Drive 2 Climb K2: insights from our intrepid adventurer Mike Horn.
Mike Horn has travelled with his trusty Mercedes-Benz G-Class through 13 countries, from his house in Switzerland all the way to Pakistan, home of the mighty K2. Here, the traveller shares his insights on the drive, its many challenges, and how opting for this mode of transport has heightened his experiences.
The parts you cannot plan for.
“How can you discover new land if you never leave home?” asks Mike. Trip planning is traditionally about creating a seamless experience, but when a journey is too smooth the excitement and adventure is lost. It is the unexpected challenges, the hard work and tricky negotiations which end up making your travels interesting and worthwhile.
“When we plan a trip, we know that there will be obstacles to overcome... and those obstacles become the very reason we want to leave”.
The benefits of going the long way around.
For all his myriad adventures, Mike has never before used motorised transport. This time, he decided to do things differently. Firstly, so he could share the journey with his two daughters, Annika and Jessica, who joined him for part of the drive. Secondly, the quickest route is not always best.
“When you fly over a country, you don’t experience it”, Mike reflects. “To be able to travel with a vehicle through these places makes it easier to see new things and understand the people... and that’s how you enrich your soul”.
Mike was initially drawn to the challenge of the expedition and its three distinct composite parts: the drive to Pakistan, the ascent of K2, and the ski descent. The drive was the easy part, compared with what he now has in store. “For me, the end result is not reaching the summit, or skiing the mountain”, says Mike. “It’s to come back alive, and to have lived an experience that I’ve never lived before”.
On the importance of local encounters.
The team has been enraptured and inspired by the warmth of the many people they have met during their drive across 13 countries. Mike believes that the trait of kindness unites people from all over the world, and is common to all cultures despite other profound differences.
“Meeting people is one of the most important aspects of travelling”, he says. “Without people, the country is not interesting”.
Crossing continents in a G-Class.
Mike has grown rather attached to his vehicle over the past few weeks. Together they have shared the good and bad, over gruelling ground and through spectacular landscapes: “There’s no better vehicle than the Mercedes-Benz G-Class for an expedition like this. You have to cover many different terrains – there’s no better companion. It’s trustworthy, safe, and more comfortable than any other means of transport I ever experienced”.
Dive into Mike and the team’s adventures in our Youtube video series charting their epic drive to K2.