I am a 24-year-old adventurer, mountaineer and cyclist from Switzerland. This summer I successfully completed the Brooks Traverse in Alaska in a team of two. We started on June 7th at the Canadian Border and briefly stepped into Ivvavik National Park (the least visited NP in Canada) and then traversed the whole Brooks Range until we reached Kotzebue at the West Coast on August 6th. We covered the first part in a 800 mile hike until we reached the headwaters of Noatak River from where we floated down the river for another 400 miles to reach Kotzebue.

It was our goal to keep support logistics simple: We had one food cache deposited for us in the eastern part of the mountain range by plane and another one at the Dalton Highway (the only road that crosses the range). In the village on Anaktuvuk Pass we had more food mailed in and finally we had a floating plane which brought our boat and more food to the head waters of Noatak River. In total we consumed around 240lbs of food with a calory-density of around 2200cal/lb.

This summer was special in the Brooks Range: In the east, June was unusually cold and snowy. There is little measurements to back this up but Kirk Sweetstir, a bush pilot legend in the area said, that he has never seen a June that bad in the 30 years he's been out there. This also caused the only other team attempting the full traverse this summer to abort their plans. Thanks to our extensive mountaineering experience, we were able to battle our way through hip deep snow and later through dangerously deep rivers. July was much better and in the end we even had really hot days on the Noatak River with temperatures up to 75 degrees (24 Celsius).

Our website: http://northwards.ch/?lan=en [please note: Not all content is translated to english, please use Google Translate if you are interested. Sorry for the inconvinience]

Pictures on our website: http://northwards.ch/traverse/pictures?lan=en

A short video: https://youtu.be/ATSODRpOkJs

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/2l5oihu [Please let me know if that is not good enough]

Edit: This seems to take off more than I thought. Expected a couple questions and now they are coming in fast. Please use Ctrl+F to find the usual questions like "How much did it cost?", so I don't have to answer that 100 times. Other than that. Keep it coming. I might not be able to keep up right now but I'll try to answer all questions in the coming days.

Oh yeah, also we have a facebook page: www.facebook.com/BrooksTraverse/Also I have Instagram. Maybe I'll be a bit more active if I get some followers, haha: reiemanuel

Ok, I'll go to bed now. If there is something you really wanna know: Keep asking, I'll come back from time to time and answer some more.

Comments: 843 • Responses: 94  • Date: 

AskewArtichoke500 karma

I have always wondered how does one become an adventurer? Do you have a 'regular' job? Are you sponsored? Wealthy?

ClimbRunRide877 karma

I have a regular job. Actually, I am still studying (Engineering Grad student) and work part time as a software Engineer. There is not much money to be made with outdoor sports unless you free solo Eiger North Face in under 3 hours.

Only way to make money in Europe is to give presentations. In the US writing books also kinda works but for me it's easier to just work sometimes and then follow my dreams as a hobby. I am sponsored, I am in the Patagonia Pro Team but that is better than it sounds (no cash, just gear). I am certainly not wealthy. It's a lifestyle you choose. You cut on everything other than your passion. I never owned a car for example. Also, living in mainland Europe I don't have student loans to pay off which is great.

AskewArtichoke158 karma

Thank you for answering!

(Free gear sounds pretty awesome, tbh)

Do you think you will continue to do things like this once you are done studying and working full time? (I hope so!)

ClimbRunRide229 karma

You hope I'll work full time?! So do my parents. No seriously. I think I can't stop doing outdoor things ever. It's like an addiction. However, I can imagine taking smaller risks once I have a family. Also I don't always do things that have hardly ever been done before. Sometimes climbing a summit in the alps is really cool too...

Muse2845135 karma

Moral of story, live in Europe so you don't have to slave the rest of your life for your Education and Healthcare. Got it

ClimbRunRide238 karma

This may be true to a certain degree however we are all incredibly privileged. If there is one take-away from all the travelling I did it is that I am incredibly lucky to be born where I was born. There is nothing I did to earn this. It's pure luck and 90% of this world's population don't have these chances. I guess the same statement holds for your way of living.

SoaringConsciousness461 karma

Did you interact with the natives in the villages? If so, what were their reactions?

ClimbRunRide1023 karma

Yes, they are very friendly. They ask for your name and they'll remember it for the rest of the time you spend in their village. They were not very interested in our project. For most inuits, hiking in the open Tundra in summer is just something stupid done only by white poeple. However they were very interested in knowing if and where we saw animals, especially Caribou. And yes, because they hunt them.

Some more information because this is so far up: It's not all fun and nice. These villages are also a sad place to be. Most people seem to spend most their money on coca cola (4-5$/can) and cigarettes. That is obviously not true for everyone but we spent some time in the shops to warm up and that seems to be all they ever buy. Also there is not too much to do and the villages do not exactly look well organized or tidy. The thing I cannot wrap my head around is the lack of sense for business. There would be great opportunities to launch homestay-like tourism operations in these places (flights from Anchorage and Fairbanks to the villages are surprisingly cheap, so...). Also people do not seem to import food themselfes but instead pay the ridiculous prices in the shops. Shipping one lb from Fairbanks to Anaktuvuk Pass is 0.60$, so why not import your coca cola yourself in big quantities from Walmart in Fairbanks instead of paying 40$ for a 10 can pack? I don't get it.

snoebro323 karma

Flights to villages cheap? Its typically over a thousand dollars to get three of us one way from Fairbanks to Koyukok.

I'm from the villages, I understand the same plight you noticed. As a community planner I want to get computer labs with public wifi access into the villages so I can start teaching the communities to take advantage of technology and the internet, you are totally right that there is a lot of potential to be had out there.

Also Sweetsir is a cool dude.

ClimbRunRide153 karma

Well, Flying with Wright Air to Anaktuvuk Pass is 160$, similar prices for Fort Yukon and Arctic Village. Bringing innovation to the villages sounds great!

ramblin_texan39 karma

How did you communicate with them?

SnowmanMurderer158 karma


ClimbRunRide128 karma

Correct answer.

DriveGenie258 karma

Did you experience anything creepy, seemingly paranormal, or just plain unexplainable during the trip?

ClimbRunRide792 karma

Yes plenty of things. A creepy/funny moment was in the eastern Brooks Range far far away from anything and after not seeing any human for 20 days (since we started) there was a guy with a giant backpack and a dog who hiked right past us in a small valley. We shouted at him and waved but he did not react. He just hiked on as if we were not there...

squidjigging34 karma

How far away from you was he ?

ClimbRunRide75 karma

100ft maybe but there was a creek inbetween.

TheSharkFromJaws200 karma

How quiet was it?

ClimbRunRide394 karma

Not very. Those rivers are very loud. Also us swearing when crossing them was loud. But yes sure, at times it was pretty quiet. But if you want to experience quiet places you should rather go to the desert or to areas covered in fresh snow.

C_L4291 karma

What‘s your favorite swear word?

ClimbRunRide180 karma

Oh, just anything really. Actually I do not even swear. I just shout out loud. Crossing big rivers was extremly painful at times because the water was nearly freezing and it feels like someone is punching a knive into your toes. So I just shouted. I am a calm person. Swearing does not help me but shouting feels good at times.

krakah29352 karma

I just went to glacier national Park. The lakes there are all from glacier melt not even a quarter mile away sometimes. Iceberg Lake literally has ice floating in it. Friend if mine jumped in a few times. Said it feels like someone hitting you with a baseball bat in the chest. I tried walking in. Got up to my calf before I noped out after less than 10 seconds. It is indeed painful. Maybe I'm just a bitch. In either case, nope for me!

ClimbRunRide61 karma

Yes, a lot of people don't realize that extremely cold water does not really feel cold but just like pure pain.

Deafacid150 karma

What food did you bring and consume? Starting a 500 mile hike on the CT in a few days and still figuring out what the hell to eat.

ClimbRunRide243 karma

A lot of fat. We had a higher calory density than pure sugar. We ate a lot of M&Ms, Cliff bars, Oatmeal with milk powder and butter (Almond, Peanut, Cookie) and a pouch of dehydrated food for dinner.

sengir_vampire59 karma

On your website, you wrote you pack 4000-4500 calories per person per day. How did you calculate that? What's you resting calories intake? Did you consider local food sources, fish?

ClimbRunRide68 karma

Mostly experience. During the hike we were close to the divide with small rivers that only had some small Arctic Grayling in them. Local sources were not really an option. Later on the Noatak we had some salmon and tons of blueberries and salmon berries but on the boat it's very easy to transport food so we packed everything.

YoniShifrin127 karma

What was the hardest point of your adventure?

ClimbRunRide249 karma

The first 12 days when it snowed daily and it got so cold, rivers dried out and we had to melt snow to drink something. Did not expect that in mid June in this area...

cscqlitter111 karma

I saw you said you wore trail running shoes. Can you explain more about that choice?

ClimbRunRide284 karma

Yes. We hiked "wet" which means we just walked through creeks and rivers without giving a damn. Mostly because there is no other good option. But if you do this with heavy water-proof shoes, that means you'll have a small lake in them all day long. With running shoes at least they drain. Also they are light.

dsyzdek47 karma

What did you use for socks?

ClimbRunRide91 karma

Thin Merino wool

rpb1470105 karma

Congratulations. Many years ago (1995 I think), a friend and I drove up the Dalton Highway to the Brooks Range pass (Anaktuvuk Pass?) and camped about a mile off the road. I still call him Doonerak for the high mountain nearby. Great country. I still have the sign in my garage that was in our rear window, "There and Back ~ Bilbo Baggins, to the Misty Mountains ~ Us, to the Brooks Range" (a reference to The Lord of the Rings).

Randy Butterfield, age 87 with many hiking adventures in a full lifetime.

ClimbRunRide21 karma

Great to hear that. Also love the LotR reference! It's Atigun Pass which is the highest pass in Alaska. I cycled it in 2014 and despite really bad weather fell in love with the mountain range. However, the road was more adventurous back in the 90s or that at least is what I was told...

MudButt200096 karma

What is your BMI after something like that? I'm guessing 18?

Did you abandon any equipment you found unnecessary?

ClimbRunRide205 karma

I am 6ft7 with wide shoulders and therefore BMI does not really work for me. Actually I was at 24 (!) when I started and ended at 22, losing around 15lbs.

Edit: Fun Fact. I spent some time in South Korea last Fall. I got an extensive (free) health check and they figured out, that I was too heavy and recommended me to lose weight. The amount they proposed was more or pretty much equal to the amount of fat they figured is in my body. This means they basically recommended me to either lower my body fat to deadly rates or lose muscles. Also they recommended me to eat more fish. God knows why.

Mikav67 karma

Wow you started with a BMI of 6.204484e+23? Big motherfucker.

ClimbRunRide98 karma

yep, chartered a Dreamlifter to get us out there.

psychoholic_slag88 karma

Did your feet or knees ever bother you during the hike? I'm not in the best shape and if I hike more than two days in a row, my knees and feet are sore as heck.

ClimbRunRide151 karma

Yes the feet were a big problem. We mostly had wet and very cold feet and no trails. We both had problems with inflammations in the ankle area not in the knees though. I took Ibuprofen for about 4 days towards the end of the trip because the pain was so bad

TrontRaznik77 karma

What equipment/gear/clothes did you carry, and what was your base weight?

ClimbRunRide191 karma

The most important gear: We hiked in Merell Trail running shoes, wearing Exped Thunder Backpacks, slept in Exped UltraLite 300 sleeping bags in a Hilleberg Anjan 2 tent.

Everything included we had 11kg/24lbs gear per person. If you subtract the stuff we wore it was around 8-9kg/19lbs of backpack weight. We then carried up to 14 days worth of food which put our backpacks somewhere around 42lbs. This is very borderline ultralight for arctic conditions and often we would have loved to have better jackets/gloves and so on...

TrontRaznik59 karma

That's impressive! Did you carry any extra luxuries such as lanterns, fire starter, etc? What kind of a sleeping pad did you use? I'm guessing you needed something with a high r value considering the conditions, so a Therma Rest Z Lite wouldn't suffice.

ClimbRunRide70 karma

We carried a couple Esbit tabs because in many places there was no wood at all (hiking in open tundra). I slept on a Exped Synmat Hyperlite, don't know the r value by heart.

Brick_Johnson32 karma

You mentioned being from Switzerland, gotta ask, what was your primary wristwatch from your journey?

ClimbRunRide57 karma

I wear Suunto. But they make terrible watches. It's just the only brand with the functionality I need that is affordeable. I did love my Suunto Vector HR but they don't sell these anymore. Probably because they were too good for what they cost. Now I have some shitty second hand Suunto that I hate.

akamop12 karma

You would think with so many watch brands marketing as adventurous timepieces that some big brand would offer sponsorship.

ClimbRunRide19 karma

Well there are so many people that do incredible stuff and in the end you only get sponsored if you are famous or know someone in the company.

imtheproof15 karma

which merell trail shoes? Trail gloves?

I had the trail glove 3s but wore them into the ground. The laces also start to fall apart fairly quickly. Might try out the 4s (or 5s if they're on them already).

ClimbRunRide40 karma

The trail glove is not stable enough to walk long streches of rocky terrain. I do not find the exact model name right now but you can see it in the video and on pictures. I happen to live very near their headquarters and they have a factory outlet there with 50% off. Quite amazing.

spaceninj75 karma

What exactly is an Adventurer?

ClimbRunRide227 karma

Someone who likes doing something that includes a lot of uncertainty. Like hiking a route where there are no trails and no descriptions on the internet

moogzik11 karma

Didn’t a 15 year old do this exact trail solo? I read a few years ago about a 15 year old girl who basically took a Garmin In Reach and navigated her way across Alaska by herself.

ClimbRunRide36 karma

To my knowledge, I am the youngest to ever do the full traverse at 24. Kristin Gates did it at 25. A 15 year old could probably do it solo with a plane constantly hovering over her and dropping food whenever needed. No seriously: It's mostly a question of how you plan your logistics. We decided to use minimal external support.

4ndi67 karma

What was the scariest experience?

ClimbRunRide174 karma

Crossing rivers. Because we both had little experience doing it and sometimes it felt very sketchy. After seeing more than 70 bears in the past years, they don't scare me as much as the used to. Which is not a good thing btw.

badgers198763 karma

How much money did it take?

ClimbRunRide135 karma

A lot but probably not as much as you would think. For the two of us the whole project cost around 18k $. Biggest expense by far: flights (from Europe to AK and all the supply stuff). Other big expenses: Food, Equipment. We were able to cover parts of it with sponsoring and paid the rest on our own.

It would have been much more expensive if we had not slept on the couch of friends and known people all around Alaska already.

DeliciousOwlLegs14 karma

How much is an airdrop and how easy is it to get permits for it? I assume you cannot just drop stuff from a plane?!

ClimbRunRide44 karma

You don't drop it literally. Those pilots actually land the plane in the tundra and get the stuff out. No permits needed in the Gates Of The Arctic NP it just prohibited to deposit a supply cache. Instead they have to fly out at the exact time when you are at the meeting point.

R1ppedWarrior9 karma

About how much was it for each supply run?

ClimbRunRide17 karma

Depends on the location and the plane the pilot has available. We paid a total of approx. 4000$ to bush pilot for 1. Flying us out 2. A food cache in the eastern part 3. Supplies to the Noatak River. This does not include the cargo fees to get the stuff to the bush pilots which is another 0.60-1$ per lb

slackingcockflange57 karma

How close were the grizzly bears? Did they attack you and if so how did you deal with them?

ClimbRunRide114 karma

Some were far away but others were closer. Accidentally we paddeled right past one at a distance of no more than 25 feet. It was a blonde grizzly and we thought it was a rock. Once a mother and two cubs came as close as 50 feet to our camp which was very unconfortable (I was standing outside the tent with no bear spray at hand).

No attacks. Also we did not carry a gun for various reasons. We both had a bear spray that neither of us used.

archerfish300053 karma

You said you have a lot of experience in mountaineering. Where did you get it? Mostly in Europe? Had you done any other treks of similar length?

ClimbRunRide122 karma

Yes, I am a voluntary mountaineering guide for the Swiss Alpine Club. In the past couple years I have climbed some 200 summits in the alps. Also a lot of training camps and stuff. I did not do any longer hikes at all tbh. However I have done some smaller stuff like climbing the highest summits of countries like Iran, Cambodia, Korea and so on. Also cycled from San Francisco to the North Coast of Alaska once. Moreover cycled around Taiwan and across Korea. You get the idea. Just whatever seems fun to do.

bby_redditor40 karma

How did you manage to do all this while going to school? Your experience is extremely impressive for a 24 year old. Financially speaking, I know you said you cut from other things, and you’ve never owned a car... but I cannot figure out how you could afford all this on software engineers salary!

ClimbRunRide97 karma

It's a mix of determination and luck. I study at a highly rated university (ETH Zurich) and get nicely paid side-jobs. Actually I tought programming at the university itself and Swiss salaries are great. Saving money is the hard part, because Switzerland is also expensive. So I still live with my parents when I am in Switzerland and I cycle almost everywhere I go. Also my brother worked for an Airline at times which got me some great deals.

If your question is, whether my parents pay for these projects, the answer is: no. They would rather have me stay home and live a "normal life".

probablynottony50 karma

This is amazing and inspiring! My only question is what’s your next adventure?

ClimbRunRide173 karma

Completing such a project leaves you kind of empty. I spent so much energy and time preparing and doing this, it's like a depression when it ends. From experience I think it's best to face these psychological challenges rather than filling the emptyness with the next project. However it would be a lie to say I don't have more ideas...

miztracyann45 karma

While visiting the Yukon almost 30 yrs ago there are many things about the people and culture that made an impression on me to this day. What is one thing about the people in remote villages of Alaska that touched you and will stay with you?

ClimbRunRide59 karma

They were very nice and remembered my name for the whole time I spent in a village. However I would never want to live in one of these villages. There really is not much to do out there and that is a problem.

rdudejr44 karma

Did you take an arrow to the knee, and if so will you continue adventuring?

ClimbRunRide22 karma

I think my body did not take much damage. I will continue to climb mountains and cycle and maybe do another long hike at some point.

Ehjayw21 karma

He didn't get it, but I did buddy. I did.

ClimbRunRide31 karma

Enlighten me! As a non-native speaker, I just assumed this was some way of asking "are your knees worn out?"

Romanos_The_Blind24 karma

Reference to the guards in the video game Skyrim. They frequently state that they "used to be an adventurer like you, until I took an arrow to the knee."

ClimbRunRide45 karma

Oh, I see. I don't play video games. But the reference is great!

Kevinfrench2335 karma

I’ve spent a lot of time in the brooks range (maybe 2 years cumulatively) and like it but good god the mosquitos can be abysmal. How on earth could you handle that for an entire summer? I can barely do a few days backpacking.

I’m also curious if you’ve read anything by Kristin Gates. She’s a friend who did the crossing a few years ago and was the first female to do so solo.

ClimbRunRide42 karma

Mosquitos were not that bad. Sure there were places where we used our head nets but generally not a big deal. Maybe also because of the bad weather.

I read about Kristin online but did not read anything written by her. However we met Carrot Quinn another female hiker/writer but her and her friend gave up only 10 days into the trip because the weather was terrible, rivers high and they covered way too little distance.

Cowgold34 karma

How long did it take to finish Traverse? Would you recommend any other books?

ClimbRunRide84 karma

We did it in 59 days and some 20 hours which is on the fast side of things. There is a guy who claims to have done it in 32 days which is an incredible achievement. For most people it takes 70-80 days. That being said not that many people have done it at all and there is little information other than what bush pilots tell you.

I did not read any books in preparation but I used the blog of Andrew Skurka a lot. He has almost all the information in there that you need for such a trip. There is no way to compensate for not having enough experience though.

reddit_SLDPRT34 karma

Were there any titanium sporks involved?

ClimbRunRide49 karma

haha, no. We had one titanium fork for the two of us and two extra long titanium spoons to reach into food pouches ;-)

EuropoBob29 karma

21 bears? Name each bear or concede that you, sir, are a liar.

ClimbRunRide35 karma

You got me

candycanecupcakes27 karma

Did you have any fights or rough patches with your partner?

ClimbRunRide62 karma

Good question. Not much. We are an experienced team (have climbed countless mountains and guided tours together). However, once on the river when we had some more spare time we started to get annoyed by insignificant things. Like once I really did not like how he set up the tent and he did not want to listen to me, haha.

vervenna10121 karma

How did you physically prepare yourself for the journey? Do you have any sort of daily training routine, nutrition routine, did you do much in addition to your regular routine in preparation for this specific endeavour, etc.?

ClimbRunRide35 karma

I do a lot of sports anyways. It was important to me to do a lot of trail running since we were going to hike in running shoes which requires a lot of strengh in the ankles. I eat almost everything and big quantities. All in all I think I didn't do much more sport than usual but I usually do more than 20 hours a week anyways. (Climbing, Running, Hiking, Cycling)

KFJ9438 karma

Could you go a bit more in depth on why boots are better for your ankle? I got a pair of Adidas hiking shoes recently because I got them for a fairly decent price. I think they're classified as trail runners. Anyway, I just went for my first proper hike in them, to Glymur in Iceland. I'm very new to hiking and would love to hear why you'd go for one over the other :)

ClimbRunRide17 karma

For normal hiking take traditional hiking boots that protect your ankles! It's only once you need to perfom and want to go fast that switching to trail runners makes sense IMO. It takes much more practice to hike safely in trail runners and the only reason I do it is because they are light and drain easily.

Sp00kyDookie_V220 karma

Hey man! During your inspiring trek, were there any times where you felt you wouldn’t be able to make it or you would have to turn back?

ClimbRunRide56 karma

turning back is a bad idea because there is nothing out there, haha. Either you get a plane to pick you up, you hike out or you die. There were times I was not sure whether we'll make it but it would be wrong to say we nearly did not make it. It's just a question of how much pain you can handle really.

lmaccaro14 karma

That is quite scary in that an unexpected medical issue that would normally be easily curable would become fatal. A badly sprained ankle would mean you would not reach your next drop point before running out of supplies for example.

Did you carry a sat phone and have a plane “on call” in case of emergency?

ClimbRunRide26 karma

Yep we had a satellite phone. It was great to organize stuff and make our parents sleep well. Also a local radio station did weekly reports for which we usually had a short phone call.

javamon719 karma

Can we see your calves?

ClimbRunRide15 karma

yes, but right now it takes too long to post it. Remind me tomorrow.

Pb2Au18 karma

Schwak is an Alaskan magazine based in Anchorage dedicated to covering hard overland journeys in Alaska. In local slang in the adventuring community, 'schwak' is short for 'bushwhack.' Would you consider submitting an article to them? Thanks for your AMA!


ClimbRunRide21 karma

Do you work for them, or do you just read it? I can of course write something, however my English is far from printeable so I would need someone to help me from their side...

agmckee18 karma

What life lessons have you learned from this adventure?

ClimbRunRide40 karma

It's not like this project has changed my life. It was very fascinating to live without modern media for so long and I certainly will try not to see all the videos posted to /r/videos from now on...

max_trax16 karma

Awesome work, that (imo) is a blazing fast time across the Brooks. What route did you take West from the Haul Road? I attempted to climb Mt Doonerak in 2009 but my uncle injured his knee 4 days in and we turned back. It was both some of the roughest off-trail hiking I've done and most beautiful country I've been in. Always wanted to go back and complete that trip and spend some time in Gates as well.

For future reference or anyone else considering a similar trip, we found that on days we were mostly walking up creek beds, or in muskeg, 3mm wetsuit booties instead of socks worked wonders. We also wore trail runners/approach shoes.

ClimbRunRide10 karma

Check out our website, there was a live tracker during the trip which still gives you a good idea of where we went

TomVancity15 karma

Were you “bushwhacking” the entire time?

ClimbRunRide24 karma

yes, kinda. However most of the route was open tundra.

sanfordofficial11 karma

How many miles did you average a day and how many zeros did you take?

ClimbRunRide44 karma

We usually hiked around 20 miles which is very challenging in these areas and paddled around 30 miles which is very relaxing in these areas. We took 2 days off in a cabin at the dalton highway. Otherwise we hiked/paddled every. single. day.

JarSpence10 karma

What is your motivation to go on an adventure?

ClimbRunRide48 karma

It's a great combination of a phyisical and psychological challenge that gets you to places where hardly anyone has been and you get to experience unique things. It's just the whole thing. However at times it feels terrible doing it... It's like a drug really.

RealOneThisTime10 karma

What did your diet consist of?

ClimbRunRide11 karma

A lot of fat. We had a higher calory density than pure sugar. We ate a lot of M&Ms, Cliff bars, Oatmeal with milk powder and butter (Almond, Peanut, Cookie) and a pouch of dehydrated food for dinner.

RealOneThisTime10 karma

Did you make your own dehydrated food? I've had mixed results with my own attempts at it.

ClimbRunRide19 karma

We got sponsored by Expedition Foods from the UK. They make great but rather expensive food.

jms4288 karma

How was the river section of the trip? Any sections that caught you off guard like a rapidly approaching unknown waterfall, or is the river mapped out and prior knowledge of all the hazards?

ClimbRunRide26 karma

It's a rather easy river to paddle if you have some basic experience. We just knew that there were no dangerous rapids but we had no clue where to expect rapids at all. We usually tried to judge them by listening to the water sounds when approaching them, haha. But generally we really just floated into whatever the fuck was coming up.

ichzarealhitler6 karma

I used to be an adventurer like you. Until I injured my knee and tore my rotator cuff. The question is: what are your fears?

ClimbRunRide23 karma

I am (like many mountaineers) afraid of heights. Not like afraid of standing on a tower but afraid of crossing a narrow ridge. That's one of my fears I takle very regularly.

On a more general level, i guess I am afraid to become an outsider in my social environment because I have these rather extreme interests. For example I have not been in a single relationship and I am 24 by now. It does not bother me now but maybe one day it will...

littlelamp155 karma

How did you entertain yourselves while walking?

ClimbRunRide35 karma

Not at all. Listening to music/podcasts is dangerous (because bears). Having nothing to entertain you is one of the fascinations of such a project. You really have to think about your life and learn to think about nothing at times...

berlinparisexpress5 karma

Hello! French here, I am not from the US so I was mostly unfamiliar with the places you describe but as an avid reader and adventurer I incidentally just started reading "Coming into the country" by John McPhee, which describes a 1960's journey in the Brooks mountain range.

Did you read the book? Was it an inspiration?

Additionally, what did your physical preparation look like prior to the trip?

ClimbRunRide6 karma

I am not the most avid reader tbh. I only read into technical literature really. I do at least 20 hours of sports a week (at least when the weather allows it). This includes running, cycling, climbing and hiking. Also did some longer challenges to really get to my psychological limits like cycling 3 alpine passes and then run up to a 3200m summit.

JUSTDOPEY3655 karma

How much did something like this cost?

ClimbRunRide4 karma

A lot but probably not as much as you would think. For the two of us the whole project cost around 18k $. Biggest expense by far: flights (from Europe to AK and all the supply stuff). Other big expenses: Food, Equipment. We were able to cover parts of it with sponsoring and paid the rest on our own.

It would have been much more expensive if we had not slept on the couch of friends and known people all around Alaska already.

robeot5 karma

This is kind of a vague question, but what do you think the most important skills or attributes one needs to do this (outside of the "experience" requirement)?

ClimbRunRide8 karma

I was just gonna say experience. Other than that it takes a lot of psychological strength. Your physical shape should be good but it does not matter whether you run a marathon in 3:30 or 3:45, in the end it will just take you a couple days longer. The only limitation is the short duration of the Alaskan summer and your budget that limits the number of supply flights.

melny5 karma

If you have heard of him, What do you think of Chris McCandless?

ClimbRunRide9 karma

Of course. I get asked that a lot. Like most experienced outdoor sportsmen, I am not impressed by what he did. He made a lot of rookie mistakes. However he had the same passion for the wilderness, it seems!

justscottaustin5 karma

met 21 grizzly bears.

Ok...this is a stretch, because it's a big area, but did you meet Steve? Big guy? Brown fur. Can be a bit loud. Likes fish?

ClimbRunRide16 karma

In that case we met 21 Steves, yes.

jefe_de_estado4 karma

How did you navigate? Map, GPS, clearly marked trail? If electronic, how did you keep it charged?

ClimbRunRide9 karma

Just a map. Navigation is easy if you have some experience. We usually only checked the map once or twice a day. You really just follow valleys and everything else is looking at things and deciding where to go. We just had a smartphone for coordinates and charged it with an Anker 15W.

ara24_82 karma

Did you ever feel lonley?

ClimbRunRide15 karma

Yes, when I am alone in a big crowded city. But not in the wilderness.

RiseiK2 karma

After how many bears you met you thought to yourself, "man, I should start counting this occurrence"?

ClimbRunRide4 karma

You'll count them from the very beginning, believe me! It's more of a question when to stop.

Grinch832 karma

How did you and your partner celebrate when you finished the trek?

ClimbRunRide3 karma

Nothing overly spectacular. I mean it was sad in a way because we had to go home. However we ate a lot of our food supplies (the emergency food) which was great because we were hungry at times and eating as much as we pleased felt great.

Magmorphius2 karma

21 Grizzlies? I've had one encounter with a grizzly but didn't actually see it, just it's droppings. Was in Sierra Nevada bushwacking a particularly dense patch of forest when we came across grizzly dung still warm. Pretty sure I shit myself being unable to see very far at all and for all I know this thing is 20 feet away from me. Nevermind knowing what its capable of and just hoping it runs away from me instead of the alternative....but 21? Do you need a wheelbarrow for your massive sack?

For my actual question. Is there any kind of permits that need to be pulled for crossing borders in extreme wilderness?

ClimbRunRide7 karma

You get used to seeing bears. I have seen more than 70 in my lifetime. Getting used to it makes it easier to complete such projects but it's also dangerous because you have to stay cautious and not bring food into your tent just because you feel safe...

MarkfromSG2 karma

Will you ever go on an adventure in Asia?

ClimbRunRide3 karma

I have done some things already: I have speed climbed the West route of Mt. Damavand in Iran. I have cycled across South Korea and around Taiwan. I have climbed the highest peak of Cambodia (that was fun! Not technically difficult but in every other aspect, haha). I have also climbed the highest "mountain" of Singapore, haha. I'd love to cycle the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan and Kyrgizstan.

Lyzic2 karma

Were you able to, or tried to live off the land at all?

Like fish as you walk, put out a rabbit snare when camping or collect berries or something?

I imagine it would take up extra weight but wonder if the food gain would offset that weight.

ClimbRunRide5 karma

Great question. During the hike: No. Everything there is in spring is caribou. Hunting is very inconvinient because you cannot use the whole animal (besides the fact that as a foreigner I am not liscenced). Later we ate tons of blueberries and salmon berries but those don't fill you up. However, there was tons of salmon in the Noatak River and we ate some. It's great but on the boat it's really easy to carry food so it's not worth trying to feed yourself off the land.

newbie1975ish1 karma

Would you do it again?if so why,if not why not?

ClimbRunRide3 karma

I wouldn't do it for a second time. But if I had not done it, I probably would. Does that make sense?

slaiyfer1 karma

How are tou financing this trip and lifestyle? Are patreon and Youtube your only sources I assume or are you sponsored also by your travelling gear?

ClimbRunRide3 karma

Oh, I don't make money usually. I made some money with this silly video of me digging in the sand of the sahara desert but that barely paid anything. There is not much money to make unless you start giving presentations. That is good business in Europe. But since I am an Engineer it's the easiest for me to just work. As a software engineer I have a lot of options to work in very "adjustable" ways.

t1mdawg1 karma

What are some of your favorite moments from the trip and what makes them stand out?

ClimbRunRide3 karma

This is what everyone asked me when I got home and it's really difficult to answer. It's not like going to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. It's the whole experience and it's really hard to find words to describe that. Just watch my video and take into consideration that at times it was very painful despite the nice views and maybe you'll get what I mean.

AshishKumar13961 karma

Kudos to you and your team . As a fellow cyclist, how should I prepare for a long range excursion ?

ClimbRunRide6 karma

You definitely need to take running/hiking into your training schedule. Also you need to strenghten the muscles in your ankles with exercises and/or trail running. Other than that: Just don't start too big.

JanBacka-14 karma

Not really an adventure with this luxury (tent, clothing, food,...) Did you feared for your life even once?

ClimbRunRide8 karma

Sorry to disappoint. I'll ask you next time whether my next project qualifies.

TomBergewrong-38 karma

How much did you pay Reddit to place this AMA (that seemingly no one gives a shit about) on people’s front page?

ClimbRunRide30 karma

Nothing tbh. There is no financial gain for me in this. I cannot even really plug my blog or anything because all my resources are in German. Really just do it for fun. Sorry for wasting your time though.