Tim Bogdanov: climber and adventurer with an Everest record on his mind

WE TALK to climber and adventurer Tim Bogdanov about his cycling and climbing adventures around the world.




Adventurer Tim Bogdanov pictured in Pamir, Tadjikistan.

TIM BOGDANOV has loved adventure since he was young. He spent his youth travelling and camping with his family but once he found cycling there was no stopping him. He started to explore his home country of Sweden on his bike and has gone on to cycle in over 50 countries. 


In 2004 Tim started climbing and today has climbed some of the highest mountains in the world. In 2013 he was voted Adventurer of the Year in Sweden and right now he’s just finished climbing two 7,000m peaks in Central Asia. 


In this exclusive interview find out about the huge Everest challenge he’s set himself for the near future as well as his other ambitions in the worlds of climbing and adventure.


Where do you think your passion for adventure stemmed from and who nurtured and encouraged it at the beginning?


My first real adventure, that I can remember was when we immigrated from the Soviet Union to Sweden. I was five years old and remembering the boat trip over the ocean across the Baltic sea. 


We did a lot of camping trips when I was younger with my parents and I always enjoyed those trips. Later on at the age of 16 I started with bicycle touring. Planning for the first trip really got me really excited and it was as a way to travel cheap for me and my friends at a young age.


We kept doing the bicycle tours almost every summer since the first trip and expanded the tours across Europe and later included peaks as Mount Blanc inspired by the Swedish adventurer Göran Kropp who cycled from Sweden to Nepal and climbed Everest without supplementary oxygen back in 1996. 


cycling Denmark

Tim pictured with a group cycling across Denmark.

What were some of your earliest ever adventures?


Cycling with my friends at an age of 15 along the Swedish west coast was a great adventure and that is still a route I recommend to people to cycle because cycling the Swedish countryside is a great nature experience also it’s possible to camp without any problems using the rights of allemansratten. It’s a law that allows you to camp for one night. Later trips we explored Scandinavia and Europe.


When did you start climbing and where in the world has the sport taken you?


My first unsupported climb was of Kebnekaise 2,097m, the Highest peak in Sweden. That was back in 2004 and that was my first insight to what is possible to do on your own in the mountains. 


During my bicycle tours across the planet I have always included peaks and taken time off the bike to go and climb a mountain. It’s been one more dimension and motivation to get out and explore the planet. 


So far I have climbed in the Himalayas, Andes, Alborz mountain’s (Iran), the Alps, the Scandinavian mountains, Central America and the Pamirs this summer.


My mountain collection is now at 27 summits above 5,000m and I’m also collecting the highest road passes on the planet with my bicycle. I have been above 5,000m six times also, mostly in the Indian Himalayas and once in Bolivia.


When did you start biking and what has that sport offered you in terms of adventure and travel?


I did my first bicycle tour at an age of 15 and since I have always comeback to the bicycle as a means for travel and exploration. When you can activate your body outdoors and explore new places everyday not knowing were you are going to camp and what the next day will bring, I think its quite an unbeatable combination that combines some of the best ways you can stimulate mind and body to live healthy, happy and having nature present most of the challenges but sometimes it can also be getting the visas into countries. 


When I through experience become aware of my capacity and aware of the risks the environment presents I can find projects that challenge me going into the unknown a bit more every time. The real challenge of doing bicycle or mountaineering adventures outside of civilisation is your ability to function beyond civilisation, there is very little room for mistakes. That’s why it’s important to take a lot of time developing the skills and having patience with the challenges high altitude conditions presents because there is no judge that can stop the game if something goes wrong as in other sports.


Peak Lenin

Tim reaches the summit of Peak Lenin in July this year.

Where in the world has your passion taken you and what have been some of the highlights?


In total I have travelled to 74 countries, about 50 plus with bicycle. I have climbed the ten highest summits in South America as the first person in Scandinavia and done the ten highest correct summits of Central America as the first person in the world. 


Climbing solo in the Andes is always a great adventure. The glaciers over there are tiny or non existing and with a lot of vulcanoes around the technical difficulty of the summits are quite low, but the remote areas and lack of civilisation creates a great playground for adventure seekers that are looking for a proper high altitude adventure. The highest volcano on the planet for example is Ojos del Salado (6,893m) and offers a great adventure to a very low cost price as there is no permit cost to climb. 


Central Asia were I am in right now is also a great playground for adventure lovers. The mountains here offer so much potential for any mountain sports and the tourism infrastructure is getting better every year.



Tim pictured in Tadjikistan in 2008.

Tell us about becoming Adventure of the Year in Sweden in 2013 and what that meant to you?


I received the award after completing my first Andes bicycle tour. I cycled between Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. I brought everything needed to climb up to 7,000m summits on the bicycle. So I cycled between some of the major summits of the Andes and climbed them along the way. In the end I collected 11 peaks including Aconcagua (6,962m) and a double accent of Ojos del Salado (6,893m) (Chilean and Argentinian route).


Receiving the award was a great motivational boost for upcoming projects. I was also nominated last year for completing the ten highest summits of America’s and my goal is to receive that award at least a couple of more times as my plan is to push Swedish outdoor adventure to new levels the coming years.


How are you most spending your time at the moment and what adventures do you have planned for the months and years ahead?


We just finished climbing two 7,000m peaks here in Central Asia. I’m sitting in Osh the second largest town of Kyrgyzstan and next up is one week visit to explore the mountains outside Karakol town. We heard a lot of interesting things about that area so we are looking forward to explore it by foot and establis base camps to use as bases for trail running around different mountain passes and smaller 4,000m peaks. Cant wait!


My long term goal is to break the speed world record on Everest normal route from the north side. So everything I do is slowly building up to that. I believe I could do Everest without supplementary oxygen and without support already next year. But the price levels of Everest with the permit cost of 11,000 USD so I’m not sure if I can do it next season. And I’m in no rush, patience is key in the high altitude sports and slowly building up the capacity and adopting the body for the challenges of the thin air is the best approach. I believe when I am ready the opportunity will present itself.



Follow Tim on Instagram at @timbogdanov to keep up with his adventures and climbs. 

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