For my new tour I am planning something more extraordinary than just a very long bike ride.
I love to be in the mountains – but I am no mountain biker, and so I must go for a hike. There is virtually nothing better than the breath-taking view from the top of a mountain – especially if it is the highest mountain in its particular range.

I want to push myself to another level. I want to be higher than ever before – as high as possible on my home continent. I want to climb Mount Elbrus in Russia with an elevation of 5,642 meters (18,510 feet).

Christian Graber auf dem Großglockner
Highest elevation so far… Großglockner, Austria

As my parents have previously climbed two of the seven summits, I am both very proud and a little jealous going into this adventure. However, there is no need for jealousy, “If you want something – go for it,” I thought – and so I’ve decided to climb one of the seven summits as well.

Some people might say now that this is quite easy, and that’s true – there are easier ways to go there, but that’s not my style of travelling. And so I thought I could make the journey a bit more complex.

As I found out, the lowest point of Europe is in the Netherlands. I was overjoyed at finding this out, as it was also the country where I wanted to start my tour. What better place to get as high as possible from, then the lowest point?

It wasn’t originally the elevation (approximately -7 meters or -23 feet) which prompted me to choose my starting point, a place called “Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel” in the Netherlands – it was the Rhine. The Rhine is the beginning (or the end depending upon perspective) of the Rhine-Main-Danube-Channel which flows its way through 11 countries, a total of 3,500 kilometres (2,175 miles) all over Europe, until finally ending in the Black Sea.
As I have already biked through these countries, I want to instead cross them by kayak. Not just any kayak, a “Hobie kayak”, the design of which allows me to use my well trained legs and cross further, faster than if I used my hands and arms.

As high as possible tour
The easiest way is not always the most beautiful

But nevertheless, I know that I will eventually miss riding my bike, and so I continue this trip with a bike ride from the coast of the Black Sea to come closer to the highest point.
Upon arriving at the coast of the Black Sea I will switch vehicles to the bike and continue to the east coast of the Black Sea by land. The route is not yet fixed, but I will go either via Turkey and Georgia, or Ukraine and Russia.
Finally, when I arrive at the Caucasus Mountains – the highest mountain range in all of Europe – I debark from my bike, continuing on foot to climb Mount Elbrus.

The planning for this tour is still in progress, and I will inform you with all new milestones along the way.

Written by: christian