Monday, July 16, 2007


Pakistani Women's Climbing Camp Postponed
Alpine Club of Pakistan Officials Forced to Make Difficult Decision, Hours before American Alpine Club Representatives Depart for Islamabad, Pakistan

An eight-member team of American Alpine Club representatives were set to depart for Islamabad, Pakistan today for the much anticipated Pakistani Women's Climbing Camp. The unfortunate news that the camp must be postponed came just hours before the women's scheduled departure.
"When the siege of the [Red Mosque] started on July 4, many here were hopeful that the crises would be resolved through negotiations," says Nazir Sabir, president of the Alpine Club of Pakistan. "[Then], on July 10 reports of blocking of the Karakoram Highway were received in addition to many disturbances in other areas as a reaction to the military response [to the siege]. For the present, much to our dismay and regret, we have decided to cancel the event as we are not aware as to how long the ramifications will continue."
The Pakistani Women's Climbing Camp is a collaborative project of the Alpine Club of Pakistan and the American Alpine Club. The main goal of the camp was to introduce Pakistani women to climbing and mountaineering in a socially acceptable manner. The plans for the camp, which would have taken place in Pakistan's Northern Areas from now through mid-August, included a two-week introductory mountaineering course for one-hundred women followed by an attempt on 19,619 foot Kusheikh Peak by a select number of the participants. More details about the program and future plans can be found on the team's blog-
The project's postponement came at a time of increased tension throughout Pakistan as a result of quickly developing current events. Reports from the Ministry of Tourism include difficult and possibly unsafe travel for visitors and citizens alike. "Many of the participating girls are worried by the situation," says Sabir. "While expressing their keenness about participating in the training, they conveyed their concerns in participating at this time. Many of the participants withdrew from the training on insistence from their parents."
"We were deeply saddened by this news," says team member Janet Bergman. "It is heartbreaking that this combination of circumstances could prevent an otherwise straightforward climbing course from taking place, but it also shows the importance in pursuing these collaborations. Many of us are even more motivated to be involved now, so if we have to wait until more settled times, then we are willing to wait."
In the weeks leading up to the camp, many key areas of support were secured. More than $6,000 was contributed by dozens of individuals through the American Alpine Club, in addition to a special $2,500 American Alpine Club challenge grant. Team member Charlotte Fox provided outstanding monetary and time contributions, despite an injury that would inhibit her participation this year.
The team wishes to thank the following for gear donations: Black Diamond; Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School; Grivel USA; La Sportiva; Mountain Fund; Mountain Hardwear; Mountainsmith; Mountaintrips; Osprey; Patagonia; Sterling Rope Company; SUUNTO; and dozens of individuals who offered boots, crampons, ice axes, clothing and more for the participants.
"After long and detailed planning and hard inputs made, this cancellation is a painful decision that we are forced to take in view of the current law and order situation, where safety and security of all participants is our highest concern," says Sabir. "However, I am confident that we will be able to pursue the program in the future, when the situation permits and we are able to put our girls and their spirits together."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Encouraging Words

Dear Janet,
I am Shiva Nami, Iranian and at the moment I live in Auckland, New Zealand. I heard about Pakistani women camp through a friend of mine who is photographer.
It is really impressive to see all your effort for organising this camp for Pakistani women.
I come from very similar culture in Iran and I know how it can be hard for society to understand about women mountaineering. Although I believe your camp will be very successful.
I had same kind of experience when I was in Iran. I was a member of the first Iranian Rock Climbing National team in 1997 and it was really hard situation and very restricted situation for us to train .However, we made it and even few years' later two Iranian women managed to climb Mount Everest.

I am writing to you to see wish you all the best and also I would be very happy if I can help in this matter.
Kind regards,

Monday, July 9, 2007

On Freedom

A friend shrugged as we were talking about the PWCC. “You’re going to teach recreation, that’s kinda cool, but so what?” It got me thinking about where my own conviction to work so hard on this project was coming from?
Riding my bike out of town with a sleeveless top, knee length skirt and flip flops from a small town Independence Day parade with my mountain rescue team, it came to me. The answer is in fostering personal freedom and career opportunities for others.
What if you couldn’t ride a bicycle around town showing your arms, legs and hair? What if you were not allowed to play, as we do, in the mountains, as there was no one who would be socially acceptable to teach you? What if you were the daughter of a mountaineering family and your brothers were allowed to meet foreigners, to go on expeditions, expand their world? How important are these simple freedoms?
As guests of Pakistan, we have the opportunity to introduce women, from many differing backgrounds, to mountain exploration, the thrill of climbing, the comradeship of a team, then, if they chose, exploration in careers within this realm.
Every culture has its forms of freedoms and its confinements: we, in the West, have personal freedom at the cost of all else. I look forward to learning about the lives of Pakistani women, and what costs are assumed in return for their lives' most important values.

Sallie Shatz, racking up.

Check out an article about Sallie and Heidi and the PWCC in yesterday's Aspen Daily News!

...And more thank yous!!...

The gear and support are just pouring in!

  • Lilla Molnar of Canmore, Canada, sent a box of goodies including rope, crampons, packs and clothing.
  • La Sportiva sent two pairs of boots, as did many individuals (Thanks Ruthann, Claire, Julie, Jim Shim and Nancy!)
  • EMS Climbing School just donated 10 pairs of crampons, and EMCS guide Craig Taylor added 2 more pairs to that
  • Jim & Angela Donini sent along a very significant donation, which was matched by our challenge grant from the AAC
  • Thank you to Charlotte Fox, once again, for all of her efforts and support in all aspects of the trip. Charlotte, this couldn't have come together without you!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Final Needs Update

A little over a week from now we are all going to be wrestling our gear onto planes bound for Gilgit. We are keeping close tabs on the political/social scene there and still feel it safe enough to travel.

Last minute needs:
Thanks to many commitments in the last few weeks, and some major cash donations, we are closing in on reaching many of our goals. If you are able, please help us with a few last minute areas:

- Cash donations. To date we are in need of approximately $7,000 to reach our goal budget, which covers plane fares, satellite phones, shipping costs of some of the equipment and an emergency travel fund (which will be donated back if not used). Please make a tax deductible donation through the AAC, and don't forget to earmark it for the Pakistani Women's Climbing Camp. Donor incentives are still in place!
- Women's mountaineering boots, more information at this link
- Crampons, walking or 12 point, adjustable, small sizes preferable
- Ice climbing and mountaineering axes
- Pickets, ice screws, cams, nuts, locking and non-locking carabiner
- Trekking Poles

There is still time to get these items to us! Just let us know they are on the way and send them to:

Sallie Dean Shatz
Sallie Dean Shatz Photography
0068 Blue Sage Lane
Snowmass, CO 81654
phone: 970 923 6757


Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School
c/o Janet Bergman
2760 Main Street
North Conway, NH 03860
phone: 603 986 9457

All items must be received by July13.
Cash donations can be made for the remainder of 2007.

All equipment will stay in the care of the Alpine Club of Pakistan for future Women's Camps (which are already in the works!) and other educational courses.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Mountain to Mountain

The energy and excitement from friends, new and old, who hear about our involvement in the PWCC has constantly rejuvenated us. Many of my male friends have offered to wear skirts and wigs to be able to be a part of this program. One friend and fellow photographer, Tony DiZinno, is a great example. After photographing the Teva games in Vail, Colorado, he visited me in Aspen. Insistent on making an introduction he knew would be fruitful, we drove to Breckenridge, CO for a lunch with Shannon Galpin, one of the two women who founded Mountain to Mountain. It took about 10 seconds for Shannon and I to know we had to work together. We had both lived in Beirut, Lebanon and shared a love for the place… as Omar Shariff said- “Once Lebanese, you are always Lebanese.” (And he was Egyptain. His love for Lebanon came while filming Lawrence of Arabia). There is a joy of life, an appreciation for being alive, no matter what is happening there that inspires you to live life to the fullest.

Mountain to Mountain was created by Shannon Galpin and Tara Dugan to spearhead fundraising efforts for community projects in remote mountain areas around the world. Built upon the vision of uniting like-minded mountain communities with a single cause, Mountain to Mountain will help fund and promote projects, specifically in the areas of education and environmental awareness, in other mountain communities around the world.

On the evening of their inaugural event, I watched Shannon and Tara raise $50,000 to build a school for girls in the earthquake-ravaged area of Azad Kashmir, to be built by the Central Asia Institute. Greg Mortenson, who the founder of the Central Asia Institute, and the subject of the book Three Cups of Tea, was the presenter. That evening, they also secured a $25,000 challenge grant. I spoke with Shannon this morning; they reached their challenge grant and have raised over $100,000, enough to build two girl’s schools.

I am in awe!

Mountain to Mountain has offered to adopt the Pakistani Women’s Climbing Camp as one of its partner programs. We are flattered and honored to be working with these two incredible women! More to come on our work together soon!


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thanks to all!!

We have had support coming from many directions over the past few weeks. Mountaintrip is donating a slew of four season tents as well as use of a satellite phone. SUUNTO and Bill Porter have organized the donation of several Vector watches for the guides to utilize during the trip and then leave with Pakistani women after the camp. Sterling Ropes of Maine is providing ropes and cordage. Osprey donated packs for all the guides. Mountain Hardwear recently sent a box of clothing for participants. EMS Climbing School provided a slew of hardwear from ice tools to trekking poles to crampons and more. Mountainfund is also sending along an assortment of gear. Several individuals have dug boots and crampons out of their closets to send to the camp. On top of all they have already done, the American Alpine Club is sending Mountain Hardwear duffle bags for the transport of all the above mentioned donations. Thank you thank you thank you to all! Less than two weeks before departure, and many donation agreements are still in the works--we are so excited, and so grateful!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hood River News Feature Article

Check out team member Lisa Rust and the PWCC, featured this week in the Hood River News!

Lisa Rust--climber, guide, mother, wife, teacher--at home in the snow.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Rest of the List

Several people have been requesting to see the 'rest' of the list of gear we are requesting to be donated for the Pakistani Women's Climbing Camp, so here it is.

We'll premise this list with a little bit of information. The format of the camp is that 100 women start, with basic camping instruction and a two day hike on the dry Pasu glacier. After 5 days the group will be paired down to 40 or so of those who are having fun and feeling good. They will move on to a week of mountaineering training on the Pasu glacier and in Khunjerab Pass, near the border with China. The course will conclude with an attempt of 19,000+ foot Kushaikh peak. That explains why we are only asking for 30-50 of many things even though we are serving 100 women.

Also, you will notice it is not a complete packing list: the Alpine Club of Pakistan is securing a lot of donations in-country and from other sources. The enclosed list is specific areas of the gear list we have been requested to help with. Most of it we can take new or used. Receipts can be provided for tax deductions.

So, here is the list:

Our apologies if it is hard to read: please contact us to receive a normal, readable version of it. See the next post down for addresses to send donations. Remember, all donations must be received by July 10.

Thank you for your help!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Send us yer boots!

Climbers, ex-climbers, guiding companies, climbing shops, boot and crampon manufacturers:
"Send us your boots!"
Help us give hopeful Pakistani climbing students a leg up by sending small to medium sized new or kindly used mountaineering boots and crampons.
Preference is size 5-9 women's (up to size 7 men's or 35-40 euro size) lightweight double plastic mountaineering boots (though we are not being picky). Also, small light weight mountaineering crampons (walking or 12 point).
Dig into your gear closet--or your girlfriend's /wife's /daughter's /grandmother's gear closet; buy out your local consignment store; beg the back-up stash from your local guide service and send them to:

Sallie Dean Shatz
Sallie Dean Shatz Photography
0068 Blue Sage Lane
Snowmass, CO 81654


Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School
c/o Janet Bergman
2760 Main Street
North Conway, NH 03860

The Alpine Club of Pakistan will help cover extra shipping costs incurred in getting them to Pakistan. After the camp your donated boots will live a long life being worn for multiple other education programs.

Help us give these women warm toes and a good time!

Tax-deduction receipts for your donation can be provided; just let us know that you would like it. Contact Janet with questions. All donations must be received by July 10.

Thank you!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Our Programme Patron

Nilofar Bakhtiar, our PWCC Programme Patron in Pakistan, is also Pakistan's Minister of Tourism. She has promoted all aspects of this program from the beginning, including acting as chief guest at a recent girls rock climbing contest. Bakhtiar was recently criticized for hugging her paragliding instructor after a successful jump (the purpose of which was to raise money for Pakistan's earthquake-ravaged areas). Events since then may have led to her recent resignation as Ministry of Tourism, which means also losing her as our Programme Patron.
"Nazir Sabir expressed his strong support for the Minister and requested the Prime Minister and the President of Pakistan not to accept her resignation, and instead persuade her to continue as the Minister," says Lt. Col. Manzoor Hussain, Programme Coordinator. "As far as we are concerned we are continuing with [the Pakistani Women's Climbing Camp] as per programme. Fortunately we have the support of the Ministry bureaucracy in implementing our projects."
We are extremely sad to hear of this, and thank Ms. Bakhtiar for all of her contributions, regardless of the outcome.
In other news, more than 200 women have requested to be nominated for the program! We working with Col. Hussain in considering ways to accept more women to accomodate the overwhelming response. Additional funding support would allow last minute additions of American guides to make up for the added participants.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

New Incentives for PWCC Donors

Funding and gear are still needed for the camp. Two new incentivies have been introduced to encourage support:

  1. The American Alpine Club pledged this week to match up to $2,500 in donations toward the Pakistani Women's Climbing Camp, as a show of support for the project and to encourage further donations. Starting on May 26, every dollar donated to the Pakistani Women's Climbing Camp through the AAC will be matched by a special challenge fund, up to a total of $2,500. (Click here to donate at the AAC site and don't forget to type 'Pakistani Women’s Climbing Camp' in the 'Comments' section so that the donation is earmarked correctly).
  2. In addition, the team is offering token gift incentives. Donors of $100 or more will receive a Pakistani cashmere shawl as a token of thanks from the team. Donors of $250 or more will receive a more elaborate embroidered shawl. Finally, donors of $500 or more will receive a high quality 8x10 print by Sallie Dean Shatz from the trip with the edition of the print limited to the donors.
Please take a moment to support this imporant project!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Go Team!

The American Alpine Club Representatives, making up the team to travel to Pakistan this summer:
· Janet Bergman, guide, from North Conway, New Hampshire, has climbed around North America as well as in Argentina, Nepal, Peru and South Africa. Janet teaches rock and ice climbing and mountaineering for the Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School. She is a member of the Mount Washington Valley Mountain Rescue Service and a certified Emergency Medical Technician. She is also a freelance writer and consultant to nonprofit organizations. Janet feels this opportunity to meet and work with Pakistan's women has the possibility for multi-dimensional impact: "The ultimate reward for me will be someday teaching alongside some of the women we introduce to climbing this summer!"
· Heidi Kloos, guide and expedition leader, from Aspen, CO, has been guiding and climbing, both rock and mountaineering routes all around the world for the last eleven years. She is a AMGA certified Alpine Guide, one of the few American women to have achieved this certification. Her most notable climbs include: the Cathedral Traverse of the Grand Tetons; the complete West Rib on Denali in the Alaska Range; the Directismo on Cabasa de Condor in the Bolivia Andes; and ascents of Pumori, Baruntse, and Dorje Lakhpa in the Himalayans mountains of Nepal. Her greatest passion is the guiding and teaching aspect of being in the mountains, and she believes that no climb is insignificant if the higher goal of sharing that experience with someone who may not have been able to achieve it on their own, is reached.·
· Kirsten Kremer, guide, from Chickaloon, AK has been guiding in Alaska for over 10 years. She guides Heli-skiing, Mountaineering and Whitewater rafting for Valdez Heli Ski Guides, Alaska Mountaineering School, Mountain Trip, and Nova Riverrunners. She has been certified EMT-1 for many years, considers herself a climbing enthusiast and also loves to travel. Kremer has been on climbing expeditions to Thailand, Laos, Nepal, France, and Patagonia and recently began making an effort to do more climbing trips with women: She guided an all women trip on Denali with Heidi Kloos, climbed peaks in Patagonia with Janet Bergman, and crossed paths with Cherie Silvera in Thailand and Patagonia. After climbing more with women, she was encouraged to start a festival for women climbers in Alaska, "I am happy to support women..... especially women in the mountains, and am honored to be invited on this monumental trip."
· Molly Loomis, guide, from Victor, Idaho, works as an international mountain guide. Work and personal expeditions have led her all over the Western United States, Alaska, Argentina, Antarctica, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. During the summers she works for Exum Mountain Guides, near her home in the Tetons. In 2006 Molly co-authored, with Andy Tyson, Climbing:Self Rescue, published by The Mountaineers Books.
· Sonja Nelson, guide, from Telluride, Colorado. I came out of the University of Colorado with a biology degree and a dream of studying great apes. My passion for skiing landed me in the San Juan Mountains on a different path. I have since worked for the Telluride ski patrol and Silverton Mountain as a patroller and ski guide. My summers have been spent in Alaska where I work as a guide on the beautiful rivers, ocean, and mountains. I also pursued my biology interests by working on King Salmon research projects for the department of fish and game. I feel incredibly lucky to have experienced the mountains and I love to share the experience with others. I guide all women’s clinics at Silverton Mountain and have helped with an all women’s trip on Denali. I am looking forward to sharing a love for the mountains with Pakistani women and helping to create opportunities for the future.
· Lisa Rust, guide, from Hood River, Oregon, has worked as a professional rock climbing and mountaineering guide since 1995. Lisa began guiding rock at Smith Rock in Oregon and mountain guiding on Mt. Rainier and Mt. McKinley. She has guided the highest mountains on four continents, including working as a guide for an American women’s climb of Mt. Everest in 2002. Lisa is a full-time working wife as well as a mother to her adorable 2 year old daughter. She works as a middle school science teacher in Hood River, Oregon, she is also a non-practicing attorney, and trained Emergency Medical Technician. Lisa’s love of the mountains was nurtured by her Swiss father, and she seeks to pass that love and sense of wonder, independence, and empowerment that comes from climbing on to her daughter. To have the opportunity to pass such knowledge and empowerment on to the women of Pakistan is truly a reward.
· Sallie Dean Shatz, from Aspen, CO, is the expedition photographer and a professional photographer/writer. She has worked for BBC, Amnesty International, Index on Censorship, Sports Illustrated, rock and ice, climbing, trailrunner and magazines and newspapers in Lebanon, England, Germany, Australia, Israel/Palestine and the United States. She has worked for more than twenty nonprofit and non-government organizations around the world. Outdoor companies have used her work in their advertising campaigns- Patagonia, Black Diamond, Marmot and montrail. Her work has been exhibited on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, in Beirut, Lebanon sponsored by UNESCO and Amnesty International, in Jerusalem and most recently an exhibit that toured Spain for over a year. Shatz has also been a member of Mountain Rescue-Aspen for 14 years where she is a rescue leader, the only women to have served as training officer. Last winter she was in Pakistan working with the American Alpine Club and the Alpine Club of Pakistan in helping distribute aid after the 7.6 earthquake that killed 87,000 people. For more information on the American Alpine Club and the Alpine Club of Pakistan's earthquake relief efforts Sallie was a part of in Pakistan go to
· Cherie Silvera, cinematographer, from Aspen, CO is an Emmy award winning adventure filmmaker, having produced over 70 hours of expedition and adventure films for the television networks ABC, CBS, NBC, OLN and Discovery, as well as the high-end outdoor brands, The North Face and Marmot. She was series producer on the 5-part NBC television special, The North Face Expeditions, as well as on OLN’s Emmy award winning series Adventure Quest, and was a producer on the 16-hour reality-adventure series Global Extremes: Mt.Everest. She has made films in remote locations from Mongolia to Peru, including 3 Himalayan expeditions.
When not making films, Cherie is a professional and competitive paraglider pilot. She has been the US women’s Paragliding Champion for the past two years and holds the US women’s Distance Record. Her favorite pastime is traveling the world with her glider in search of new flying and cultural adventures. Educated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard University, Cherie has combined her passion for the mountains with her filmmaking career. In addition to paragliding, she is an avid skier and climber. Whilst shooting video for a documentary she climbed and summitted the 8,012 meter (26,285 ft) peak Shishapangma in Tibet. In the spring of 2007, she will be documenting an expedition about a team attempting to ski from the summits of Choy Oyu and Mt. Everest.. Her personal goals are to help others, and especially women, share in her passion for the mountains and free-flight.
· Charlotte Fox, honorary team member. Unfortunately, Charlotte will not be able to attend due to an injury. She will be greatly missed this year but we look forward to her joining next year's expedition.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

2007 Pakistani Women's Climbing Camp

Increasing numbers of all female expeditions are exploring the world's mountain ranges, achieving highly technical climbs in a sport traditionally dominated by men. Pakistani women are ready to join the world of climbing as well. Their country is home to three major mountain ranges - the Himalaya, Karakoram and Pamir - and K2, the second highest mountain in the world. Pakistani women have been unable to learn to climb as cultural norms do not allow contact between men and women who are not directly related and all the climbing instructors in Pakistan are men.

A group of American guides will travel to Pakistan in the summer of 2007 to facilitate a mountaineering course for up to 100 Pakistani women. The goal of the project is to expose women to the world of climbing and mountaineering. Their experience may lead to careers not previously available to them in a growing tourism industry, in mountain rescue or guiding.

The course will take place on and around the Passu and Batura glaciers in Northern Hunza, followed by an attempt 19,619-foot Kusheikh Peak, near Khunjerab Pass. Training will be progressive, starting with the basics of mountain survival, travel, and safety. Technical rock and ice climbing as well as glacier travel and self-rescue will be taught throughout the course.

An American team of six guides will travel with a photographer and cinematographer. Pakistan's Ministry of Tourism has been cooperative through the planning stages and the project may receive the official endorsement of Sehba Musharraf, the First Lady of Pakistan.

At a time when their cultures seem increasingly more divergent, the American Alpine Club and Alpine Club of Pakistan have found accord in the mountains for nearly thirty years. Last year’s joint earthquake relief efforts resulted in 28 tons of supplies being distributed within the earthquake zone and with funds raised, the building and outfitting of a girl’s school. The Pakistan Women's Climbing Camp is the leading effort of the two clubs for 2007.

The project is seeking support in the form of funding and climbing/camping gear. Donations can be made through the American Alpine Club or the Mountain Fund.

Donate through the American Alpine Club - ***Dont forget to type 'Pakistani Womens Climbing Camp' in the 'Comments' section so that the donation is earmarked correctly.

Donate through the Mountain Fund - click 'donate now' and check off the Pakistani Womens Climbing Camp.

For more information on current gear needs, contact team member Heidi Kloos.

For any other questions contact team members Janet Bergman or Sallie Dean Shatz.

(all photos posted here by Sallie Dean Shatz)