Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

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secretcompass

 
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Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by secretcompass » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:16 pm

Does anyone in this forum have any opinions on climbing in regions that have only recently opened up or would like to climb somewhere that is currently off limits?

Last July we ran an expedition to the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan and have only recently returned from a successful expedition to the Zagros Mountains in Northern Iraq.

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CClaude

 
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Re: Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by CClaude » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:08 pm

Myself, I climbed in Peru at the downfall, and just after the fall of the Sendanero Luminiso (Shining Path) in Peru years ago. I go knowing the full risks I am taking. After the fall of the Shining Path, I found the country to still be depressed but a fascinating place. Would I run a commercial trip to an area that was a conflict zone, #&!! no. Some of the clients may fully comprehend the risk they are assuming. Some would be like, "hey, its gotta be safe, they are running a tour there."

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secretcompass

 
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Re: Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by secretcompass » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:39 pm

Hi CClaude, thanks for the response. The Wakhan Corridor in North East Afghanistan is a world away from the troubles in the rest of the country. Its mountains have created natural barriers preventing trouble reaching there and it is a region now opening up to tourism. We had such a great time last time that we are going back in June.

We also felt very safe in South Sudan and Iraqi Kurdistan and the kindness and hospitality of the people in each country has resulted in us planning to take our clients back there next year. Within the borders of each of the above can be found relative safety for tourists. Definately worth checking out!

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blazin

 
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Re: Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by blazin » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:53 pm

There's the Ruwenzori in Uganda, although Kony and the LRA are no longer the threat they used to be. The Balkans aren't quite a danger zone anymore. [Sigh] I guess the world is not quite the exciting place it was even just a decade ago. At least the Alborz Mountains in Iran should meet your criteria shortly.

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secretcompass

 
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Re: Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by secretcompass » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:41 pm

blazin thanks for your reponse. We enjoyed the Zagros Mountains in Iraq so much we are going back next year. You can see Iran from there. Will look into the Alborz Mountains. We are also about to do a recce to DRC so that should be an interesting trip as well!

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CClaude

 
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Re: Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by CClaude » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:51 pm

I have to say, that in most of the places, I've felt safe, especially with the hospitality of the people from the regions. I have to say that their were areas in the 1990's in NYC where I'd be more afraid, then in some of the world hotspots where you see kids patrolling the streets with AK-47's.I love the areas, and some just have some "issues", but in some cases I'd go there on my own. The Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan would be one of them that would be amazing to go see as an individual.

But if I was running a commercial tour I still wouldn't bring clients to the areas.

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Cy Kaicener

 
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Re: Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by Cy Kaicener » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:20 pm


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Enkidu

 
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Re: Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by Enkidu » Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:19 am

Having travelled and worked in Sudan, Nigeria, the Danakil and some of the Stan's the single most important thing that I have learned is to have knowledgeable trustworthy local partners. Knowledgeable locals that you can trust are worth their weight in gold and do more for you than money or diplomats. The key though is to actually ask for, understand and follow their advice.
Bring a compass. It's awkward when you have to eat your friends

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lcarreau, secretcompass

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lcarreau

 
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Re: Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by lcarreau » Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:47 am

I had a similar experience when I visited the southernmost parts of the Philippine Islands.

I had some very knowledgeable companions who were natives of the area, and had a unique and honest understanding of dangers in the political world.

They could tell you which places to visit, and which places you could come face to face with TROUBLE.
"Turkey Vultures always vomit when they get nervous."

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secretcompass

 
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Re: Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by secretcompass » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:30 am

Although I was not climbing I spent about 9 months living in NE Mozambique running a beach lodge. Stunningly and very remote part of the world. Nice to live somewhere where electricity has not reached. The place looked like it must have hundreds of years ago. Anyway that part of Mozambique only came out of Civil War a few years after the ceasefire in 1993. Now it is completely safe for tourists and I really recommend it as a place to check out!

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POLUKO

 
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Re: Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by POLUKO » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:23 pm

How did you get to places like Kurdistan or Afghanistan? I can see how some parts of Iraq or Afghanistan could be safe but I am curious how you got to them. Was there ground travel involved or small aircraft?

You can't just easily book a trip to Iraq I imagine?

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secretcompass

 
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Re: Climbing in Post-Conflict Countries

by secretcompass » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:05 pm

With Iraq we flew to Erbil via Frankfurt. We climbed in the Zagros Mountains in Kurdish Northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan). The Kurdish part of Iraq is like a country within a country. Its very safe and the people were wonderful. Re Afghanistan we went to the Wakhan Corridor which is cut off from the rest of the troubles by natural (and stunning boundaries). We crossed the border from Tajikistan. Again we were perfectly safe while there. Going back to both this year and next!! All in country travel was arranged in country. When we needed to get to our start points we hired 4x4's locally but once we started it was all trekking from there!!


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