The Road from Karakol

by Matt de Neef


In summer 2011, Outdoor Research athlete Kyle Dempster took off on his bike across Kyrgyzstan with a couple mostly-accurate maps, a trailer full of climbing gear, and a vocabulary of 10 Kyrgyz words. He spent two months pedaling and pushing the bike more than 1200 km on roads of variable states of neglect, wading through wild rivers, dealing with corrupt military checkpoint staff, and soloing a handful of unclimbed alpine rock and mixed routes. He recorded the journey, his camera his only partner, friend, and sometimes the only receiving end of his conversations for days at a time.