UK

Briton to cycle and climb from North America’s lowest point to its highest

Oli France will cycle and climb from Death Valley to Denali as part of a pioneering global challenge.

The challenge is expected to be finished by June
The challenge is expected to be finished by June

A British adventurer is set to cycle and climb from America’s Death Valley to Denali – the highest mountain in North America – driven purely by human power.

On March 24, Oli France, 33, will start the journey, with the aim of travelling from the lowest geographical point to the highest on seven continents.

Mr France completed cold weather training in Scotland in preparation
Mr France completed cold weather training in Scotland in preparation

Mr France, a graduate in outdoor leadership from the University of Central Lancashire, expects to return by June 3.

He told the PA news agency: “I will admit that there are times when I wake up in the night with slightly nervous dread running through my body. But I think that’s normal before any big challenge.”

Mr France said that he has prepared a “colossal kit” which includes 250 individual items sorted between mountaineering and cycling kits.

“The cycle kit will include a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, stoves, all my cycle gear, and cold weather clothing,” he said.

Mr France said the challenges give him a more profound appreciation for his family
Mr France said the challenges give him a more profound appreciation for his family

“I will need to pick things including sprays to prevent any bear attacks, spares and repairs, communication equipment and a few cameras to capture the whole expedition.

“For the mountaineering kit, I will have technical climbing gear, ropes, a sled in which to pull our gear across the glacier, skis and the coldest weather gear that I can source.”

Mr France completed cold weather training in Scotland in preparation, along with plenty of endurance practice, training “anywhere between 15-20 hours a week” including climbing, cycling, running and weights.

The explorer talked about being completely enchanted while reading stories of Sir Ranulph Fiennes and aspired to follow in his footsteps.

Oli France has regularly done adventurous feats
Oli France has regularly done adventurous feats

He has now guided around 500 people on expeditions from ascending the highest mountain in Iraq to climbing volcanoes in the Congo.

He has also undertaken a number of solo challenges including travelling the full length of Lake Baikal in Siberia.

“The Ultimate Seven” is a record-breaking challenge taken up by the explorer to become the first person to travel from the lowest geographical point to the highest on all seven continents entirely by human power.

Africa was the first leg of the challenge, where he faced challenges to keep his body temperature low due to the high temperatures of the continent, opening him to the risks of “heat exhaustion and heat stroke”.

He also faced a few hostile locals and militia groups, while cycling 150 miles through northern Kenya.

Mr France has previously undertaken a number of solo challenges including travelling the full length of Lake Baikal in Siberia
Mr France has previously undertaken a number of solo challenges including travelling the full length of Lake Baikal in Siberia

Ahead of the second leg of his seven-continent challenge, he expects the difficulties to continue, and said he has had to conduct extensive research “as there is very little information” about the area around Denali.

Mr France said that being away from his wife Emma, three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son gives him a real appreciation for when they are together as a family.

He also said that he would be missing his mother’s 60th birthday while on expedition.

On 24 March, Oli France will start his challenge from Death Valley in California to Denali, the highest mountain in North America
On 24 March, Oli France will start his challenge from Death Valley in California to Denali, the highest mountain in North America

“This project has been on my mind for around 10 years. For years I thought that it’s probably not possible due to so many uncertainties and logistical difficulties,” he said.

“It was actually while I was guiding a group in Syria in 2022, that I decided to make that leap of faith.

“It is an opportunity for me to see some of the remote and least visited parts of the world and do something which no other human being has done before.”