Picture: Maghnus and David take a break in Varanasi after a ten day cycle through the Indian monsoon.
Aged 23, having just finished studying law at university and about to embark upon a career, Maghnus Collins broke his back in three places. 18 months later, out of a body-brace and at the end of a long recovery, Maghnus began planning his first expedition. In September of 2008 Maghnus met David Burns, also 23 and in the early stages of a career in marketing. David longed for one great adventure and from that first meeting Sand2Snow Adventures was born.
In the past five years the pair have embarked upon expeditions across the globe. They have cycled the entire length of the African continent from Cape Town to Cairo unsupported. Traversed the Nubian Desert in Sudan and the Sinai Desert in Egypt before cycling home across Europe in mid-winter. A total distance of 17,500 km.
In 2010 they were the youngest finishers in the Sahara Race, a 260 km race across the Sahara Desert over five days. Having never ran more than 10 km before and with only eight weeks training they finished 21st and 25th out of 160 competitors in the race.
In the autumn of 2011 David and Maghnus began planning for their most ambitious adventure to date. Less than six months later they left Istanbul on bikes beginning a 14,000 km man-powered crossing of Asia. Over the next ten months the guys cycled from Istanbul to Kathmandu through Turkey, Iran, India and Nepal. They swapped cycling cleats for running shoes once they had climbed into the Himalayas and began a 1000 km run to the Tibetan Plateau and the source of the longest river in Asia, the Yangtze. They completed the run managing 25 marathons in 26 days at altitudes of up to 5000 metres above sea level.
Finally they trekked to the source of the Yangtze to begin an attempt to descend more of the river by kayak than has ever been done before. Over the next four months they battled whitewater, border police and vast wilderness hoping that two novice kayakers could do what conventional wisdom said was all but impossible. In January of this year David and Maghnus arrived in Shanghai having kayaked over 4000 km, a new record.
Throughout the course of their adventures Sand2Snow Adventures have raised over 80,000 euro for charity. Their model of self-financing expeditions has garnered praise throughout the NGO community as every penny of their fundraising efforts goes to charity.