Iranian Exchange Delegation Announcement
The American Alpine Club is pleased to announce the AAC members selected as delegates to visit and climb in Iran in the spring of 2011 as part of the AAC’s exchange with the Alpine Club of Iran. Over 125 AAC candidates applied, and selecting just ten delegates proved a serious challenge for the selection committee, comprised of Delegation Leader Jim Donini, AAC Community Committee Chair Dave Riggs, and AAC Executive Director Phil Powers. The Committee also selected 10 alternate delegates given uncertainties with the visa process and other contingencies. The Committee thanks all who applied and wishes it could have selected more delegates.
Delegates were selected first and foremost based on their ability to serve as cultural ambassadors for the AAC and the American climbing community. The exchange is a cultural exchange among climbers, not a climbing meet at which top level climbers pursue advancements in technical achievement. Climbers – no matter where they live or their political views – share common values. Our goals are simple. We will climb together. Our shared love of climbing crosses geographic and political boundaries.
Beyond cultural ambassadorship, the Committee strove to select a delegation diverse in terms of climbing ability, gender, age, life experiences, and geography. In addition, to honor and respect our Iranian hosts, especially in this first foray at building a relationship that will hopefully lead to recurring exchanges, the Committee wanted the delegation to be led by and include some AAC officials known and respected by the international climbing community. We should all be heartened that the diverse and talented membership of our club is so qualified to serve as ambassadors. Here is the delegation:
Jim Donini, Ouray, Colorado – Jim will lead the delegation. He is immediate past President of the AAC and well known internationally as an alpinist and elder statesman of climbing.
David Thoenen, Raleigh, North Carolina – David has been the driving force in organizing the Iranian exchange and will serve as Deputy Leader of the delegation. He is an experienced climber and serves as Chair for the AAC’s Southern Appalachian Section.
Brandon Bargo, Austin, Texas – Brandon is a well-traveled climber and adventurer cyclist who leads corporate team building programs and a non-profit focused on fighting malaria in Africa.
Marilyn “MG” Geninatti, Paradise Valley, Arizona – MG is an emergency room doctor and an experienced climber and world traveler.
Nick Martino, Boulder, Colorado – Nick is an elite rock climber with notable first ascents, first free ascents and hard repeats around the world. He is currently a college student studying Islamic culture and Middle Eastern international affairs.
Jeff McCarthy, Salt Lake City, Utah – Jeff is a professor of English and Environmental Studies at Westminster College. He has 20 years of experience in all kinds of climbing.
Ann Piersall, Kalispell, Montana – Ann is a Fulbright Student Scholar currently studying the physical and social components of glacial retreat in the mountain ranges of Kyrgyzstan.
Lydia Pyne, Los Alamos, New Mexico – Lydia is an anthropologist, writer and adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University. She is involved in the development of “vertical archaeology,” a methodology combining technical rock climbing with archaeological surveying.
Jack Tackle, Victor, Idaho – Jack is the current AAC Treasurer and a well respected alpinist especially known for his first ascents in Alaska and the Yukon and for mentoring young alpinists.
Bo White, Salt Lake City, Utah – Bo is a well rounded climber who speaks, reads and writes Farsi. He will be studying forest resource management in Tajikistan beginning this fall.
There remains an additional opportunity for AAC members to participate in the exchange. We are still looking for potential host climbers to serve when our Iranian guests visit the AAC’s Grand Teton Climbers Ranch this September 1-12. If you climb well, have a significant experience in the Tetons, and can schedule the time to be there, please contact Jim Donini at [email protected].
Comments are closed.