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Turning markers into adventures – One summit at a time

By Matthias / 28summits 2014.05.09 in The 28Summits Challenge

I am five summits down on my list and it has been a bit more than two months since I stood on top of the last one. After I moved back to Germany and started my new job I find myself on the opposite side of the paradox. As a student I had plenty of time for adventures, but insufficient funds to execute all of them. Now I find myself having more budget for adventures, but my vacation days are limited so I have to create my own microadventures in between the working life.

I read about the idea of microadventures in a blog post on National Geographic by Alastair Humphreys. His blog post pretty much describes my situation, but also how not to get stuck in it: “See the opportunities for adventures, not the constraints that get in the way.” So right now I am trying to figure out these opportunities to fit as many summits as possible in the vacation time and weekends I have. To stay motivated and show me what still lies ahead, I put a big map of Europe on my wall and marked the summits on my list. The green markers stand for the ones I already crossed off, the red ones are the ones that are left and the yellow ones are other mountains I really would like to climb such as Dufourspitze or Galdhøpiggen:28Summits_Map_1

My first microadventure will take me to Portugal. In the middle of June I will use a long weekend to fly to Porto and go for a trip to reach Torre, the highest point of the Serra da Estrela mountain range and of continental Portugal. One can actually reach the summit by car, but I am planning to turn it into a nice day hike with some more ascent.28Summits_Map_3

After this microadventure, I am planning a bigger adventure again by spending two weeks in the Alps this summer. The first week I will spend hiking with a friend, trying to get used to the height again by ascending summits between 2,000 and 3,000 meters. One of these summits will be Triglav, the highest point in Slovakia. The rest of the week we will spend in Austria taking in the beauty of this great mountain range. 28Summits_Map_2

After the first week I will proceed on my own to the region of the Hohe Tauern with its famous peak Großglockner, Austria’s highest peak. I will spend a week there on a training course in mountaineering in rock and ice. My actual plan for this summer was to cross off more summits in the region such as Zugspitze, Dinara or Großglockner. But I still need to improve my technique and learn more about securing yourself on the mountain, moving on glaciers and handling navigation and weather in the mountains. Therefore, I will use this week to learn and improve my skills. With the input from this training I will be able to reach the other summits on my list in a safer way and with more experience.

I am getting more and more excited for those trips while at the same time I am planning more microadventures. I will keep you guys posted and maybe meet you in the mountains!

#5 – Møllehøj – Denmark

By Matthias / 28summits 2014.03.09 in The 28Summits Challenge

Last week I reached the low point of my challenge … literally. While moving my things from Sweden back to Germany I passed Denmark and managed to pay Møllehøj a visit, with 170.86 m the highest point in continental Denmark. The Danes are very precise when it comes to the highest point as you can see by the use of decimal points. They have to be that precise as there are two more points close to Møllehøj that could count or have counted as the highest point. In case the Danes change their minds in the future, I just paid all of them a visit as they’re very close to each other.Mollehoj

(Based on the following file under creative commons license)

Ejer Bavnehøj

I started my journey by parking the rental car next to the visitors center of Ejer Bavnehøj. With 170.77 meters Ejer Bavnehøj was deemed Denmark’s highest point for a while as can be seen by the tower that was built on it and a stone marker for the highest natural point in Denmark.EjerBavnehoj2EjerBavnehoj1

Visitors can walk up the small tower and enjoy the view over a picturesque landscape. From the top of the tower one can also already see the actual highest point Møllehøj to the West as well as the cattle farm next to it.Mollehoj9

From the tower a small trail leads to Møllehøj and over another hill back to Ejer Bavnehøj.

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The long way to a plant strong diet

By Matthias / 28summits 2014.02.25 in Food

Since we started preparing for our first longer hiking trip two years ago, I’m getting more and more interested in the aspect of nutrition. What do we really need to perform in the outdoors? Which types of food are more nutritious or healthier? These thoughts led me deeper into studies of food and its nutritional values. Some of the books I read even made me rethink my daily diet and what I should eat to become more healthy and fit for the challenge ahead. In this post I want to take you along the short trip that is the story of how I am about to change my diet to face the 28Summits and hopefully become a generally healthier human being.

The adventure diet

KungsledenFor our trip to Kungsleden two years ago we took along a quite simple diet that probably was not the best for the challenge that lay ahead, but as usual such mistakes are good for the learning process. We packed oatmeal for breakfast and mixed in some sugar, honey or jam to make it a bit more interesting. For lunch we had soup, crisp bread and tube cheese for some added flavour, protein and fat. Throughout the day we had small snacks like nuts, dried fruits or chocolate. The dinners turned into the most important part of the diet as it was often the only warm meal and generally most nutritious of the day. We had frozen dried meals from Real Turmat that turned out really tasty and made us feel good after a long day of hiking.

One major factor in those trips that I picked up on Kungsleden is calorie intake. On Kungsleden we encountered deep and wet snow that often went knee-deep and sometimes even up to the waist. The going was though and we spent a lot of energy wading through the snow. But we pulled through and had a really nice trip after all as Kungsleden in early June can also be a quite solitary and relaxing experience. But over the course of not even two weeks we all lost a lot of weight, with me for example dropping something around 4-5 kilos in weight. It is hard to estimate our calorie intake as well as how much we burned, but it was definitely not sufficient. Last year on our trip to Sarek we added and replaced food to have a better-rounded and nutritious diet, but we still lost some weight in the two weeks. On a trip like that it is always a trade-off between having enough food and carrying more weight.Sarek

After these experiences I was more and more interested if there is a way to solve that trade-off, but also how my daily diet should look like if I want to get in shape for the 28Summits Challenge. This led me to the first book that I want to talk about in this post.

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Run to the hills or how I started running

By Matthias / 28summits 2014.01.21 in Staying in shape

To master my 28Summits challenge I mainly will need three things: knowledge about the summits, improved technique (e.g. in climbing) and physical fitness. I am working on the first point since I came up with the idea for this challenge and have spent hours reading about the summits, routes and general conditions (see this post for information about my sources).  In this post I want to focus on one of the most important factors, the physical fitness. In particular, my complicated relationship with running that is slowly turning into a love story.

Black_ForestI have never been a good endurance athlete. I could pull off quite a good time on the 100m sprint, but running for more than 5 minutes always was a challenge for me. Common excuses for not running included that I was not built to be a runner, that running would be bad for my joints … I think we all made or heard those excuses before. So last year I started swimming instead, but after a few months it did not really go anywhere and I was usually bored just doing lane after lane. But considering this challenge I had to do something to enhance my endurance considering that I will have to do more than 2,000 meters of altitude gain in one day on several mountains. So I set myself the goal for 2014 to start living more healthy by changing my diet and start running with the ultimate goal of at least being able to run 10 km in under an hour.

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Hiking around Stockholm: From Handen to Paradiset

By Matthias / 28summits 2013.12.13 in Staying in shape

This week I finally had time on my hands and a chance to explore another gem of the great outdoors around Stockholm: Paradiset Nature Reserve. Even though I recently started my winter workout activities, it felt good to be back in the hiking boots and enjoy the sunny day outdoors. I once again set out on Sörmlandsleden, the hiking trail that I wrote about previously and of which the first sections stretch around the South of Stockholm. Throughout the hike I crossed four different nature reserves, among them Paradiset, the nature reserve that came recommended from different friends.Soermlandsleden to Paradiset_8

Rudan naturreservat

The fifth section of Sörmlandsleden starts close to the commuter train station Handen, that can easily be reached within half an hour from the city. On the early parts of the trail going through Rudan naturreservat I met some people walking their dogs or fishing in one of the lakes. One of the fishers even took his scooter into the reserve and makes this picture look more like a product shot than a nice view of the lake behind it:Soermlandsleden to Paradiset_1

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About me

This blog is about my 28Summits Challenge with the goal of reaching the highest points of each member state of the European Union.

Matthias

My name is Matthias, I am 28 years old. Growing up close to the Alps I have been hiking basically all my life. I love being outdoors and exploring the nature. When I am not doing this I am working in media management or follow up on my other passion of cooking and baking.

On this site I will share my experiences along the road to achieve the challenge I set myself. Furthermore, I will blog about my other hiking trips as well as media about the outdoors.

/ Matthias

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My hiking companions blog about hiking and traveling in the North:

Travel North

Yummy and healthy vegetarian food:

Green Kitchen Stories

My favorite baking blog (only in Swedish):

Baksugen

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