7 summits. 7 continents. 1 dream.
Jelle Veyt is planning to travel all the way from Belgium to the peak of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania which is a distance of over 17,000km (10,000 miles), using only human power. He plans to start his journey on August 19th on his bicycle, which will be his most used mode of transportation But Jelle will also be rowing, walking, and climbing the highest mountain in Africa, sometime before July 2020.
This will be a grueling 12 month trek which will test his mental and physical endurance, but they won’t be his only obstacles. After cycling over 3000 km (1800 miles), Jelle will arrive at the Strait of Gibraltar, and he plans to cross the busy shipping lane between Europe and Africa by kayak.
Jelle will then head south along Africa’s West Coast by bicycle again, before beginning the next trial of crossing the Sahara Desert. Cycling through the Sahara is a obviously a challenge in itself, but the current political instability there means that Jelle has chosen the least dangerous route, which is a detour of over 3000km (1800 miles).
Even though the Congo River is the second largest river in the entire world, there is only one bridge, which means he will have to cycle and walk along rough jungle roads to reach the bridge to get to the other side. Jelle will then make his way through the mainland to Tanzania, before finally arriving at the base of Kilimanjaro. He will then trade his cycling gear for climbing gear, to reach his goal of standing on the summit of the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.
This expedition of cycling, rowing, walking, and climbing from Belgium to Kilimanjaro is only one part of Jelle’s larger project called Human Powered 7 Summits of Happiness. Jelle started this project to collect funds for local non-profits while climbing the highest peak on every continent, and only using human power to get to each one. Already, Jelle has cycled over 30,000 km (18.000 miles), rowed over 4000 km (2500 miles), and climbed to the peaks of 3 of the 7. And Jelle has already climbed to the summits of Mount Elbrus in Southern Russia, Mt Everest in Asia, and the Carstensz Pyramid of Indonesia.
Jelle is already the first person to have ever achieved this feat, but it unfortunately did not come without pain, heartbreak, or sacrifice. In 2015, Jelle was almost buried alive when an earthquake hit Nepal, which caused an avalanche on Everest that took the lives of 19 fellow climbers. Then in 2018, Jelle was attempting to be the first person to ever row from Java to Papua New Guinea when he became severely ill with a tropical virus. Thankfully he was rescued and nursed back to health, but while cycling through the Papua jungle a few months later, he came across the bodies 30 Indonesian soldiers who had been killed by rebels only moments earlier.
Along with his sponsors Vayamundo and Secutec, Jelle is using this opportunity to fund different projects that help street kids around the world. Like Shangila Home, a Nepali orphanage which provides shelter and education to vulnerable children living on the street in Kathmandu. Being a former street kid himself, Jelle knows how important these kinds of opportunities in life are for them.
Unsurprisingly, Jelle also sees some extremely remote places as he travels the world using human power. He also sees that the effects of mankind on those eco systems are huge. So Jelle stops at many Environmental Organizations during his expeditions to see if his sponsors Vayamundo and Secutec can support them in any way, while also promoting the most eco-friendly mode of transport ever: Human Power.
Because that is what 7 Summits of Happiness means. That is his dream.
To follow Jelle’s journey, you can check out his website here.
You can also see exactly how far he has come on his tracking page.
Source: Press Release