Serving in the SAS, climbing Mt Everest, creating the world’s most significant cycling climb collection, arriving in the top ten during two ITU Duathlon Championships, successfully representing a US Pro Race team, and running an accomplished startup. If it seems impossible for one person to have achieved all of those things, think again.
These are the major achievements of the British adventurer Daniel Hughes, who in 2013 gained international fame by becoming the first person to make a live video broadcast from the summit of Mt Everest. In an effort to raise £1m for impoverished children in South America on Red Nose Day, he climbed the highest mountain on Earth and successfully completed a live interview with BBC.
Interestingly, not everyone took kindly to this technological milestone and personal achievement: Nepal’s tourism ministry deemed it illegal to deliver a live broadcast from Mt Everest without first securing permission from the authorities. Still, the vast majority of the public remain impressed with Daniel’s feat, and the HTC One smartphone he used for the broadcast is actually on display at the London Science Museum in the Information Age Gallery.
This year, Daniel Hughes brought the world another visual delight – arguably on par with live feed from the Everest summit. Inspired by the Valle Nevado cycling trail in Chile – which measures 29 km (18 mi) in length and ascends 1802 m – Hughes decided to dedicate his time to creating a collection of the world’s greatest cycling climbs. In his own words, he embarked upon the project “to be their spokesperson, to capture them, and to share them.”
In collaboration with several high-profile corporate partners, Hughes has cycled and documented more than two dozen epic climbs – resulting in an online collection spanning four continents, appropriately named Epic Cols. By meticulously sharing the GPS coordinates, maps, and factual information, Hughes has succeeded in bringing attention to some of the most scenic – yet hitherto underappreciated – rides on the planet. The stunning visuals published alongside Hughes’ poignant accounts of completing the trails render the collection of great interest to non-cyclists, purely because of the breath-taking beauty of the sights along the way.
Despite being so accomplished in such a variety of pursuits, Daniel remains incredibly humble and down-to-earth. When asked to give advice to cycling beginners, he says, “It’s easy to see someone whizzing past you and get frustrated. But it’s more fun to cycle with friends to the cake shop and get there in one piece. Speed isn’t everything, enjoying your time on the bike is.”
He offers his services as a speaker through the UK’s Leading Authorities platform, where his areas of expertise are leadership skills and decision making in high pressure situations. He also devotes his time to delivering educational programmes as a Global Educator for Microsoft.
Visit the Epic Cols website to experience the breath-taking vistas offered by climbs around the world, shot by Daniel from a creative and unique perspective using drones and hand-held cameras. His Instagram offers even more visual inspiration, and you can find out more about Daniel Hughes on his site and by following him on Twitter.