How do you get around with a bicycle in the mountains?
“All in, I have about 20 kilos with me, 12 of which are my bike. I try to be very light and essential with the rest of the material: camping and mountaineering gear. On my trip to Pakistan, I took my bike on a glacier. I was able to ride on moraines and many stretches of ice that weren't covered by snow by keeping the tyres a little deflated so as to ensure greater grip and by taking advantage of the areas with a little gravel and dirt. I only had to carry my bike on my back for two days. That was all excellent preparation for the next big trip I have in mind, during which I will have to carry the bike on my back at least 20 times.”
Can you tell us where you’ll be going, what you’ve got in the pipeline?
“My big dream is to do the Great Himalayan Trail by bike. 6 months in the saddle or on foot. I will cross through 6,000-metre passes, vast glaciers and wild trails on my own. I’m planning it all down to the last detail. I should have been ready for this year, but I’m afraid I will still have to postpone to 2024 due to certain Chinese COVID-related restrictions. A few small sections of the crossing will actually be in Chinese territory.”
So what does that mean? You’ll be staying at home in the meantime?
“Absolutely not! I’m at home right now and I’m training on running trails, and doing bike rides and free body exercises. This summer however I’d like to cross the Alps longitudinally, from east to west. For a total of two months of travelling, during which I will be on my own, without a support car, but a video maker friend will be with me often. It will be an amazing test of gear for the Himalayas, as well as a nice excuse to get to know different countries, valleys and mountains, and see places I have already been with new eyes. When you travel by bike, everything takes on a special feel.”
If you can, come see us! What shoes do you use on your travels?
“Given that all my adventures take place in mountainous terrain, with varying, different temperatures and conditions, I need an extremely versatile product. In this respect the Ribelle Tech 2.0 HD is an exceptional mountaineering boot. Extremely robust, reliable and durable, it can adapt to all the activities I practice. I like the simplicity and lightness of having a single product, without needing to consume multiple resources and own several models. Choosing quality, durable and multifunctional products is also one way to reduce my impact and resource consumption!”