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“I’d Better Finish Packing…”

Posted on: June 6th, 2011 by Luke Bauer

As mentioned last week on Inclined, Club members are off to Iran this week to climb with the Alpine Club of Iran. Team member Mary Ann Dornfeld shared her thoughts on the exchange with us just before leaving. We wish Mary and all the other team members the best of luck. We’ll be continually posting their updates from Iran so check back frequently—or “like” us on Facebook, since updates will be posted there as well. There’s a good article from Chris Weidner in the Boulder, CO Daily Camera as well.

I feel very fortunate and am grateful to have been chosen to be a part of this Climber’s Exchange.  I am really excited about the opportunity to travel to the Islamic Republic of Iran with this group of American climbers.

I was at the Climber’s Ranch last September when the Iranian climbers were here. I helped out in the kitchen ([The late] Chris Pruchnic was my kitchen mentor—he is missed) preparing meals (and then taking over once Chris left). Went on several day hikes with the Iranian climbers as well as the day tour of Yellowstone. Greg Crouch, Tom Bowker, and I—along with three Iranian climbers, Asghar Saddeian, Ali Setoudeh and Ahmed Barjasteh—attempted to climb the Grand by way of the Owen Spaulding Route. We were not able to summit that day but all of us felt that we gave it our best, had a good time and made it back to camp and the Ranch safely.

It was great to be able to spend time with the Iranian climbers; getting to know them and learn more about Iran. All were very gracious and enthusiastic about sharing pictures, stories and learning more about our conservation practices so they can do more to preserve alpine environments in Iran. I look forward to once again seeing these friends in their home country.

During my stay at the Ranch I got to meet many of the American climbers who will be traveling to Iran. And a few more of the folks since then. What a great group of people!

Currently, I am in the midst of packing for this great adventure! I will be going into the Alam Kuh region with American and Iranian climbers for the first part of the exchange period. We will then meet up with the Mt Damavand/Shahmirzad group in Isfahan. We will spend a few more days together, sharing stories and experiencing new places in Iran before we return to Tehran.

Several of us are staying a while longer in Iran to go on either a cultural tour or a climbing tour.

Personally, I’m going climbing. We will begin with an ascent of Mt. Damavand (I’ll take notes from the folks who climbed it earlier). Then it’s off to three other rock climbing areas: Sangsar Wall, Pole Khab Wall and Bande Yakhchal.

I am really hoping to be able to climb with some Iranian women!

Needless to say, I am psyched about this trip! I will be in the Islamic Republic of Iran for 28 days: experiencing the people and their culture, traveling to different parts of this vast and varied country; hiking and climbing with American and Iranian climbers; touring several cities, reuniting with friends and meeting new friends.

I better finish my packing………….


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