In the Fall of 2016, mountain bike legend and mountain bike hall of famer Hans “No Way” Rey teamed up with internet action sports phenom Danny Macaskill and professional mountain bike guide Gerhard Czerner to raise awareness for Rey’s non-profit Wheels 4 Life.
“This was truly a never before done feat, the first back to back mountain bike ascents and descents of Mt. Kenya and Kilimanjaro” said Rey. “It was something I had thought about doing for a long time since my first trip to the region back in 2004. 12 years later we went for it! Danny had never done anything like this. As amazing of an athlete as he is this was a serious commitment for him to make without years of conditioning, I was super excited to have him along for the ride”
The team spent their ascents battling altitude sickness and delirium from filming at high altitudes. A pulmonary edema resulted in Macaskill getting emergency airlifted from Mt. Kenya. After a stint in a Nairobi hospital, Danny stabilized and rejoined Hans and Gerhard to face and summit Kilimanjaro.
Seattle based content studio Freeride Entertainment followed their journey in their new 25-minute short film, “Kilimanjaro: Mountain of Greatness.”
The Freeride Entertainment film production crew comprised of Director Aaron Whitley, DP Alex Fostvedt, Soundman Greg Picard and photographer Martin Bissig, faced multiple challenges while filming the trip. Blackmail from the Tanzanian border authorities, guides shutting down their proposed routes and the technical hurdles of filming at almost 20,000 feet of elevation were all in a day’s work for the crew.
“The bigger the crew the slower everything moves, that’s why we chose to bring such a small team. There are not many cameramen with the fitness to pull this off. We needed to move fast and be with the athletes at all times… High elevation effects everybody differently and you don’t know how until you are there. It becomes hard to think straight when exhaustion and the altitude kicks in, especially the big picture and what shots you need to tell your story.” states Whitley. “Many people die a year climbing Kilimanjaro but they don’t want to advertise this. The night before our summit one of our porters became deathly ill and had to be carried down the mountain and he had loads of altitude experience, there was absolutely nothing easy about this.
Throughout the 10 day journey, the team covered almost 40,000 feet of elevation, 99 miles by bike and foot, and two mountain summits. While also making time to donate 230 bikes through Wheels 4 Life to local organizations to improve the lives of residents of rural Kenya.
Check out the trailer: