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Higher Education in Siberia

Posted on: August 12th, 2009 by Erik Lambert

A few weeks ago, Chris Weidner posted this entry, his first reaction to the Ergaki International Climbing Festival in Siberia.  He and Alex Honnold, sponsored by the AAC,  represented the U.S. at the event.

Last week, Chris recapped their experience in an article posted by the Boulder Daily Camera.  Partial text is below, and please use the link to view the rest of the article.

Chris Weidner in Siberia, courtesy of Facebook

Chris Weidner in Siberia, photo courtesy of Alex Honnold

“My father often told me that travel is the best education. And for me, climbing is the best excuse to travel.

I’ve always been particularly interested in the way different cultures approach, practice and enjoy our sport. It was with that mindset that I participated in the third annual Ergaki International Climbing Festival in Siberia during the month of July.

Alex Honnold and I, generously sponsored by the American Alpine Club and the Russian Mountaineering Federation, were the token Americans among six other nationalities represented. All 11 of us non-Russian climbers anticipated a fun, laid-back climbing festival.

Instead, we were told to strap hefty packs on our backs and hike several hours in the rain behind our translator Nikolai (our only English-Russian liaison) through mud and vicious mosquitoes to a boggy base camp in the mountains, a two-hour walk from the nearest climbing. We spent 10 days at this sodden camp which, on the rare occasion when the sun pierced the clouds, was picturesque yet far from pristine…”  Please click here to view the full article text at

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