TOP OF THE WORLD: New Zealand
Adventurer, author and film-maker Jenny Robust woke with a begin in her sleeping bag as Jeeps screamed to a halt beside her. She was on a 534-mile solo endurance problem, working throughout the Atlas mountains in Morocco – miles from the closest village.
Now she was confronted by males with weapons – shouting at her in a mix of Arabic and French.
Jenny was terrified. The lads motioned for her to get right into a automotive exhausted however she refused.
Jenny battled climate and excessive altitudes “It appeared like the most suitable choice if I used to be going to remain alive,” says 32-year-old Jenny, a Canadian who now lives in Scotland.
Ultimately, the lads defined in damaged English they had been native police, who had been satisfied she can be murdered by robbers within the mountains.
They tried to steer her to return to the closest village for security, however Jenny stated no.
“They did not imagine I might survive as a result of I used to be a younger girl,” she says. The incident got here mid-way by means of her epic quest to run throughout six mountain ranges in six continents.
“It began after I was consuming wine one night, taking a look at a map of the Tien Shan mountain vary, which stretches throughout Central Asia,” she says.
“I puzzled if I might cross it, and after I discovered nobody had ever run throughout it earlier than, I used to be actually excited. The concept simply snowballed – why run one mountain vary when you may run six?”
EXHAUSTED: Jenny battled climate and excessive altitudes
She began the problem in August 2016 and accomplished the runs in a collection of three-week stints, ending in September 2021.
Alongside the way in which, she traversed the Tien Shan in Kyrgyzstan, the Atlas mountains in Morocco, the Bolivian Andes, the Southern Alps in New Zealand, the Canadian Rockies, and the Transylvanian Alps in Romania.
In complete, she ran greater than 2,860 miles by means of among the highest mountains and most distant components of the world. Whereas she’d accomplished ultra-races previously, she’d by no means taken on something like this.
“Nobody had ever executed this earlier than and I wished to be the primary,” says Jenny, who self-funded her journey by means of freelance writing.
Her first problem, in 2016, was a 25-day 600-mile run by means of the Tien Shan vary from Karakol to Osh.
REMOTE: Tenting in Bolivia
Alongside the way in which she climbed to an altitude of 24,280ft – solely 2,000ft decrease than the altitude the place climbers want oxygen cylinders – sleeping in a tent and carrying a light-weight backpack with solely meals and a tenting range.
Regardless of months of planning and coaching, she discovered the terrain extremely robust.
“I acquired as bodily match as attainable, but it surely was arduous to know what to anticipate,” she says.
On her route by means of Kyrgyzstan, Jenny ran alongside slim mountain passes, overlaying the space of a marathon every day.
She admits there have been occasions she puzzled if she’d make it by means of alive.
“It turned treacherous,” she says. “There’d been landslides, so the bottom was unstable and harmful.
“I could not return the way in which I got here, as I knew I might be killed in a landslide, however in entrance of me was a steep gorge with a river working by means of it.
“It was torrential white water, so I made a decision to climb the mountain, which was very steep.”
Dragging herself up the rock face, I considered most however I extra and clinging to small ledges together with her fingers, she climbed for what felt like hours.
She knew if she let go she would fall to her demise.
“Adrenaline kicked in and I stored climbing – I do not understand how lengthy for. My arms had been shaking,” she says.
When she reached the highest, she broke down in tears.
“I knew I might have died,” she says.
At that second, she vowed to give up. However that night, a nomadic household noticed her and welcomed her into their yurt.
“They gave me dinner and we slept on mats by the dying hearth. It was one of many cosiest nights I’ve ever had.” Within the morning, Jenny woke with a brand new perspective.
“I might been specializing in being the primary individual to run this route, however I made a decision to simply benefit from the journey and get to the top safely, irrespective of how lengthy it took,” she says.
So she pressed on, working by means of the mountains and weathering each day thunderstorms, her ft blistered and swollen.
“I noticed unimaginable sunsets and big skies stuffed with stars. These are among the greatest mountains on the planet – it was humbling to be alone subsequent to them,” she explains.
After 21 days, she reached the city of Osh, battered and bruised however in a single piece. “I could not wipe the smile from my face for days.”
The next 12 months, she ran throughout the Atlas mountains in Morocco, earlier than tackling the Andes, Southern Alps, Rockies and the Alps.
In Morocco, dehydration threatened her journey.
“I used to be surviving by consuming water from streams and comes, however in Morocco there was so little water I awakened every morning with what felt like an enormous hangover,” she says.
In Bolivia she battled pouring rain and “roads like mud baths”.
She actually confronted scary moments. And alongside the way in which, many individuals instructed her she would not succeed.
She additionally suffered numerous accidents, from blisters, lower knees and bug bites to having fluid in her lungs from altitude illness.
“It felt like I used to be drowning – it was terrifying. I used to be alleged to relaxation for 5 days however I knew if I did that I might miss my flight house, so I waited three days then set off,” she says.
“I considered quitting most days, however as time went on I acquired extra resilient.
“I by no means regretted taking it on alone. Plenty of folks stated I would not be capable of do it however I attempted to not hearken to them.”
In September 2021, she completed the ultimate stretch of her problem in Baile Herculane, Romania.
“I stored telling myself to be courageous, however I used to be in agony by the top,” she says.
Trying again, Jenny is proud to blaze a path for different adventurers – particularly ladies.
“It fully remodeled the way in which I feel. After Tien Shan, a small seed of confidence started to develop inside me,” she says.
“Ladies aren’t all the time raised to be courageous, but it surely’s turn out to be my new favorite phrase.”
And she will’t watch for her subsequent journey.
“I discovered I am more durable than I feel.”
- Solo: What Working Throughout Mountains Taught Me About Life by Jenny Robust (£16.99, Aster)