Kyle Dempster’s crazy-ass Kyrgyzstan adventure

I saw this video posted over on We Are and had put it on my “watch later” list because at 25 minutes it was too long to check out at work. Well, I’m glad I finally got around to watching it. It’s a great look at alpinist Kyle Dempster’s solo cycling trip across Kyrgyzstan, what he calls the “Switzerland of Central Asia.”

It also got me thinking about a post I had seen on Hike Bike Travel about the “extreme silence” of a solo backpacking trip. At the end of this month, I’m headed to Colorado where I plan to spend three to four days solo backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park.

It’s not my preferred way of backpacking. I’d much rather have someone with me to keep me company. It’s a long story but because some friends had to change their plans, I ended up on the first part of my trip out west on my own. My wife will join me later in the week for the second part of the trip in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. But first, I’ll be solo for four days in the Colorado Rockies.

I’m not too worried about being on my own — I’ll be doing some backcountry camping but don’t plan on being too deep in the wilderness or attempting any climbing. I’m just afraid of going stir crazy spending 12 hours each day hiking and doing landscape photography without talking to anyone.

It really makes you appreciate what Dempster did on his trip across Kyrgyzstan. Of course, Dempster wasn’t some random guy with a GoPro cycling across the former Soviet republic. He’s an elite mountain climber, one of the best in the world. While the film isn’t about mountain climbing, per se, during his trip across Kyrgyzstan he ascended several of the country’s peaks.

Dempster shot his own footage, which director Fitz Cahall and his production company, Duct Tape Then Beer, turned into a 25-minute film. At the end of the film, Dempster, who is also the narrator, says:

Real adventure is not polished. It’s not the result of some marketing budget. There’s no hashtag for it. It burns brightest on the map’s edges but it exists in all of us. It exists at the intersection of imagination and the ridiculous. You have to have faith. It will find you there. And when it does, remember there’s just one question. In this life, when the road comes to an end, will you keep pedaling?

You can find out more about Kyle and his amazing adventure on the film’s website: The Road from Karakol.


Still from The Road From Karakol / Photo by Kyle Dempster

Joe Newman

I'm Joe Newman, multi-media story teller, non-profit do-gooder, international street photographer, serious poker player, intrepid traveler. Bourbon drinker.

  • Simone Anne

    August 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Glad you liked it enough to share! Isn’t he amazing?! 🙂

    • Joe Newman

      August 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Yes, makes me want to wander the world having adventures and such!