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These kayak fishing destinations are a real catch!

Kayak fishing is one of the hottest hypes in the outdoor sports at the moment. Where kayaking is a challenging activity offering you a complete work-out, the combination with fishing is an experience like no other. Catching some great fish while keeping your balance and show quick wit might be a real challenge. But to enjoy the great outdoors in a serene environment while performing your favorite hobby migth be one of the most rewarding experiences you might have. So get yourself one of the best fishing kayaks and hit the waters of some of the most amazing destinations in the US.

Deer Creek Conservation Area – Maryland

This peaceful nature spot is off limits to motorized boats and that might be one of the greatest trumps for anglers making use of a kayak. The Deer Creek Conservation Area offers a relaxing day out on the water and if you’re lucky, you might even catch some trout or largemouth bass.

Devils River – Texas

If you’re looking for a isolated spot in a pristine environment, Devils River in Texas might be what you’re looking for. This location is one of the most ecologically intact waterways in the state and they are making huge effort to keep it this way. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a fishing trip where you can spend at least three days in a remote area.

Kona Coast, Hawaii

There is no way we could leave out Hawaii of this list of perfect kayak fishing destinations. The Hawaiian Island has a lot of great things to offer. Kayak fishing might be one of the best! With blue waters, great calm conditions close to the coast and views on the Pacific, this destination is every kayak angler’s dream. There are some pretty big fishes in these water, including huge tuna and gray snapper. An encounter with a tiger sharks or blue marlin is a possibility as well.

Indian River Lagoon – Florida

This lagoon formed by the Indian River is known as one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the Northern hemisphere. It is one of the best places where saltwater fishing and kayaking go hand in hand. Not only will you be able to catch some giant snook, redfish, tarpon or sea trout, but the tropical conditions are a huge plus as well.

Prince William Sound – Alaska

With 10000 square miles of protected waterways, this region in South central Alaska is home to some the most compelling salmon runs in the state. With several salmon species, including King Salmon, Silver Salmon, Red Salmon, Pink Salmon and Chum Salmon, it’s one of the best fishing locations. With a landscape of glaciers and diverse wildlife surrounding you, there a few better places to go kayak fishing.

Do you want to start kayak fishing? Check out this list of 15 Best Fishing Kayaks


4 Pieces of Essential Camping Gear

 Camping Cookware Mess Kit ($20) — It seems that hunger pangs are a big part of what make that evening outdoor meal so delectable. After a day of hiking, canoeing and swimming, the last thing you want is to lug out all the bulky kitchen ware from home. This terrific option can help you eliminate extra-weight and packs up nesting doll styles. Set includes pots, pans and a great many other cookware options. This set addresses several campsite cooking needs in one easy to carry presentation.


Petzl Tikka

If you have lived your life in the constant glow of the city lights, the immensity of the night out in the country can overwhelm you. Nights where there is no light from the moon can seem impossibly dark and navigation can be difficult if not dangerous. While some may call this look “dorky”, having a bright light conveniently located on your brow will keep your surroundings illuminated and your hands free. Just be sure to keep the rechargeable battery fully loaded or you could find yourself in darkness when the battery dies.


Soto Pocket torch

If you will be travelling through especially windy territory, a windproof lighter is just thegear thing you need. If this lighter can reach temperatures exceeding 2300°F , you can melt your way through an avalanche, solder metal and of course light campfires all the way. This is exactly what you will find in the handy Soto Pocket Torch that won’t let you down even if the elements are against you. It alongside these is an essential piece of hunting gear.


Exotac nanostriker fire starter

Building a fire after the grueling task of chopping up firewood and hauling it all to a convenient location is a daunting task, especially if you just came out here to get away from it all. Rather than fumbling in the dark with your flint and steel, the Exotac provides a suitable alternative. This ultra-portable self-contained fire starter is guaranteed for a 3,000 fire strikes per unit. Created here in the USA, the 6061 aluminum product contains a replaceable 1/4″ Ferrocerium bit that can still strike a flame if slightly wet — a true backwoods-person’s friend.



BioLiteCampStove 2

Next morning, when the troupe wakes up hungry, you can whip up some wonders with a fully-functional camp stove like this unit. This Biolite campstove is a portable wood burning solution that can be used for making soups, stews, fried eggs, and many more campsite culinary specialties. Furthermore, this model can convert some of this heat in power to charge up any portable units you may need.


5 reasons why a Dyu Smart Bike D1 should be your next buy

With world cities suffering more and more from traffic jams, bicycles are getting more popular to transport yourself in the city. But what if you need to cover a big distance you say? Y-The Dyu Smart Bike D1 might just be the solution you need. Here are five reasons why it should be your next buy.

Reason 1: Constant speed cruising

Not only will the e-bike make the physical effort minimal, but the cruise button will make sure your bike will work at constant speed. The auto speed adjusting allows you to adjust the speed with an app.

Reason 2: Lightweight

12kg, that all of the weight you need to Carry when holding the bike. The comfortable handle makes it even easier to pick it up and transport it. The bike length of 1 meter doesn’t only make the Dyu Smart Bike D1 space-effective, but allows you to fold it to a small and easily to be carried package.

Reason 3:  Intelligent locking system

Bike theft is a common problem in most world cities. The intelligent locking system however will give you a peace of mind when parking your bike. You can unlock the e-bike with a personalized password by using an app.

Reason 4: Malfunction self checking

You are a halfway your home and your work when your bike breaks down. Tough luck? Not with the Dyu Smart Bike D1. The malfunction self checking application can be used to detect malfunctions early and prevent being stranded halfway your journey.

Reason 5: Long mileage

E-bikes do tend to run out of battery easily. But not this one. Cycling 20 kilometer is no exception while the deluxe version reaches twice the distance easily. Extra plus: it only takes 2 hours to charge the battery.

Interested in purchasing the Dyu Smart Bike D1. Send an enquiry or discover more advantages via Fwheel

7 best places to canoe or kayak in the USA

If you love the outdoors and don’t mind some adrenaline pumping activities, hitting the open waters with your kayak might be one of the best things to do. From open water lakes to white water river rapids, here are the best places in the USA to have your next paddling adventure!

  1. Colorado River

This legendary river, flowing across three different states is one hell of an adventure. Incredible rapids, awesome scenery and offcourse, paddling in the Grand Canyon. There is nothing better than experiencing the grandeur of this nature wonder from down below.

Colorado River
  1. Salmon river, Idaho

Accepting the challenge of conquering various rapids in the middle of nowhere. This is the experience you will get when paddling the Salmon river in Idaho state. Starting on a rushing alpine river and ending in a majestic desert canyon, the landscape is as diverse as it can get.

Salmon river
  1. Chattooga River, South Carolina/Georgia

This wilderness river is legen… wait for it… DARY amongst paddlers. Riding class V rapids to soothing paddling trips in the summer, this river has it all. There are plenty of canoeing rental companies to be found in the area. Check them out here.

  1. Arkansas river, Colorado

If you’re looking for an epic paddling adventure in the middle of the Rockies, there is no better option than the Arkansas river. It is considered the ultimate rafting destination, flowing on class II to V rapids while enjoying the scenery of fourteeners.

  1. Tuolumne River, California

There is no lack of paddling options in California and still this river stands out. The Tuolumne river is one of the most scenic in the country. Flowing across Yosemite NP plunging into the Cherry Creek section, this is one incredible paddling journey.

Tuolumne River
  1. Everglades National Park, Florida

Most of the Everglades is swampland, but it offers some perfect canoeing possibilities. Dolphins, racoons and alligators are some of most impressive wildlife to keep an eye on. With the many islands you can paddle around, the Everglades offer a great outdoor adventure.

Everglades NP
  1. Boundary waters canoe area, Minnesota

The Boundary waters canoe area in Minnesota, situated on the border of northeastern Minnesota and the southwest border of northwestern Ontario is considered as the mecca of canoeing. With alot of lakes, rivers and woodlands, it’s a perfect setting for a multi-day journey.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Are you looking to rent a canoe for your next paddling adventure in the USA? Check out to review & search where to rent a canoe by facility name/zip code/city name


Why I entered the Fjallraven Polar contest

“Collect moments, not things”

If they asked me a month ago why I wanted to enter the Fjallraven Polar, I would answer: because it would be a new experience for me.

The Fjallraven Polar contest is similar to my own travel writing business. I’m a normal person writing about his adventures during mountaineering, trekking and paddling, etc. Why? Because I truly believe that everyone should chase his dreams and adventure should be for every ‘regular’ person. Sounds familiar?

I made my Life list 5 years ago. A list filled with adventures I wanted to experience in my life. I made this list after being done with living my life for other people. It was time to live my own life. The way I wanted to live it. The concept of my Life list is easy. At every moment in my life I have to be busy with something on my list. Like that I’m always doing something I really want to do.

The list made me do stuff like climbing the highest peaks in Africa, Europa and South America. Go trekking and camping in the Northern regions. 2017 will be the year I’m sailing to Svalbard, one of my favorite destinations.

Dogsledding for 300 kilometers in a polar region. That is the adventure I truly need. If a competition claims to want to send ‘regular people’ on an adventure, surely I have to try and win a spot. Fifteen days campaigning later… I realised how the nature of human beings is and why I love the solitude of nature.

The cruel reality of competitions like these…

I’ve prepared my campaign for months, strictly setting a campaigning schedule. Using social media, advertising, exchanging votes, getting published in local newspapers and even spread the word out on the street and ask people one by one to send me on my next adventure. After fourteen days of campaigning it led me to the first place, 500 votes ahead of number two and even 1200 on number three.

A few hours later I would be bounced back to spot number two after the contestant on the third place received ‘miraculously’ 2500 votes in four hours. The next day he would do the same. Call me a sore loser but I can’t believe this was done in a legitimate way. (Appearently it wasn’t) Especially since he claims to have received these votes by contacting fifteen foreign people he used to know and asked them to spread the word…

This is the first time I applied for the Fjallraven Polar after I got to know it on social media last year. Twenty people from all over the world becoming friends by sharing the same experience. Seems great no? Only, after two weeks of campaigning I saw allies switching over to the rival party, I saw accusations of cheating on everyone who stood first place…

The cruel reality is: give away a 100 dollar price and people will fight for it. Give away a huge dogsled experience, adding a polar outfit… and people would cheat and betray even their own friends.

I met people spending their whole day campaigning leading them to a few hundred votes after two weeks. Their dreams and efforts are being crushed by people who ‘buy’ the first place and just claim “everyone’s dream”. Without making an effort.

For this reason I stopped campaigning on day 16. I’m aiming at the second spot to be given by the Fjallraven jury. Why do I earn it more than someone else? I don’t. I don’t have cancer, I’m not special in any way. Just like any other contestant I’m dreaming of experiencing this adventure. If I’m able to participate the Fjallraven Polar I’ll be able to write about it. Share my experiences with others. Telling them adventure is for everyone.

Even if I don’t make it to the Fjallraven Polar it doesn’t mean the end of my dream. I won’t participate again but I’ll find another way to make that dream come true. To cross that adventure of my list.







How to capture your adventure with GoPro?

Any traveler wants to capture his adventure with a GoPro to keep his memories alive or to share his experiences. When mountaineering, cycling, diving or skydiving it might be clear that capturing your actions is somewhat more challenging than posing for a selfie.

I’ve been on adventures many times, always packing my GoPro as I go. Still I have to admit, taking footage of my adventures wasn’t always easy and I will try to share my experience by giving the best tips on creating top quality adventure videos.

1. Keep your lens clean

Vespa in Rome

This might be a basic rule but nonetheless it’s the most common mistake travelers make when shooting their video. Snow, fingerprints or water drops are obstacles that might ruin your golden moment. When filming underwater one of the tricks is to lick the lens and wait for it to dry before using it.

2. Choose the best lighting

Photographers will agree. There are two ideal times to shoot: early in the morning and late in the afternoon. The sun is low in the sky and shadows are reduced creating more cinematic moments. Sunny days are best for making videos.

3. Have a story to tell

When you start your video project, don’t just shoot random footage. Know how your video will look like even before you start. Think about the beginning, middle and ending. About the story you will tell. This will save you a huge amount of time when editing and your video will be more professional and more powerful. Extra tip: plan for the unexpected. Unplanned moments are often the most valuable for your video.

Paddling in Sweden

4. Get creative with shooting angles

Think of the best angle to use when capturing your adventure. Should you hold your camera high or low? To help you use the best angles, there are different kind of mounts you can buy.

5. Save Battery Life

Battery life often is the main disadvantage with every GoPro but it’s getting better with every release. Still, your camera batteries are very likely to run out when you’re on an adventure. A usb compatible solar panel can save you on those moments or you can bring some extra batteries. To save your battery it’s wise to turn off the wifi.

6. Be creative and invest in GoPro Mounts

GoPro has a lot of mounts and accessoiries that are useful to travelers willing to capture their adventure. It is wise to invest in some of these that could be meaningful to you.

Some of the extras are:

GoPro pole

This is one of the items I wouldn’t travel without. Especially when you’re traveling solo or if you want to jump into your own frame this is one must-have.

The GoPro pole is available for 54.95€
GoPro Remote control for 76.95€
Chest Harness

The Chesty makes it easy to capture  video and photos while skiing, mountain biking, motocross, paddle sports or any activity where you want a more engaging, lower-than-the-helmet view of the action. You’ll capture more of your arms, knees, poles and skis while skiing—and more of your arms and handlebars while biking or riding your motorcycle.

Chest Harness is available for 19.99€
Floating Hand Grip

The handler is a buoyant grip that is best used for underwater activities. It’s ideal for shooting selfies, POV or follow-cam while diving. When losing grip of it, your GoPro isn’t lost in Davy Jones’ Locker.

The handler is available for 14.95€
GoPro Head strap

The GoPro head strap is ideal for activities such as cycling, mountaineering or even skydiving. It is perfect for capturing videos in own perspective and will show show people what you see through your eyes.

The Head Strap is available for 22.99€
3D Robotics Solo Drone

If you want top action adventure views shot from the air than this might your new favorite toy. The 3D Robotics Solo Drone is one of the very best drones giving you the possibility to fly and shoot videos with a video game-style controller.

9200000065357395GoPro Hero 5 Black Edition is one the very best action cameras on the market. You can buy these online for 329 €. 





Avontuurlijk door de Schotse Highlands

Zin in een avontuurlijke reis? Wildkamperen op de meest indrukwekkende plaatsen, wandelen doorheen fantastische landschappen en hoge bergen bedwingen. Je hoeft er niet eens zo ver voor te reizen. De Schotse Highlands staan immers bekend om hun outdoor experience.

Dag 1: Glasgow

Onze ultieme reis doorheen Schotland begint in Glasgow. Deze stad in het zuiden van Schotland is ideaal om naar toe te vliegen. Je kunt er meteen kennismaken met de Schotse kilts, doedelzakken en uiteraard whisky. Maar uiteraard zijn we hier aanbeland om te beginnen met het allereerste avontuur: de West Highland Way.

Dag 2-8: de West Highland Way
West Highland Way

Meer dan 150 kilometer wandelen van Glasgow naar Fort William, de stad aan de voet van de Ben Nevis. En dat allemaal doorheen de Schotse Highlands. De West Highland Way is dé trektocht in Schotland en perfect af te leggen in zeven dagen. Kies je ervoor om onderweg te wildkamperen of toch maar voor een jeugdherberg? Bestel onze e-guide West Highland Way en plan je avontuur volledig zelf!

Dag 9: Beklim de Ben Nevis

De meeste Schotten houden zich bezig met het beklimmen van de Munro’s. Een Munro is

Ben Nevis

een berg in de Highlands die hoger reikt dan 3000 voet (914m). Ze allemaal bedwingen tijdens je vakantie in Schotland is misschien niet echt haalbaar gezien het er meer dan driehonderd zijn maar je kan alvast beginnen met de bekendste: Ben Nevis.

Ben Nevis is gelegen vlakbij Fort William, het eindpunt van de West Highland Way en dus een ideale aanvulling voor wie nog energie over heeft. Met 1344m is het de hoogste berg van Schotland én de UK. Je beklimming kan je volledig zelf plannen met de hulp van onze e-guide Three Peaks Challenge.

Dag 10-14: Great Glen Canoe trail
Peddelen op ‘open water’

We bevinden ons nog steeds in Fort William en wie Schotland verder wil verkennen kan dit meteen doen via zijn lochs. Vanuit Banavie, vlakbij Fort William, kun je met de kano verder peddelen over het Caledonian kanaal. Dit kanaal verbindt meren zoals Loch Oich, Loch lochy en Loch Ness en eindigt honderd kilometer verder in Inverness. Peddelen op Loch Ness en wildkamperen op de oevers zijn maar enkele van de hoogtepunten van dit avontuur. Met behulp van onze e-guide Great Glen Canoe trail kom je alles te weten over hoe je dit avontuur plant.

Dag 15: Inverness-Edinburgh

Nu we het hoge noorden van Schotland hebben verkend kunnen we ons avontuur afsluiten in zijn prachtige hoofdstad: Edinburgh. Vanuit Inverness kun je makkelijk met de trein verder reizen richting je eindbestemming. Tickets bestel je echter wel best op voorhand.

Dag 16: Edinburgh

Met een wel erg duister verleden is Edinburgh niet zomaar een stedentrip. Overdag kun je

Schotse tour guide

gezellig slenteren doorheen de Royal Mile of Arthur’s Seat beklimmen. Een Dark Side avond tour boeken is dan weer het ideale moment om je onder te dompelen in de duistere verhalen van Edinburgh.



24 hours in Paris

It could as well have been the script for a drama-romantic blockbuster. A young couple gets married but then the young woman is diagnosed a rare condition. Being terminal she only has one wish: seeing Europe and cities just like Paris. But time is limited. No doubt it would be a money-making blockbuster but there are more realistic scenarios when it comes to having limited time to spend in Paris. Maybe you need to catch a connection flight to a further destination but for now you’re ‘stuck’ in Paris. Or just maybe you’re on tight travel schedule when traveling France or Europe and there is limited time to see the French capital. Well there is no time to lose. Take a taxi from the airport and check this post of what would be the best way spending 24 hours in Paris?

Breakfast: Les Deux Moulins

For a foodie there are hundreds of places where you can eat a croissant or two but


since we want to make our experience in the city special, why not consider having breakfast at Les Deux Moulins? Situated at Montmartre hill, this special café – slash – restaurant has become quite popular since Jeunet’s movie Le Fabuleux destin de Amélie Poulain. This café was the setting for the movie which made every man fall in love with Amélie. Being still in its original state it’s a perfect place to have a decent breakfast and feel like you’ve fallen in the movie.

Morning: Montmartre

While being at Montmartre it would be a shame not to wander through the small cobblestoned  streets where street artists make portraits of tourists. It shouldn’t be surprising that this region used to form artists like Van Gogh and Matisse. Without doubt the Sacré-Coeur is the highlight of this district in the French capital. If you’re looking for the French romantic feeling, this is it.


Afternoon: Louvre and surroundings

One could easily spend weeks in the galleries of the Louvre. But off course as you all remember we only have 24 hours to spend in the French capital. Still, a visit to the Louvre is undoubtedly a must do when visiting Paris. Even if you’re not too keen on art or history, having a look at Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or the Venus of Milo is just something you won’t regret. After you’re visit to the Louvre it might be a good idea to have a walk to the famous Notre Dame. This walk brings you alongside the Seine and across Pont Neuf.

Afternoon: Champs-Elysées and & Arc de Triomphe

Even if you only had like one hour in Paris, this probably would the place you would go to. The Champs-Elysées is the most famous avenue in Paris, leading towards the Arc de Triomphe. Considered as the most beautiful avenue in the world it attracts many famous people and is known for its theatres, cafés and luxury shops. To have a splendid view on the avenue, consider climbing the stairs of the Arc de Triomphe.

Evening: the Eiffel tower

Eiffel Tower

If I ask you Paris, you say Eiffeltower. This iron construction is the symbol of the city and even if you don’t have time to walk to the Champ de Mars and admire world’s most visited paid monument, you’ll probably have caught a glimpse of it during the day. The tower is to be seen from pretty much every corner in Paris. In the evening lights bright up the monument and pays homage to Paris’ title of City of Light.

How to get to Paris center from Charles de Gaulle?
  1. When there is no time to lose you can consider taking a taxi to the city center. offers reliable private taxi services to the center of Paris. The driver will be holding a board with your name on it at the exit gate. has English and French speaking drivers delivering you at the door of your hotel. Prices range from 55 (1-3 persons) to 85 (8 persons) euros.



Aconcagua: Expeditie naar de top van de Andes (Deel IV)

Ik staar naar het dak van mijn grijze North Face tent. Uitgeteld en met een zware hoofdpijn sluit ik geregeld mijn ogen, hopend op beterschap. Nog nooit voelde ik me zo zwakjes aan de vooravond van een summit bid. Ik kan me niet inbeelden dat ik over acht uur aan de loodzware laatste klim naar de top moet beginnen. Niet als ik me zo zwak voel als nu. “Dinner is ready”, hoor ik Chicho roepen. Honger heb ik niet. Zin om uit mijn tent te kruipen om eten te gaan halen evenmin. Ik sluit mijn ogen en val in slaap.

19 januari 2016: Naar het dak van de Andes

Ik hoor de ritssluiting van mijn tent opengaan en zie een fel licht binnen schijnen. 2016-01-27 10.38.41‘Tijd om op te staan.’ Het is Mariano. ‘In great shape?’, lacht hij. Het is half vier in de ochtend en ik voel me al een stuk beter dan gisteravond. Niet dat ik me nu helemaal fit voel maar de laatste zware beklimming zie ik alvast niet meer tegenop. Ik drink gauw een flinke slok warm water (al de rest is bevroren) om de lichte hoofdpijn waarmee ik nog sukkel weg te werken. Terwijl ik nog enkele energierepen naar binnen werk maak ik mijn rugzak die gelukkig een pak lichter zal zijn dan de voorbije dagen. Water, crampons, ice axe en energierepen. Veel meer hoef ik niet te dragen. De rest kan ik makkelijk in de tent in het kamp achterlaten.

Negen uur klimmen. En dan spreken we nog niet over de lange afdaling die ons te wachten staat. Zoveel tijd hebben we nodig om het hoogste punt van de Aconcagua te bereiken. Nochtans had ik vooraf verwacht dat het een korte summit day zou worden. Zeker gezien het late uur van vertrek en de korte afstand op de topografische kaart. Voor het late uur geeft Mariano als reden dat het anders te koud is om te klimmen. En de afstand? Wel, dat ligt aan het terrein dat we moeten overbruggen. Aconcagua staat bekend als een technisch makkelijke beklimming, maar het laatste steile stuk naar de top is toch vaak bedekt met sneeuw en ijs.

Het is vijf uur wanneer we met een traag tempo aan de klim beginnen. Erg koud is het niet. Een meevaller. Zeker gezien het feit dat ik volgens Mariano en de rest van de groep veel te licht gekleed ben. Iets wat ik zelf tegensprak. Ik klim immers altijd in deze temperaturen met deze lagen kledij. Ook de wind is een heel stuk minder dan verwacht en voelen we amper. Als het geluk ons nu niet meezit, dan weet ik het ook niet meer. Toch is het wachten tot de zon opkomt en de temperaturen iets hoger worden. Al zitten we tegen dan alweer een stuk hoger. De duisternis beperkt ons zicht tot de klimschoenen van de klimmer voor ons.

2016-01-19 11.38.43
Richard bij La Canaleta

Het vroege uur zorgt er echter voor dat we niet zo lang hoeven te wachten op de zonsopgang. De oogverblindende schoonheid van de gele bol die zich boven de bergen hijst zorgt meteen voor een onverwachte stop. Het is een panorama dat ik al meermaals heb mogen aanschouwen in de bergen maar nooit raak je het beu.

Het terrein wordt een pak moeilijker en als we aan een noodbivak aankomen vraagt Mariano ons om onze crampons aan te trekken. Hoe vermoeid ik daadwerkelijk ben wordt me al gauw duidelijk als ik een gevecht lever met mijn crampons om deze op een degelijke manier aan te trekken. De crampons aanspannen, stevig vastmaken, … het kost me allemaal veel energie. Zo veel dat ik af en toe moet uitblazen, leunend tegen de rotsen. Uiteindelijk schiet Bjorn, mijn Duitse teamgenoot me te hulp. Ik check mijn uurwerk en hoogtemeter. Amper in een derde van de beklimming en ik ben doodop. Voor het eerst begin ik te vrezen of ik de top wel haal. Maar al snel overtuig ik mezelf. De top halen doe ik wel, al zal dat veel energie kosten. Maar geraak ik nog beneden? Zonder mezelf antwoord te geven klim ik verder.

Het neemt nog heel wat tijd in beslag vooraleer we de uiteindelijke top van de Aconcagua in zicht krijgen. En daar tussenin, een steil stuk overdekt met sneeuw en ijs. Ondertussen zit het hele team op zijn tandvlees. Inclusief ikzelf. Al een hele tijd. Met ons doel in zicht, zet ik alles op alles en duw ik mijn ice axe telkens diep in de sneeuw vooraleer mezelf op te trekken. Keer op keer. Aan mijn vermoeidheid denk ik niet meer, hoewel ik bezig ben aan de zwaarste inspanning die ik ooit heb moeten leveren. Klimmen op bijna 7000 meter hoogte. Uiteindelijk zie ik een met rotsen bezaaid platform die ik herken van de foto’s die ik nog heb gezien. De summit (13.33u)! Het hoogste punt van Zuid-Amerika is bereikt. De ontlading is groot maar energie om nog hard te juichen heb ik niet meer. Ik geniet van het uitzicht op de Andes bergketen dat we hebben. Mijn tweede berg in de reeks van de Seven Summits is binnen.

2016-01-27 10.39.17
Don en Ryan (USA) op de top

Ik zou nog vaak terugdenken aan het moment waarop ik mijn crampons aantrok. De gedachte die me toen binnenviel dat ik de top wel zou halen maar geen idee zou hebben of ik nog nooit energie zou overhebben om terug beneden te geraken. Nochtans ben je op de top pas in de helft van je expeditie. Nu zat ik hier, op 6962 meter hoogte, op een rotsblok met uitzicht op de imposante South face. Vermoeid. Al werd pas duidelijk wanneer ik terug aan de afdaling begon hoe erg ik in mijn reserves had getast. Mijn concentratie was weg, tot zover ook mijn evenwicht. En alsof dat nog de beklimming nog niet genoeg zou bemoeilijken viel ik te pas en te onpas in slaap. Tijdens het klimmen! Mijn lichaam blokkeerde, had rust nodig. Een van de gidsen besloot dat het beter was om me met een short rope te begeleiden, voor het geval ik mijn evenwicht verloor en de dieperik in tuimelde. Er stond immers nog een steile afdaling te wachten. Het werd het begin van een echte lijdensweg. Met een wel erg traag tempo daalde ik af. Telkens in slaap vallend wanneer ik even mocht pauzeren, waarna de gids me telkens mocht wakker duwen. Hilarisch vonden ze het. Voordien vertelden ze nog hoe niemand te lang op bepaalde plaatsen zoals de Canaleta wou zijn. ‘Too exposed.’, vertelde Mariano. Alleen de gekke Belg viel er telkens in slaap. De afdaling leek langer te duren dan de beklimming zelf en wanneer ik precies terug in basiskamp aan ben gekomen weet ik niet meer. Hoewel de gidsen het vooral vermakelijk vonden trok ik zelf mijn conclusies. Nooit nog gebruik ik al mijn reserves op om de top te bereiken. De top is immers pas halfweg.