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?'.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
for checking out my project! And remember to follow my progress by heading to:
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:
-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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)