it’s been a long time. until the late 70’s Iran had consistent visits from international groups, putting up serious routes on the 4500 – 5000m peaks across the country. as a developed, hospitable and accessible nation Iran had a good reputation. the revolution scared people away, and upheaval in surrounding countries plugged the way in, but despite Iranian climbers continuing to climb abroad, as an international destination thing fell quiet.
behind Iran’s borders the climbing went on and new generations of climbers put up ever-harder routes on ice, walls and alpine faces. it was only those outside that didnt know about it. as the world changed former eastern bloc, Chinese and soviet climbers came in from the cold and bought their individual climbing styles with them. now its Iran’s time.
as sanctions drop iceclimbingjapan is preparing to go back to Iran, linking up with Iranian climbers and being part of the process of change. we did it in China, we are doing in Japan and we will get the ball rolling in Iran. working with climbers who have serious histories in their own country and places like the Alps, Himalayas and Pakistan, the Friendship Trips aim to both open the door and to get some serious climbing done. repeating the test pieces and establishing new lines in Iran’s most profound locations is the objective. along with this we will do a lot of hanging out, a lot of eating, a lot of footwork and a lot of thinking big.
with so much to climb in Iran we are doing a series of trips to showcase what is there
Autumn Walls: October 2016 15 days
Iran gets cold so before deep winter sets in we are heading to some big alpine walls for some serious vertical time. on the agenda is repeating classic Polish routes, trying some of the new Iranian lines and establishing something new. on-mountain time will be a blend of high camps, basecamp and ledges on the face. this is a good trip for anyone wanting real exped wall experience but without many of the problems that come with higher altitude.
Winter Alpine: December / January 15 days
Iranian North Faces are a culture of their own. Iran’s dramatic mountainscapes mean theres alpine faces in several places, each with their own style. like the walls, we will be heading for a mix of established routes and new attempting new routes.
Ice road trip: Early Febuary 15 days
all across the ranges of Northern Iran is ice. our schedule is to link up several ice areas to hang with the local crowd, climb the known stuff and get in new lines where we can. from idyllic mountain villages to stark mountain sides we go where the ice is. this trip is specifically about good times, and we can cover a lot of territory both on ice and across Iran’s varying landscapes.
these trips have full logistical support and the redtape organized. we have solid processes for visas, insurance and security. no trip goes anywhere with 500km of of the Iraqi or Afghan/Pakistan borders, or restive areas around Baluchistan (ie the UK foreign office advisory areas). as an example, a trip to Thailand will bring you closer to areas with the same level of advisory.
Iran is surprisingly easy to get to, with regular flights thru much of asia and the middle east. Visas are a mixed lot – some nationalities get them on arrival, others need to be booked before. contrary to some reports, US citizens are not banned at all. like several other nationalities you just need to be booked on a trip and all that is organized. where things do differ for US citizens is there is no consular representation inside Iran, tho other consular missions pick up the slack.
note that visas and logistics take time to arrange so the cut off for joining is 2 months prior to the trips start in Tehran.