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A transcontinental expedition traversing the mountainous spine of Asia, and an exploration into the people who live there.
15 backers pledged £2,526 to help bring this project to life.

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£2,526

15

The Trail of the Mountain Folk

A project for those excited by adventure and exploration, who always hold the burning question; 'What else is out there?'.

The Basics

My project is a unique 8000 mile transcontinental journey. Starting in Hong Kong, I will travel by any means along the mountainous spine of Asia, crossing nine countries, to arrive in Istanbul some 100 days later. My journey has two key objectives. First, I aim to climb one mountain in each country crossed. Second, I plan to research and document the isolated human inhabitants of the mountains.

This journey will be the culmination of six years’ invested interest in mountaineering and mountain cultures, which has included a degree in Outdoor Leadership, British Mountain Leader training, overseas cultural research, mountain-based expeditions, Arabic language study, and personal cultural reading. Four months ago, I left a well-paid job in sales to make this ambition happen. I've devised some exciting rewards and I'm seeking like-minded supporters who would like to help make something extraordinary happen.

The Route

The exact route of my journey has been determined by three factors: geopolitical issues (avoiding Government advised no-go areas and navigating accessible border crossings), the long chain of Asian mountain ranges, and particular areas of interest. From Hong Kong, I will cross the rugged north of South East Asia, where the intruiging yet persecuted hill tribes dwell. Then across the Himilayas into the furtive religious lands of Tibet. From there, I will continue through the untamed Kyrgyzstan, whose ex-Soviet ski slopes may offer rare profits for its mountain communities. Passing through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, I will follow my final trail across northern Iran and Turkey, exploring its nomadic mountain clans, whose customs are changing with the world around them. My journey will end at the final Asian outpost, Istanbul. Contingencies are in place to avoid possible political ‘flare-up’ regions, including Iran and Tibet. The entire journey, including modes of transport, border crossings, mountain ascents, communities and peoples of interest, and the use of translators is fully planned and budgeted.

The Objectives

The purpose of my project is not to complete detailed examinations of each community, the scope of which would be far too vast. Instead, my project is a rather more nuanced, and perhaps original, exploration into the different ways in which communities have managed to sustain an existence in some of Asia’s most inhospitable regions. I will look specifically at how the mountain environment has influenced the beliefs, customs and cultures of those I meet. I will also investigate the different ways in which humans have managed to utilise their unique environment to sustain an existence; perhaps through mere subsistence, or farming, mining, or even tourism.

My journey will possibly be the broadest exploration into Asian mountain communities, made in a single expedition. My findings combined, as is intended, will provide a condensed insight into how the human population, in its diverse cultural forms, have conquered Asia’s mountains.

The physical element of my project represents both an exciting personal challenge, and also an opportunity to illustrate the types of environmental conditions local people must face. I am planning to climb the highest peaks in most countries visited, including Mount Damavand in Iran (5610m) and Mount Ararat in Turkey (5137m), and am currently plotting some interesting ascents in Kyrgyzstan and Tibet in particular.

The Documentary

An important motive behind my project is the desire to share my findings with the general public, in a bid to entice interest in a subject close to my heart. I will use both traditional and contemporary methods to achieve this, ranging from articles in pre-contacted magazines, and local media coverage, to blog posts, school presentations, online videos, to culminate ultimately in a short film and a publishable book. I believe my project represents an opportunity to engage young people in particular in different cultures through the underlying adventurous nature of my project.

The Reason

For me, The Trail of the Mountain Folk is the most challenging, fascinating and potentially rewarding journey I could hope to undertake and it will, I am sure, be the catalyst for further research and exploration across the mountains of the world. I have a clear vision for what I wish to achieve, and a number of progressively ambitious expeditions planned for the coming years. This is the start of my real journey, and I would be truly honoured and grateful if you choose to come along for the ride!

The Money

I am making a significant personal contribution towards this project, but I'm unable to fund it alone. The minimum I'll need to make my project happen is £2500. By pledging today, you will fund:

  • All overland travel, across nine countries, through some of Asia's most testing landscapes.
  • All food, to fuel my climbs.
  • The visas and permits required to clear the way for my ideal route (I'll handle the paperwork!).
  • All tents, lodges and hostels along my way.
Any funds raised above £2500 will go towards funding more ambitious mountain ascents, travel to more remote villages, and additional filming and audio equipment to make my short film even more awesome.

The Rewards

I've come up with an exciting mix of rewards for you to choose from. See your name on top of a mountain, receive a personalised postcard, interview me, get a limited edition expedition t-shirt, host a private post-expedition presentation, join me for a day in the mountains, learn how to navigate like a pro, or become a brand sponsor. 

If you have any other ideas for rewards you'd like to see on this page, or have any general questions about my project and how you can get involved, please don't hesitate to get in touch and we'll make it happen!

Thank you 

for checking out my project! And remember to follow my progress by heading to:

About Me

I'm a 25 year old Outdoor Leadership graduate from Wigan, UK, who has lived, worked and travelled across five continents. I'm a trained British Mountain Leader and member of the British Mountaineering Council. I've been involved in a number of UK and overseas expeditions, including University funded cross-cultural leadership research in Lebanon, Morocco and Uganda. I'm a conversational Arabic speaker, keen photographer and aspiring adventure fiction writer, currently working with a renowned editor on my first novel. I recently made my TV debut as a semi-finalist on ITV's Ninja Warrior UK!

Risks and challenges

The risks associated with the expedition are many:

-Illness
-Altitude sickness
-Mountain accident
-Public transport
-Bureaucratic issues
-Cold weather exposure
...to name a few.

If these risks did not exist, I would not have the slightest inclination to embark on this expedition.

I am approaching this expedition professionally though. A safety management plan is in place to reduce the likelihood of the above risks, and I will use the right kit, local knowledge and personal experience to keep myself safe.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.29

    PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT FOR YOUR NAME ON MY SHORT FILM

    -Are you keen to support a unique expedition run by an aspiring British adventurer?
    -Perhaps you have an interest in mountaineering or Asian mountain cultures, and are excited to see a unique short-film being made on the subject.
    -Pledge £1 or more to become a supporter.
    -I will send you regular email updates so you can track my progress.
    -I will thank you personally in the credits of my short film.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    YOUR NAME ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN

    -Choose this reward and I'll email you a thank you picture of me displaying your name on top of a mountain.
    -I will also send you regular email updates so you can track my progress.
    -And, I will thank you personally in the credits of my short film.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $32

    A UNIQUE HANDWRITTEN POSTCARD SENT DURING MY TRIP

    -I will send you a handwritten postcard with a personalised message about my expedition.
    -I can post this to any country in the world which has a postal system.
    -I will send you regular email updates so you can track my progress.
    -And, I will thank you personally in the credits of my short film.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $64

    INTERVIEW ME FOR YOUR BLOG, CHANNEL OR WEBSITE

    -Do you run one of the above? Are you looking for some unique new content?
    -You may want to ask about: the outdoor industry, kit recommendations, expedition planning, navigational techniques, getting qualified to work in the mountains, the UK's best mountains walks or scrambles, this expedition, or anything else you can come up with.
    -Interview can be done from anywhere in the world by email, phone, skype, or in person if you live locally (Greater Manchester, UK)
    -I will also send you regular email updates so you can track my progress.
    -And, I will thank you personally in the credits of my short film.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £75 or more About $96

    LEARN HOW TO NAVIGATE

    -A one hour lesson via Skype or in person (if you live locally to me).
    -This will cover the basic fundamentals of using a map and compass for navigation, including learning about the features of a map and compass, how to orientate yourself, how to take a bearing, how to measure distance, and how to pace accurately.
    -Your own base plate compass and scaled map is recommended but not required
    -I will also send you regular email updates so you can track my progress.
    -And, I will thank you personally in the credits of my short film.

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  6. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £100 or more About $129

    ONE OF MY EXPEDITION T-SHIRTS (ONLY TWO AVAILABLE)

    -I'll post you one worn, signed expedition t-shirt, anywhere in the world, once I've completed my trip.
    -Note, t-shirts may be torn, stained or covered in holes.
    -I have a number of progressively ambitious expeditions planned for the coming years. This t-shirt may be worth something one day (it may also be worth absolutely nothing, ever).
    -I will also send you regular email updates so you can track my progress.
    -And, I will thank you personally in the credits of my short film.

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $321

    A FULLY GUIDED DAY WALKING IN THE LAKE DISTRICT OR SNOWDONIA

    -Let me be your guide for a full day out in the mountains
    -Group of up to eight people
    -I'll lead you up the mountain you've always wanted to climb, or I can arrange an exciting day's walking in one of my personal favourite spots.
    -I'll help make the day as easy or challenging as you like.
    -This would make a fantastic Christmas gift!
    -I will send you regular email updates so you can track my progress.
    -And, I will thank you personally in the credits of my short film.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $321

    HOST A PRIVATE POST-EXPEDITION PRESENTATION (NORTH WEST ENGLAND)

    -I'll visit your school/university/workplace/social club/local sports team or any other group, to give a private presentation upon the completion of my trip.
    -I'll share stories of the interesting and challenging events which are certain to occur along my way.
    -You'll also get the opportunity to view my full post-expedition video, and ask any question you like about my trip.
    -I will also send you regular email updates so you can track my progress.
    -And, I will thank you personally in the credits of my short film.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £300 or more About $386

    HOST A PRIVATE POST-EXPEDITION PRESENTATION (MAINLAND UK)

    -I'll visit your school/university/workplace/social club/local sports team or any other group, to give a private presentation upon the completion of my trip.
    -I'll share stories of the interesting and challenging events which are certain to occur along my way.
    -You'll also get the opportunity to view my full post-expedition video, and ask any question you like about my trip.
    -I will send you regular email updates so you can track my progress.
    -And, I will thank you personally in the credits of my short film.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About $643

    BECOME A BRAND SPONSOR

    Partner my expedition as a main sponsor and have your company logo spread (very) far and (very) wide.

    IN RETURN, I WILL:

    - Add your brand or company logo to my expedition t-shirts and rucksack, to be worn across the breadth of Asia.
    -Feature your logo on all videos resulting from the trip.
    -Printed pictures of me holding a flag including your logo on top of all mountains climbed.
    -Give a special thanks to your company in the post-expedition book, in all public presentations, in regular blog and social media posts, and in press reports where possible.
    -Finally, I will give a private post-expedition presentation to your employees, anywhere in mainland UK (or via video link outside of mainland UK).
    -I will also send you regular email updates so you can track my progress.

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Funding period

- (30 days)