One team, two friends, one joint adventure.

Martin Krug and Bernd Pfeifer far away from their native Alpine territory their way to an amazing and unforgettable adventure.


Uhuru Peak – Kilimanjaro 5895m high 5000m down -
the longest downhill trail in the world 


The story of this unique adventure, highlighted with experiences and emotions 

14 days Tanzania - pushing the limits - adventure - 5000m descent 
 
Bike mountaineering of a different kind - 20 years from dream to reality  
 
Here the story - to the summit of Africa with the mountain bike. 


Two friends from the Allgäu, Germany on the biggest adventure of their lives.
Bernd Pfeifer and Martin Krug decided to shy no risk or hurdles to conquer the highest mountain in Africa on the mountain bikes.  



The idea


for this project came more than 20 years ago, at a time, when both bike mountaineers,  Martin & Bernd, were discovering many unridden trails and summits in their native Allgäu Alpine region and around Lake Garda.  Always on the lookout for that surge of adrenaline and longer and more technically challenging downhill rides. 
 
But somehow, something was always missing, something big, unique and a special adventure needed to be found. When friends talked of a trekking trip to Africa and the Kilimanjaro,    
that was when the idea was born. If people can walk up it, then it must be possible
to do it by bike. 
 
The highest mountain in Africa 5895m high and over 5000m descent, we could no longer get the idea out of our heads. 


 


As is so often the case, the realisation of this idea proved impossible. 
Our initial inquiries gave us no joy - at this time,  
there was no way of getting a permit to climb the Kilimanjaro with mountain bikes. So that was that then. 


So the years went by, the thoughts, the idea, the dream were all completely forgotten.


motivation                                     

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      2016  




the Red Bull Team with the Trail Star Dany MacAskill, the Trail Legend, Hans (no way) Ray and the Globetrotter, Gerhard Czerner actually managed to get a permit for the Kilimanjaro National Park  to mount the Kilimanjaro with their bikes.


In spring 2019, by coincidence, the idea gained appeal again and so on 7 September 2019, we set out for Tanzania. Finally, on the adventure that we had dreamed about 20 years ago.

 



 




Attempting to tell the story of this unique adventure highlighted with experiences, challenges and emotions as a blog… almost 

                                    impossible!!

We could talk about our trip for days or write a book about it. What we experienced exceeded every expectation.  But we’ll try to tell you of our adventure in words and pictures.

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Kilimanjaro, to the summit of Africa with the mountain bike  

The adventure actually started directly after our stopover in Istanbul.  
Day 1: The departure - nothing but bad luck.

no good
mood

It got off to a bad start - delayed departure from Munich, then arrival in Istanbul with 2 hours delay, 20 minutes „trail running“ from one side of the airport to the other and then:  

connecting flight, away

Gate closed! Plane missed!

acclimatisation at sea level

Instead of a tent, a luxury hotel and 24 hours stay in Istanbul, not exactly our idea of acclimatisation.

Day 2: Arrival in Tanzania - corruption or arbitrary - no time to catch our breath 

        After a 10 hour flight, we, finally, arrived in Kilimanjaro Airport at 5 a.m., got through the immigration formalities and then - the next hurdle. 

                                           Customs required a certificate of ownership for our bikes.
                                                      Great!! Where should we get that from?
                                                                             Phone Niner Bikes!

                  Whoever thought of taking the proof of purchase for your bike with your documents to                                                                                         Africa?


                                                                        We, certainly, didn’t!!

After 2 hours of discussions, phone calls and $50 per bike import duty, we were relieved and totally exhausted: 

Welcome to Africa!! 

Recovery, sleep, gathering our wits and strength - no way!


Instead: putting our bikes together and tackling the first altitude metres through the African jungle up to 2980m to Klima Camp. 

Check your equipment, rebuild your bike and prepare everything for the bus transfer to Kilimanjaro National Park! The lost day must be made up for.

The bikes survived the transport well and everything is back in the right place.

In Africa, too, passenger safety comes first. :)

looks very trusting

Entrance Nationalpark
first impression
location info
First register and weigh the equipment
Briefing of our porters
First summit success
Everything ready to go
Our small team :)
Off to the rainforest
biodiversity
African bike rack
Night camp

Day 3-6: Acclimatisation! The most important days

Mobirise

The following days 

were full of incredible experiences,
due to the landscape and the ever changing vegetation and also the extremely dry desert like climate conditions at an altitude of 4000metres.

First of all, 2 days through the almost impenetrable rain forest with all its facets.
The range of colours, the noise of the hiding animals, the extremely high humidity and the rain that sometimes lashed down, wipping our faces.

At night temperatures dropped to -15 ° C and during the day the low humidity, the sun blazing down
- at times it felt like it was burning our brains out of our heads.

For us from the Allgäu, totally unknown factors - very impressive and unique.

Altitude tactics - go high, sleep deep.

To prevent acute altitude sickness and allow the body to acclimatise, the daily targets were always 400-500 metres ascent higher than the camps. This way, the body can accommodate best to the conditions at great height. 

Mobirise

Cold nights are normal here

The human body
is fascinating:

The nights are not really comfortable or relaxing - not only the cold makes sleep difficult, but also at such high altitude, the body finds no deep sleep phases.
The subconscious hinders deep sleep so that lack of oxygen doesn’t occur due to the thin air.
A really very impressive experience, how the body protects itself and adapts to the continuing ascending metres.

7 Days: Tent camp - Hotel wilderness

The choice of camps was perfect and, at the same time, impressive.
Far away from the usual trekking routes, mostly isolated and in the most breath taking scenery.
The emotions, that are released, are really very difficult to describe.


Mawenzi Hut


We were particularly amazed by Mawenzi Camp at a height of 4800m, at the foot of the 5148m high Mawenzi, the 2nd highest mountain in the Kilimanjaro Massiv.
To see the view from there overlooking the Kilimanjaro opposite and to have our goal, the longest downhill in the world, so close filled us with joy but also with impatience and thirst for action. 

Day 7 - 8: Spontaneity, intuition and in the end we did everything right

Arrival at the base camp

the height is not to be underestimated

In the Allgäu you would be happy about the moderate slope in the video and definitely not push, but the air is already very thin at over 4700 meters. :)

The original plan was on the day before our summit attempt, we ́d carry our bikes as far as possible, at least as far as the Hans Meyer cave at a height of 5220m. We ́d leave the bikes there and would then have less weight on our rucksacks for the following summit attempt day, so saving strength.
We aimed to start to the summit in the following night at 2 a.m.

The nights were so cold, energy draining and sleepless so that in the morning before our actual summit attempt day, we spontaneously decided to tackle the summit on that day, despite the aggressive midday sun.

Mobirise

The decision is made, we'll try today.

The decision

not to use a bike depot and not to start in the night made our challenge more thrilling and we arrived at the summit a whole day earlier. We could take advantage of the fact that we weren’t confronted with the cold and the darkness of the night.

As said above, the sun isn’t your friend during the day - sunstroke causes headaches and nausea which we had both experienced a few days earlier due to our own carelessness. You have to protect yourself against the sun - a hat, dark glasses and long sleeved clothes are an absolute must.

We agreed and decided to start the last 1200 metres ascent to the summit at 9.00 a.m from the Kibo Hut (4720m) with our bikes on our backs. 

Mobirise

Push 10 steps, take a breath and keep fighting.

Our route took us via Gilmans Point and along the crater edge to Stella Point and we, finally, arrived at our goal the summit, 5895 m high, after almost 4 hours.

The last 200 m ascent from Gilmans Point to the summit were the greatest challenge - every step, every breath became harder the higher we climbed.

Close your eyes and just keep going was all we could do. Push the bike 10 steps, deep breath and keep going.
We were both even able to ride the last few metres to the summit. This was, perhaps, the most beautiful part of our ascent to them summit, we passed the almost 100m high hanging glaciers and saw in the distance the striking summit sign of the Uhuru Peak before us. 

Yes, we made it! Obviously exhausted but totally overjoyed.
We ́d achieved our aim!
To the summit of Africa with the mountain bike, we stood at the Uhuru Peak,
the Kilimanjaro, 5895m high.
We were overawed by this moment, our friendship and the coming true of a dream that we ́d had for over 20 years.
The feelings, the emotions, the total relief, all the effort from the last few days,
all that isn’t possible to describe in words really.
Sometimes, it really took our breath away, particularly in the thin air, combined with the struggle for oxygen, we had tears in our eyes and just didn’t really know what was happening around us.
Those are moments of pure bliss - you can’t get closer to biker heaven.
To top it all and as a further reward, because wed set off later, we actually had the summit completely to ourselves and were alone with all our emotions. 

What an experience!!

Mobirise

The downhill

The resulting downhill to the Kibo Hut at 4720m was pure pleasure.

Technically, not such a challenge for us, but at that height and in the thin air, it still wasn’t to be under-estimated. Concentration and reactions are considerably slower.
We felt our pulse and our breath every time we stopped and enjoyed the endless view, impressive silence and time seemed endless on this part of our downhill ride.

In the lower part, the last 100metres descent, we decided to ride close next to each other,
handle bars to handle bars, straight down like a free fall and in approx 30cm of deep sandy gravel, we opened up our brakes and in speed frenzy, we let the adrenaline flow freely through our bodies.

Wow, this is what it feels like to be immortal.

The next highlight occurred as we reached the camp.
The whole expedition team from Extrek-Africa and several surprised mountain climbers greeted us with applause and congratulated us on our achievement.

All in all, this day has become a totally unforgettable day - a real „must have“ in our biker lives. 

Mobirise

Asante sana!!  

Bernd and Martin say a heartfelt thank you!!

At this point, we ́d like to say how grateful we are the whole Extrek-Africa team.
You made a longstanding dream come true
Kilimanjaro - to the summit of Africa with the mountain bike.
Thank you for your support and your never ending physical input.
For your humanity, openness and the way that you were able to show us
and share your lust for life with us.
Tanzania, a wonderful country with fascinating wilderness and unknown culture for us Europeans.

Live your dream and do not dream your life. 

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