Harald Philipp: Search for Meaningfulness at the end of the world
Harald Philipp is an adventurer by profession. His passion is discovering unknown tracks. The extreme mountainbiker has ridden on glaciers, volcanoes, the steepest trails and staggering climbing routes. Is there a further step up? During his tour in the Himalayas he experienced that the principle of “Higher, Faster, Further” no longer applies to him. What did he find instead?
On the way up for days
Dolpo is the least known region in Nepal. The settlements in this region are among the highest, permanently inhabited areas in the world. From there, only lonely donkey paths lead further into the mountains, which make even the gigantic rock formations in the Alps look like dwarves. Harald Philipp would like to explore trails here that no biker has previously experienced under their studded tyres. He climbs uphill for days with his companions – with his bike on his shoulders. He has the feeling that he will never arrive at the top.
Encounters are the true adventures
Thwarted by altitude sickness, he eventually realises that the true adventures on this journey take place elsewhere: in the encounters with people. With the family in a mountain village whose kitchen is his home for a few days. With the old man whose smile on his weather-beaten face gives you the feeling that you have known him forever. With the cheering children who run behind the bikers for kilometres. In this way, Harald Philipp experiences that you can also communicate at the end of the world with your heart and hands without speaking a word of Nepalese.
Leave the beaten track
It is as if the bike professional would be rewarded for his insight. The route back is spectacular: trails in a barren, treeless landscape, with gigantic white mountains in the background. Dusty desert trails in front of endlessly high glacier walls. Winding tracks in valleys with green rice terraces and monasteries with prayer flags flying from them. “Nepal was one of the most impressive trips of my life”, says Harald Philipp looking back. You don’t always need to go to the absolute limit to have great experiences: “It is important to leave the beaten track to discover new things – and not least to find out about yourself.”
Photos: Stefan Voitl