There are 82 peaks in the Alps that stand more than 4,000 metres above sea level, and Dutch mountain guide and Rab athlete Roeland van Oss has climbed to the summit of every single one in one season, cycling his bike between the mountains.
Roeland began his Climbing4Climate project in May 2022, by scaling Piz Bernina, a 4,048-metre mountain on the border of Switzerland and Italy, and the highest peak in Bernina Range.
In Valais, unstable weather and unforeseen storms seriously jeapodised Roeland plans, but he still knocked off 33 peaks in the first 23 days.
Between day 37 and 51, in the mountains around Chamonix, Roeland climbed all the big 4,000 metre peaks around Mont Blanc, including Aiguille Verte, Diable Ridge, Grandes Jorasses, the 4,000 metre peaks on the Brouillard and Peuterey ridge, and Mont Blanc itself.
Moving on to the mountains around Grindelwald and Zermatt, Roeland finally completed his ambitious project by summiting the last two 4,000 metre peaks in the French Ecrins mountains on 12th August.
Roeland's extraordinary endeavour was sponsored by Rab, who make some of the best outdoor gear on the market, including excellent winter jackets (like the Infinity Microlight) and superb sleeping bags (such as the Neutrino 400 and the Solar Ultra 2).
Roeland chose to make his adventure complete self-powered, using his bike to travel between the mountains, keeping CO2 emissions to a minimum. The aim of his mission was to raise awareness for climate change and inspire others to take individual action to achieve change for the better.
During his epic odyssey, Roeland was confronted with challenges including huge crevasses, rock falls, and difficult rocky approaches exacerbated by high temperatures.
“The summer of 2022 was not a brilliant one to have a project like this,” says Roeland. “But it was a summer that sadly demonstrated perfectly what the big issue is: extremely hot and dry, during which many routes were closed due to rock and ice fall, with several major incidents in the mountains that could be directly related to climate change.”
In total, Roeland cycled over 1,300km, hiked more than 600km, and ascended upwards of 100,000 vertical metres. He is the first Dutch person and the fourth climber ever to achieve this performance.