In Summer of 2011, alpinist Kyle Dempster set out across Kyrgyzstan’s back roads on his bike. His goal – ride across the country via old Soviet roads while climbing as many of the region’s impressive peaks as possible. He was alone. He carried only a minimalist’s ration of climbing gear. Ten Kyrgyz words rounded out his vocabulary. He’d purchased his bike just weeks before and had never bike toured.
Upon arrival, Kyle found himself pulled into the Kyrgyz culture – heavy drinking, friendly curiosity and families carving existences out of yurts in the foothill. From his maps, he picked a circuitous path of back roads between the regions incredible mountains. When he arrived, he found that the roads had been abandoned. Crumbling roads led deeper into the heart the Kyrgyz wilderness before disappearing all together. After crossing a few rivers and nearly being swept away in the process, Dempster realized that his path back was blocked. He had to keep, pedaling, pushing and carrying his bike. It meant crossing rivers raging with summer snow melt and navigating game trails.
As his options dwindled, Dempster became more desperate. The camera becomes an outlet. Overwhelmed by his predicament home, he narrates a letter home telling his family he loves them. He executes one final river crossing before reconnecting with civilization and its roads.
In 2013, Kyle’s self-shot footage of his journey in Kyrgyzstan made it to the desk of filmmakers Fitz Cahall and Austin Siadak, who turned it into the 25-minute “The Road From Karakol,” which debuted at the 5Point Film Festival and took home the Best In Fest award.
Part meditation on true spirit of adventure and part epic travelogue, The “Road from Karakol” is the story of a unique spirit who pedaled to the road’s end and decided to keep going.
See the trailer below and visit the film’s website to see if a screening is coming to a town near you.Tweet Print