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)

No comments: