I reached out to Red Bull Media with a request to screen this year’s feature film Dawn Wall at the location for a new climbing and mountaineering program in a successful community center in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. After several back and forth emails about the Mountaineering Program I describe below, Red Bull was stoked to make a screening possible! And, the screening is happening TODAY!
Mountaineering Program in Iraq
In April of this year I connected with an incredible individual in Iraq who discovered mountaineering in spite of the prohibitive obstacles that continue to persist there. He revealed that there is literally no resources for technical climbing equipment in the country and anything that can be found is not even second-hand, but third, fourth, or worse. There are no stores that offer any products and no way to order anything into the country except through friends or family that is abroad. In addition, due to historic unrest in the region, the mountains have been off limits for numerous reasons through the last several centuries, becoming accessible only in recent years. As a result, the region of northern Iraq still has numerous unclimbed peaks for the taking.
However, there is a group of Iraqi climbers who have overcome all odds and began to conquer these forbidden mountains. This group hails from Sulaymaniyah, a large city in the region of Kurdistan of northern Iraq. It is in a successful community center there that they are beginning to educate all young Iraqi children and adults about responsibly exploring these mountains that surround them
What does a mountaineering program mean?
A mountaineering and climbing program will create never before seen opportunities using local resources and build a community that can connect to the larger global community of mountaineering. Teaching the first generation of Iraqi children how to responsibly and safely travel through their natural surroundings will result in new businesses and job opportunities, the possibility of travel outside of the country as rising athletes, and most importantly equip the local population to understand and care of their beautiful mountains.
This is truly a complex destination and there are still a lot of challenges ahead, but I am looking forward to learning more about this program and exploring how to help it grow.
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