Last year I wrote a satirical piece for Gadling about a man who wanted to ride his mountain bike up Everest. That was an April Fools day post that managed to illicit a few laughs at the time. I promise that the following story is a real one that comes are way courtesy of Outside Online.
According to Outside correspondent Grason Schaffer, who has been reporting from Everest Base Camp for the past few weeks, there is a man in BC who is hoping to take his beloved mountain bike up the mountain if and when he gets the chance to climb. 46-year old Aydin Irmak, a Turkish-immigrant to the U.S., believes that he can go all the way to the summit with the 33-pound bike, although he seems to be lacking a few permits to do just that.
Irmak’s story is an interesting one. He came to the U.S. in the early 90’s and took a variety of odd jobs to earn a living. Eventually he started his own business focused on industrial design and started making some good cash. But things changed after 9/11 and in 2005 he filed for bankruptcy, left his wife and hit the road. First he tramped around South America on foot for a few years, then wandered back to New York where he was homeless for a time and made money by fixing discarded bikes that he found on the street. Eventually he discovered his current bike and something in him told him to do something special with it, so he set off on a ride to Norway that took him north above the Arctic Circle. After that he turned back south into Russia and kept riding. Eventually he crossed through more than 19 countries before arriving in Kathmandu, where he got the inspiration to take his bike up Everest.
The bureaucrats in Nepal were none too keen to issue him the necessary permits however and he practically had to threaten one just to get permission to go up to Camp 4 on the South Side. According to the Outside story however, he also needs a permit from Sagarmatha National Park, which surround Everest and at this point he still doesn’t have one. If he does get that paperwork, he can at least try to go up the mountain.
It doesn’t seem he really has much of a chance of reaching the summit, with or without the bike. This is Irmak’s first real mountaineering expedition and until now he’s never even worn crampons before. On top of that, Schaffer reports that on Aydin’s first acclimatization rotation to Camp 1, the actually went up without his jacket and was forced to retreat to BC. Those are rather auspicious signs for someone who hopes to climb the tallest mountain on the planet.
Still, it’s hard not to cheer for the guy. I love his sense of adventure and approach to life. I doubt he’ll have any success in getting to the top with his bike, but it sure is fun to dream big sometimes.
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