Video: Matt Hunter in Afghanistan - Dream Capture Ep. II

Aug 6, 2013
by Karl Burkat  
 
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Action Cam by Sony Presents Dream Capture Episode II - "Forgotten Dirt", featuring Matt Hunter.


bigquotesThis was an epic journey through one of the most remote and difficult places to travel in the world, biking through this region was something special, it was tough, but I think we are all pretty proud of what we achieved. - Tom Bodkin, Guide, Secret Compass

Dream Capture Episode II Forgotten Dirt photo Darcy Wittenburg

bigquotesThere are very few places left in the world that have not been explored by bike, apart from the polar ice caps and major deserts. So the opportunity to explore Afghanistan's isolated Wakhan Corridor - a place without roads, electricity and running water - is extremely rare. Our expedition was tough, with gruelling glacier crossings and the rigours of high altitude, and this made our accomplishment all the more rewarding! I think each of us feels lucky to have been a part of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. - Brice Minnigh, Writer/Russian Translator, Bike Magazine

Dream Capture Episode II Forgotten Dirt photo Darcy Wittenburg

bigquotesHard, tough and tiring: that was the Wakhan. There is nothing easy here. But while our 'expedition' turned out to be the hardest I've ever done with a bike in 30 years of remote mountain bike masochism, the lows of the immense physical and mental challenges were pitched against the unmeasurable highs of riding a bike here. Incredible towering mountains, raging rivers, miles of technical singletrack and some of the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever crossed paths with made this a journey rather than just a trip. It wasn't an easy trip, and not one I am in a hurry to repeat, but the experience is priceless. Riding a bike in a place like this is a double edged sword. The rewards are there, but to reap them is a hard fought battle. - Dan Milner, Photographer

Dream Capture Episode II Forgotten Dirt photo Darcy Wittenburg

bigquotesWhen I was a kid I always liked the idea of getting into a time machine, probably because I was pretty into dinosaurs at the time... What's cool about our recent trip to Afghanistan is that it's the closest you can get to time travel without bending the space/time continuum! Aside from a few small items from the modern world, life in the remote corners of the Wakhan Corridor are just as they were thousands of years ago. Interacting with nomads and riding sections of the original "silk road" that are still in single track form today definitely captures the imagination. Who knew a time machine would have full suspension and 26" wheels. - Darcy Wittenburg, Cinematographer, Anthill Films

Dream Capture Episode II Forgotten Dirt photo Darcy Wittenburg

bigquotesThe travel to Afghanistan has given me a once in a lifetime experience. The truly amazing landscapes were like nothing that I'd seen before... To experience this absolutely extreme and rugged terrain first hand, and connect with some of the most remote people in the world is everything I could dream of in an expedition. The value of this experience was all the perspective you gain and bring home. You appreciate everything a little more. - Colin Jones, Cinematographer, Anthill Films

Dream Capture Episode II Forgotten Dirt photo Darcy Wittenburg


bigquotesIt was an incomparable experience to ride the Wakhan. At first glance it may seem trivial to travel across the world, gambling with health and safety, just to go on a bike ride. But the experience of this trip outweighed those factors tenfold. We took a big bite on this adventure; it was more than we could chew alone. As riders, we couldn't have done it without the help of the Afghans who were with us. In this way, we were a team. We came to ride, but we also witnessed how people can live without anything that we consider normal. - Matt Hunter, Rider

Dream Capture Episode II Forgotten Dirt photo Darcy Wittenburg

Check out Dan Milner's photos and Brice Minnigh's story on bikemag.com now, and watch for the full feature story in the November issue of Bike magazine.

Get inspired for your own adventure of a life time... visit secretcompass.com

Subscribe to Sony's Action Cam YouTube channel to see more Dream Capture short films.

#dreamcapture

127 Comments

  • + 60
 Matt Hunter is just unbelievable!!!
  • + 44
 Well I think the whole crew is (including those horses)...Amazing
  • - 14
 yer i think every one there deserves an unbelevible status... except the camera the quality wasnt as good as other cameras
  • + 4
 My neighbor is a friend of Matt (she puts together races and other events involving professional athletes) and he was there, and I got to meet him, and he is just an incredible guy!
  • + 18
 Matt Hunter is the new Chuck Norris
  • + 6
 America didn't need the army to find Osama bin laden... They just needed Matt Hunter!!
  • - 17
 And he would run him over with his bike, then use his chain ring, would slowly poke his eyes out, then he would release the hydraulic fluid in his fork (which is most likely poisonous) and if that didn't kill him, then he would do tail-whips to his head until it fell off, right?
  • + 19
 Except he is Canadian so if he did find Osama it would probably go more like this - Matt: "Excuse me Mr. Bin Laden, could you please come with us?" Osama: "No." Matt: "Well have a nice day then." ...And Zero Dark Thirty would be 3 hours and 30 mins shorter which would be great for everyone.
  • - 5
 "Matt Hunter is the new Chuck Norris" - Washed up never-was who thinks he's greater than he really is? Sounds about right.

"And he would run him over with his bike, then use his chain ring, would slowly poke his eyes out, then he would release the hydraulic fluid in his fork (which is most likely poisonous) and if that didn't kill him, then he would do tail-whips to his head until it fell off, right?" - Silly Americ*nt, Hunter can't tailwhip! Furthermore, we don't give a shit about you or your unscrupulous (yet disguised as honorable & justified) invasions, world domination campaigns, fruitless wars & meddling in other's affairs, we only go along with it because we are in an unfortunate position being your neighbors & outnumbered 10:1.
  • - 1
 America! (jealous canadians...)
  • + 2
 im a contactor in Afghan, and in Kabul! all i do is day dream of kicking up some seroius dirt hiting the mountings here! if there was no wars and no taliban you could earn a mint!! mounting bike parks and Ski parks.... it would make most places in the world SMALL!
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  • + 49
 "It was kinda hard to get a visa...." Just wait until you go back to the good ol' US of A and they see your Afghanistan stamp Wink
  • + 20
 "Bend over sir"
  • + 8
 I work in Afghanistan and I frequently get...ahem, "pulled aside" by customs and immigration coming back to the US. Beautiful country, amazing trails. Wish I had my bike here.
  • + 2
 Yup, contractor working on a big banking program here. Otherwise I'm at home in Idaho shredding when I'm not working. Headed to Morzine next week for a break, can't wait!
  • + 5
 Nicee. I'm in the marines. War's over, I don't think I'll be going over there :p
  • + 2
 im a contactor in Afghan, and in Kabul! all i do is day dream of kicking up some seroius dirt hiting the mountings here! if there was no wars and no taliban you could earn a mint!! mounting bike parks and Ski parks.... it would make most places in the world SMALL!
[Reply]
  • + 17
 Now that looks like a bike adventure.
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  • + 14
 If i could make one wish, I'd wish I was Matt Hunter. Even if it was just for one day...
  • + 68
 As long as it wasn't the 24 hour flight day...
  • - 7
 nice one vitale hahaha
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  • + 14
 they should do a mtb version of "endless summer" with Matt Hunter. it would probably win a film award.
  • + 2
 That would be sick! Love those films! Funny!
  • + 2
 i think so. it would be "where the trail ends" meets "nat'l geographic explorer".
  • + 1
 You got it, mate ! Matt could be the endless rider Wink
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  • + 6
 Why didint he come to Iran....................??? It was just a thousand km away.....
And we have so many riders so many trails with lift over here.....

But the issue is that nobody in our biking internet community has the potential to write down some thing like this........

And those who have the potential.............dont have the time...........................im willing to write dopwn an essay about ridding in iran but work ..work ...work and work dont let me ........
  • + 1
 where are the lifts in iran dude. ? send me a link thanks
  • + 1
 Iran isn't a great place for Americans you know... first, people of Iran need to 'fix' their country, then people can go visit it safely.. when it becomes a democracy of good people.
  • + 0
 Someone from Israel can't really tell anyone to "fix" their country w/o being a total hypocrite.
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  • + 8
 that is one of the coolest trips i have ever seen and hands down the coolest video on pinkbike EVER.. nice job fellas
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  • + 3
 what a beatuy of landscape!! it's a shame that such a wonderful country like afghanistan get's abused from political and religious fanatic warlords for their business. afghanistan could earn a lot of money wiht tourism instead of drug production and warfare. thank's to matt to show us a how amazing this country could be!
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  • + 5
 I'd love to know what's the plan if u crash real bad and break a leg... Matt Hunter (and the all crew on this one) is a badass.
  • + 4
 It was on our minds. A lot. 12 days through a very, very remote spot, with the nearest hope of evac being located in Kabul. Most of the trails were off camber and loose. But it didnt seem to stop Matt riding like he was possessed!
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  • + 2
 Flying, driving, and hiking for countless days to ride sub par trails. Sometimes its the story that makes the trail epic. I've been there. I've ridden some of the most average trails before but had the best time doing it because of the experiences I've been able to share. Such a sweet trip. I hope to have a few trips in my near future.

On another note, where is all the biking footage? I hope there is more to come out of this trip.
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  • + 7
 Proper travelling!
  • + 1
 Trip of a lifetime!
Lesson learned: Bring a Yak.
  • + 1
 Agreed, Yaks are rad, way too gnarly for horses
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  • + 1
 Up where they are (northeast) is one of the remotest places you could go in that country. It's a beautiful area as its on the footsteps of the Himalayas. Just because its a country with a load of conflict in it, doesn't mean he's in the thick of it. The border and country name means nothing there. If they were down on the outskirts of Kabul or further south west and into the lowlands then yes, I'd be throwing bucket loads of props to them and the crew.

Nice video with a quality edit.
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  • + 5
 unbelievable trip, really amazing ....
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  • + 1
 Observations: Props to them for wanting to take care of the animals, amazed at the chances they took riding that remotely, don't understand how they kept all those camera batteries charged, Hunter has the wanderlust, no whiners were filmed during this video.
  • + 1
 @ 4:47 or so, it looks like they're loading a solar charging panel on the back of the mule.
  • + 1
 Now that's some logistics. UPS got nuttin' on Hunter.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 just finished my morning coffee while watching this trailer, I am totally stoked for life! This film gives you so many ideas for any adventure, in your backyard or travelling. The world is a pretty cool place, thanks Matt and crew!
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  • + 1
 Imagine that......beautiful mountains and people. Makes me wonder why we have to be 'Merica World Police.....can't we just all shred bikes together?!!
Props to Matt and crew- way to break down the cultural barriers!!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 No one asked the horses if they wanted to go on this trip and carry not the food to remote villages but expensive bikes. I understand the drive for adventure but the paucity of resources they have to use for the Western fun/bike advertisement does not sit well with me
  • + 6
 The reality of doing a trip like this is that it brings an income to a dozen local people, giving them work for 12 days. It was never an intention to go there and flash out expensive bikes in people's faces, and that was never how it was received. The locals we met and engaged with don't share our 'western' obsession with objects and property ownership and such perceived wealth. Wealth to them is owning a donkey, horse or yak, and communally a herd of goats.
The pack animals are treated well. No local can afford to lose one. Our pack animals were actually used to haul local's resources too, into remote herding settlements. For info, when we finished the trip back at the village by the road, our empty (and paid for) horses were then used to take locals food and wood stoves back to the villages where they had started too, and our surplus food was divided up between them too.
More than a dozen local people who exist on subsistence herding got paid an officially agreed rate for their days they were with us. They use the money to buy bread flour and pulses. These people are the toughest you will ever meet. Their lives are hard and unprivileged. Yet they are also the most friendly and welcoming I have ever met, even with us being on 'expensive' bikes.
Just to ask: Do you have the same gut feeling when you ride your own expensive bike through your local inner city housing estate where there is 80% unemployment and families are on the poverty line?
  • + 4
 I agree with with what Dan has said here. As for the pack animals, they one of the most important sources of income for these people, they are not going to risk their livelihood.

I have done several trips to developing countries and live in them. The idea bringing in food instead is a nice idea in theory, but the reality it is of little value for several different reasons. Usually our tastes are different to what they eat, so knowing how to cook it into something palatable is unknown to them or it might use too much fuel. I seen many number of markets with food aid in them for sale, mainly because it does not work for the people who it was given to, so then it is sold off. Just handing over some food just feeds them for a short period of time, teaching them how to diversify their income can bring food to the table for years to come.

I think before jumping on some band wagon you need to go on a trip some place off the beaten path to understand what kind of impact it has. A trip like theirs money was probably filtered through about 4 or 5 set of hands, not only does is benefit the people seen on the path, but those dealing with all the logistics. There so many misconceptions about people in "developed" countries and visa versa that trip like this not about showing off your bling in front of those less fortunate. It becomes more of a cultural exchange, I love learning how they prepare their food, how they keep things working with nothing, how they survive up in the mountains. They get a chance to hear about another side that most people are not born into a lavish lifestyle of the rich and famous, that trips like this are not everyday occurrences or for that matter yearly, that most of us put in what are considered long hours at work that keep us inside. There is a lot to learn on both sides.
  • + 1
 This article has provoked some of the most interesting discussion I've seen on Pinkbike for months. It's nice to finally read some comments that aren't primarily just bickering over wheel sizes Smile More features like this would be nice in future!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Properly mental Mountain biking! How good a film is can be measured by how much it inspires you. This had inspiration by the truck load, where's my map??
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  • + 2
 And now with a nice quality camera ! Amazing video but it look like it was shot with a micro wave..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Thank you for showing the nicer side of Afghanistan, been there a few times and the scenery wasn't half as nice as that. Great job on the filming and very inspirational.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Those bikes are worth more than every native in that movie probably makes in a lifetime.
  • + 0
 Makes? They don't make anything. Money is worthless to them haha.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Aweome! I really liked how that video had realistic "other stuff vs. downhill fun ratio". 11min of traveling, pushing and snow - one minute of downhill fun.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I love his ending thoughts about experiencing the world instead of assuming we already know what's out there.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 That has to be one of the coolest vids I've ever seen. Great insight into the way things REALLY are in that country.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Damn Matt Hunter! What a Savy for going to the farthest most desolate place! This made my Tuesday...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Great adventure! Makes me long for my next one. I learned the hard way as well with the donkeys and horses, better to have a small army for carrying loads.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 yeah i loved they are crazy Smile ) and the sony cam is not bad!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Amazing trip right there!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 One of the most inspiring videos I've ever seen. Time to plan a big-mountain adventure for this weekend!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 did they really go all the way to afghanistan, so they could climb over 16000 foot passes, and bring eureka tents???
  • + 1
 We went to stroke yaks. The 16,000 ft passes and cold tent accommodation was just the small print.
  • + 1
 I can understand the tents as they are light and very small to carry, quite a good choice for a cyclist.

Why did you use clipless Dan? You had regular mountaineer shoes and then you needed a cycling shoe so you thought you can take whatever and that was quite a light alternative? Just curious.
  • + 2
 Anyway, congrats, balls out journey, totaly!
  • + 1
 Yeah the tents were supplied from SecretCompass. Very light, very portable. Originally we were going to be carrying all our gear for the last 4 days.. that changed... fortunately! The mesh inner tents were a little too "breathable" in the 3 days of snow though.
Clipless... have always ridden clipless since 1990.. so its what I do. The Mavic AlpineXL shoe is my "go-to" bike shoe for expeditions.. it is simply the best out there for hike-a-bike trips ..it breathes well, dries quickly (after river wadings) and has a great outsole. With heavy camera gear and extra layers on my back already, I won't carry an extra pair of shoes on my pack as well just for the hiking sections. The snow passes and boggy days were the toughest. Cold, wet feet. Maybe I need to get used to riding flats for days like this! CJ had hiking boots and I was jealous on days like this! My other pair of shoes were lightweight trail running shoe for wearing after riding. You calculate your gear needs for a trip like this as best you can from experience, but there is always a curve ball when you get there. Neoprene socks (ie, those for kayaking) would have been best for the icy river crossings.. small to pack, light, warm to wear and grippy.
  • + 1
 Thanks for reply. I like to look at pictures from such angle, how much of stuff you describe went into a shot of a guys doing an X-Up with some weird mountain in the back Big Grin Awesome! So when are you guys rolling from K2?

All the best!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 thank you Matt
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  • + 1
 That was pretty dam cool. would love to see this as a whole film! So interesting! Matts thee man!
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  • + 2
 Wish I could've had my bike when I was there.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Epic trip guys EPIC !
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "Epic journey", is an understatement!! Superb. Really enjoyed it. Thank you!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Jeez, I wonder how many cameras they went through making this film? Seemed like quite a few of them met their demise..
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  • + 2
 Thats real mountain biking right there. Keep making those vids matt.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Good job they missed out Helmand and Kajaki....
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  • + 0
 as a American soldier who has been to afganistan and served my country for 9 plus years some of the Canadian comments are absolutely ignorant and childish
  • + 3
 As a veteran, though not in Afghanistan, I would also add that I am very confident that the United States and Americans do not have a monopoly on either the truth or wisdom. I personally would use ignorant and childish to refer to the policies that took us into Afghanistan in the first place.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I could compare these guys riding in the remotest part of Afghanistan for the first time to me riding a new trail
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I wonder what the world would be like if we went around the world riding bikes rather than dropping bombs?
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  • + 1
 there couldn't have been a better band of riders or a better adventure. this is my favorite , thanks Guys
  • + 1
 Thats what we thought. :-)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 sony make a special edition from matt hunter adventure
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  • + 1
 nice work, that is some serious hunger for adventure!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Matt is a very a lucky guy! one of my favorite big mountain heroes!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 is this a trailer or will there be a full length film?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Envidia, envidia.... le tengo envidia
[Reply]
  • + 1
 what was the script on that intro. weird.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Epic stuff - great video. More biking footage would be good though.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Really enjoyed watching that Smile
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  • + 1
 Epic, such a great video.
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  • + 1
 He should really race the EWS!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Really epic. That's can be called Adventur
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  • + 1
 awesome adventure, they got balls to do that in that geo.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 One lucky LUCKY S.O.B...... awesome guys cant wait for the full thing!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Can I get a float X on my enduro too?
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  • + 1
 You tube sucks ! is this video up loaded anywhere else please. thanks.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Best vid ever put on PB, almost as good as Where The Trail Ends...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 You guys are living the dream of traveling to bike !
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  • + 1
 Props for going to 'stan and riding!
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  • + 1
 imo. that is enduro
  • + 1
 Yeap : World Enduro Serie "à la façon de" Matt Hunter !
  • + 1
 you mean all moutain right?
[Reply]
  • + 0
 insaine god dam a + to matt
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Is it just me, or does it seem like the sony action cam quality kind of sucks? Still an amazing video though.
  • - 3
 No kidding! Go through all that and film it on such a crappy camera?! Good job Sony, you blew it.
  • + 8
 Did you watch it on 1080P? I thought the color and clarity were pretty spot on.
  • - 1
 even on 1080p the quality wasn't there
  • - 1
 Seemed grainy to me and didn't do well with lighting. I'm no expert, just looked a little crappy to me.
  • - 2
 And yeah I watched it in 1080, my hero 3 silver looks much better in my opinion.
  • + 0
 Awesome video regardless of the poor Sony quality. Seeing the remoteness and the help they got from the locals was amazing. Btw, sent my Sony action cam back and picked up a Hero Black. Cost me more money but the quality is far better in all conditions.
  • + 2
 Brilliant Audio throughout i thought. In the end its about the story more than the technology you use to tell the story.
  • + 1
 poor littles childs.....
  • + 3
 You all smoking crack! That quality was excellent, and all in a much more useable shaped package! And yes I own a GoPro.. But I'd rather have had this had it been around a year ago..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Why are you still here?
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  • + 1
 That is just insane!
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  • + 1
 f*ck... Im jealeus! Smile
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  • + 1
 Really cool!
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  • + 1
 Love of the sport
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