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Iran Exchange

Posted on: May 31st, 2011 by Luke Bauer

[Update. June 10: Southern Appalachian Section Chair David Thoenen just called the AAC offices on a borrowed cell phone to give us an update from Iran. After roughly thirty hours of travel, and a much-needed night of rest, the Alpine Club of Iran took the AAC group bouldering in the foothills. Thoenen reports that they were incredibly friendly and hospitable—and the bouldering was fantastic.

The next day, the team split in two. The team led by Jim Donini is off in the Alam Kuh, northwest of Tehran, and has been out of contact. The team led by Thoenen set off to climb Mt. Damavad, Iran's highest peak (18,442'). Two of the team, Tim Terpsa and Marilyn Geninatti, joined six members of the Alpine Club of Iran to successfully summit yesterday.

The team in now in Polour on the south side of the peak and will be going rock climbing with ACI members tomorrow. Thoenen indicated that everyone was well and having a fantastic time!

We'll continue to update this post as we receive more information from Iran. We're hoping for some great photos.]

On June 5, a group of American Alpine Club climbers will leave for the Alborz Mountains in Iran—continuing a Climber Exchange Program with the Alpine Club of Iran (ACI) that was begun last year. The AAC group will spend two weeks with the ACI to explore new routes and repeat some of the area’s classics.

The trip will demonstrate a firm commitment to the international community of climbers, enrich the climbing opportunities for both the US and Iran, and establish person-to-person ambassadors between the US and Iran.

Upon arrival in Iran, the AAC group will be split into two climbing teams. One team, led by Western Slope Section Chair and Past President of the Club Jim Donini, will climb in the Alam Kuh, northwest of Tehran and in the heart of the Alborz Mountains. This area consists of huge alpine rock walls of very good quality and offers opportunities for first ascents. Because Alam Kuh is in a remote area, this team will devote substantial time to approach, logistics and route reconnaissance.

The second team, led by Southern Appalachian Section Chair David Thoenen, will climb Mt. Damavad—the highest peak in Iran. It is located east of Tehran and will require five days on the mountain.  After summiting, the team will head to a rock climbing area called Sangar Sol for several days of cragging with the ACI.

After their respective trips, the two AAC teams will reconvene in Esfahan for a couple of days of cultural tourism. The will event officially end on June 17, although some team members will stay for a longer visit.

In September of 2010, Jim Donini, David Thoenen, and Bo White hosted the first Climber Exchange Program at the Grand Teton Climbers Ranch in Jackson, WY. The Iranian Club sent a delegation of nine climbers. The event was a major success, and many of these delegates will be joining the AAC team in Iran.

We’ll be posting words and pictures from the team throughout their trip, so check back soon.

 

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