About us

The Irbis and the Yak

We are Malene Hein and Marco Ponti. We met eachother in the mountains in Kazakhstan in 2009 and lived together in Almaty until September 2011. Then the company of Malene moved their offices from Almaty to Aktau, 2000 km to the west. Malene moved back to Copenhagen while Marco stayed in Kazakhstan and so it was clear that something had to happen to change this situation. In December 2011 we made the first plans for our trip around the world.

In Almaty we lived at the feet of the steep and wild Tien Shan mountains. This is Almaty seen from an airplane:

This is the view from our balcony in Almaty:

The Yak (Marco) got his name because he always had to make the path through the deep snow and had to carry the heaviest load, here climbing up to the “3 brothers” in winter:

But he is also called the yak because of a certain resemblance with the local yaks…..(here one of his brothers from Almaty):

We share a passion for the mountains and in Almaty we found the perfect playground for living our passion. Every weekend, summer and winter, we would go to the mountains.

We decided that also our trip around the world should have a mountain theme and so we will try to climb as many nice mountains as possible along the way.

23 responses to “About us

  • Charlotte

    All the best of luck with your adventures!!
    Please keep me updated 🙂

  • IxT

    Romantic … We should see eachother when in calgary/banff!!

  • Fabio

    Well, enjoy or diertes from a Bergamasc fan living in the US.
    I will follow you guys from your nice website so I can escape mentally from my office desk. Ciao Fabio

  • ValeMilly

    I just read the article on “L’eco di Bergamo” and I recognised both of you…I served you some food some days ago..! 😉
    I remind I thought you look like a strange beautiful couple, the kind of people that really look like saying “I really FOUND him/her”.
    Reading about your choice of life confirms me that you’re really brave, just for what you will leave, without fear.
    You inspire. 🙂
    I will follow you! Good luck

    • whereistheyak

      Hi Vale!
      Fantastic to meet you again here on our blog 🙂
      We are very happy to know that we are being followed by you. All our best wishes for you and please let us know what comes out of the inspiration 😉
      Malene & Marco

  • Katrine

    Hi Malene. We have great mountains in Rio de Janeiro – let us know if you pass us on your adventures through the mountains of the world 🙂

  • Susanne poulsen

    Dear Malene, I was away when you had your farewell in the office, so unfortunately I did not get to meet Frida and say a proper godbye. You two are my heros, for quitting your job and following your passion. I actually get goosebumps when I think about how cool it is. Good luck on your adventure! :0) your ex-colleague susanne

  • Shantanu Sen (Hank)

    Hi Malene!
    Great pictures and interesting trips! I envy you!
    Take care,

  • Støy

    Bon voyage, frk. klokkespiller. Husk den plisserede nederdel fra Vejle pigegarde!

  • Camilo

    Nice to meet you Marco!!!
    Congratulation for the Trip!!!
    Camilo Rebouças – Brasil (Cordon del Plata)

  • Michael

    Hi guys, we are glad to see and read your blog. I already sent our common pictures in Torres del Paine (Camp. Brittanico) to Malenes emaiaddress. It was very memorable moment to get know with you guys. Lets keep in touch. Natalie and Michael Lobzhanidze (Rotterdam)

    • whereistheyak

      Hi guys!!! First of all thanks for the pictures (amazing)! And also for us it was a great experience to meet you in such a nice scenery!!!! we´ll answer you with more details to the email you sent to Malene´s address!!! A hug and continue following us!
      Marco and Malene

  • Hanni

    Kære Malene
    1000 tak for billedet af Mariko og famile, jeg blev rigtig glad for det en sød familie, syntes ikke kunne genkende manden. den 23.5. fik jeg dit kort til min fødselsdag, 1000 tak hvor var det bare dejligt at få en hilsen fra jer.
    Jeg tror og ved at I har oplevet meget, er spændt på den dag i kommer hjem og vi skal høre og se jeres oplevelser i de forskellige dele af verden.
    Stor knus og mange kærlige tanker til jer begge ønskes i af Hanni

  • Al Grimwood

    Hola amigos!!!

    A superb adventure and a wonderful blog! … all those places – what a wonderful world that you have seen and experienced together … you are an exceptional couple in a lot of ways
    I haven’t been in touch for a while but think about the two of you a lot!
    I need to get back to my Italian language learning, preferably in Italy in the fall … there are two friends who live there that I am really looking forward to seeing :-)) soon
    … two hugs for each of you … and a third for Malene!!
    keep smilin’!!


    • whereistheyak

      Hi Al! Always a pleasure to receive your news! And you are as always a gentleman able to warm up our hearts…especially the Malene’s one ;-D
      In Italy you will be our guest without any excuse! We will make your stay unforgettable, with italian language, food and sightseeing!!! We are waiting for you!!!!
      A big hug,
      Malene and Marco

  • roland

    Hope you guys are doing well.
    Off to climb Denali next month.

    • whereistheyak

      Hi Roland!!!!
      What a pleasure to receive your message!!!!
      Yes, we are doing well, leaving and working in Copenhagen and climbing a lot of mountains in Europe!!!
      Wow!!!! We are very happy you are going to climb Denali! It will be a very good experience and we are sure you will succeed!! We are with you!!!! FORZA ROLAND!!!!!
      Hope to hear from you very soon with good news!!!
      A big hug,
      Marco and Malene

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