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hajiclimb


May 20, 2005, 11:57 AM
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Iraq photos coming  (North_America: United_States: Wyoming: Eastern_Wy_: Ten_Sleep_-_Mondo_Beyondo: World_Domination_Wall)
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Climbers,
I'm new to this site, but I'll start uploading Iraq rock photos, descriptions, etc. tonight. Apparently, large photos can get deleted without warning, so I'll only be posting smaller photos, but I have 2-5 MB photos of Iraq if you are interested. If anyone wants original size copies of my photos, just email me and I'll send them to you.
I apologize that I will be describing areas that I have never climbed. Unfortunately, my time in Iraq was taken up by work. I do, however, have a lot of info on locations, travel, safety and I have dozens of contacts who can help facilitate travel. Northern Iraq is much safer than anyone would realize from reading the news. There is a lot of excellent virgin climbing there. If anyone wants introductions or help coordinating a trip there, just drop me a line. I am fairly certain that I can arrange for a squad of Kurdish guards for anyone who wants to climb in Iraq.

Thanks,
Chris


jdouble


May 20, 2005, 12:00 PM
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Wow! Welcome and I look forward to your photos! Not sure if I will be making the trip anytime soon........


blather


May 20, 2005, 12:16 PM
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So what's the going rate for a squad of Kurdish guards?


corpse


May 20, 2005, 12:40 PM
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In reply to:
Northern Iraq is much safer than anyone would realize from reading the news

In reply to:
I can arrange for a squad of Kurdish guards

Sounds funny in the same post


hajiclimb


May 20, 2005, 2:07 PM
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Actually, I was assuming that the Kurdish squad would be free. For Kurds, it is a matter of honor that guests in their territory are not harmed. Iraqi Kurdistan is a place that would attract some tourism if it weren't in Iraq. Any tourist-climbers would probably earn an opening spot on Kurd-Sat TV news and can expect publicity. As far as cost goes, however, there would be none. If any foreign climbers were harmed in the region, tourism would suffer a serious setback, so the local authorities would probably allocate copious resources to ensure the safety of any climbers.


hajiclimb


May 20, 2005, 2:11 PM
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Hi,
If you are really an adrenaline junkie, I recommend a short drive to the area south of Iraqi Kurdistan. My car was shot up after just 5 minutes in a town just south of the Kurdish area. Unfortunately (and perhaps there is some connection here) the areas with most of the problems don't have good climbing. There is very little chance of getting sniped while climbing.

Chris


hajiclimb


May 20, 2005, 2:15 PM
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I said "safer", but not safe, hence the mention of the guards. Actually, after 2 years stomping around Iraqi Kurdistan, I would feel completely safe climbing there, except for the fact that I would encounter a lot of loose roack because no one has ever climbed most places.


g-funk
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May 20, 2005, 2:17 PM
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Dude, this sounds hot. I wish I had time to make this happen. You'd have to feel like Rambo III if you were climbing while being protected by a squadron of guards. Totally sounds like the beginning to a great story.

So there I was in Northern Iraq surrounded by a squadron of Kurdish guards, and I was free soloing this fierce over hanging 5.12 when all of a sudden. . . . .


jdouble


May 20, 2005, 2:24 PM
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Hey Hajiclimb, put some info in your personal description. You sound like a different kind of dude..........what are you doing there? Where you from?............


nedsurf


May 20, 2005, 2:29 PM
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This reminds me of that scene in apocolypse now.

KILGORE
"You wanna surf soldier ?"
SOLDIER
"Yes, sir."
KILGORE
"That's good, son. 'Cause you either surf or fight. That clear ?
Now get going...
KILGORE
"If I say it's safe to surf this beach, captain - it's safe to
surf this beach. I'm not afraid to surf this place, I'm not
afraid to surf this f---ing place."

CHARLIE DON'T CLIMB! :twisted:


d.ben
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May 20, 2005, 2:44 PM
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If I could afford a trip there I would risk it. To be honest I like the sound of the adventure and new rock. I would grow my beard out for about 2 months and wear some headwrap and less western clothes though. I can't imagine cruising around Iraq wearing some jeans and a prana hoodie with a shaved head. I met a guy who works in palestinian refugee camps and climbs in Palestine and Israel often. He was telling me about his adventures and I asked him if he was ever concerned about being white in Southwest asia considering all the tension there. He told me that he wears t shirts and jeans with a headwrap and is treated like a hero by palestinians, it's the Israeli's he is afraid of. He was arrested for 10 days once by Israeli soldiers for climbing in Israel.


hajiclimb


May 20, 2005, 2:50 PM
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Charlie might not surf, but Kurds do climb. I'd just be happy if we could get them to use some ropes. It's an odd feeling when you spend a few minutes looking down at a 3K-foot wall, wondering how to climb it, only to have a 60-year old Kurd come up and tell you that he free solo'd it barefoot, in a lightning storm, just for fun. When you've lost family members to chemical weapons attacks and had your brothers dumped in a Sadami mass-grave, you tend not to care too much if you fall to your death in a climb. I'm still trying to track down Kurdish climbers, but I'm running into the predictable problems ("The only climber is a guy in Hamaran area. My brother has a friend whose nephew knows a guy whose brother has talked to guy who rock climbs.")


hajiclimb


May 20, 2005, 3:07 PM
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For what it's worth, I don't recommend a beard in Kurdistan. A lot of Kurds are hardcore atheists and don't like guys with beards. I got a lot of flack for my beard. When eating with Kurds, I always had to order a highly-visible alcoholic drink, because my Kurdish friends said "I don't want people to think that I eat with some stupid Muslim".
Israelis might arrest climbers, but the Kurds will make heros out of them.


boardline22


May 20, 2005, 3:28 PM
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I want to go, I want to go


d.ben
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May 20, 2005, 4:14 PM
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no beard, even better. But I'm sure you have to get into Northern Iraq by some route. That would be my biggest concern since I don't exactly have a helicopter. I can see two things happening that would be not so good. 1)Dress like an American and get shot or have your vehicle blown up by an Islamic militant before you can get to what you're describing as the safe heaven of Kurdistan, or 2) attempt to blend in with your dress and be taken into custodyand interrogated like you're the next John Walker Lindh on your way to the north. I'm sure I can get along with peaceful people of any race or religion, and I like to drink.


hajiclimb


May 21, 2005, 10:35 AM
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You should be able to fly into Irbil, Iraq directly on commercial air- if not already, then very soon. I went to the grand opening of the Howler (Kurdish for Irbil) International Airport a few weeks ago, but I think that they are still working out a few kinks with the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority to get passenger flights. This airport is FAA-approved- the first in Iraq. I think that flights are supposed to come in from Germany, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. This city is the seat of the Kurdish Regional Government- folks who will hook you up.
As far as blending in goes, Dockers and a plain dress shirt with dress shoes will fit in in all the cities up north. Only the old guys wear traditional Kurdish clothes, which no American will be able to pull off anyway.
Kurds aren't exactly peaceful people. They just like Americans. Most Kurds have had family members gassed, murdered or tortured by the Iraqi Arabs. That kind of thing leaves people a little less than peaceful. They love Americans, though. There is still pro-Bush and pro-Blair grafitti up North in Iraq. If you are against the war, you might want to keep your opinion to yourself. You never know if you are talking to someone who was freed from jail because of the war. I know women who were jailed for wearing red socks in the Al-Qaeda-controlled areas of Iraq before the war. They would probably consider you a bit naive if you thought that freeing them was a bad thing.
There are really no religious taboos to worry about with Kurds. There are Christian areas all around Kurdistan and even a few Kurdish religions like the Izidi and Howramani, that most Americans have never heard of. Most Kurds aren't big into religion.


boardline22


May 22, 2005, 1:02 PM
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so when are the pictures comin?


korntera


May 22, 2005, 1:49 PM
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An American would never be arrested for climbing in Israel. I had a friend that went there to visit family and her sister found a group of climbers so she could climb while she was there. She is an American citizen that was born in Israel. The only reason you would have problems climbing there is if you are pro-arab or pro-palestinian.

-Travis


hajiclimb


May 30, 2005, 3:12 PM
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Sorry about the lag in the photos. I posted a bunch tonight showing the Sartak Chasm south of Sulimaniyah, Iraq. If I had a few free days to climb Iraq, this is the first place I would go. This area is only 1 hour from the most liberal and safest city in Iraq- Sulimaniyah (also home to the most beautiful women in Iraq). Also, the best climbing here is literally five feet from the road. It's all trad, of course, but there are ample cracks for pro. If anyone wants to climb here, please email me so I can help with arrangements. There is a Kurdish Iraqi Border Patrol outpost on the east end of the valley, which would be an ideal place to camp. This whole valley is a Kurdish tourist area. No one lives here, but there a lot of picnics during the day, including many folks who come here from other provinces just to see the beauty of the area. There are markings in the area indicating that it has been swept for landmines, but please consult the Iraqi Border Patrol folks in the area for the latest landmine beta. I have been told that there are "tigers" on the southeast side of the valley. I'm not really sure if they pose a problem or not. There are plenty of sheep and goats in the area that probably make better tiger feed than climbers. The only Kurdish technical climber (as opposed to the Kurds who free solo thousands of feet for the fun of it barefoot) tells me that he often experiences problems when enthusiastic onlookers tamper with anchors (not out of malice, but out of fascination). That said, lead climbing may be safer than top-roping. I have witnessed Kurds with no climbing experience free soloing up rocks in the middle of waterfalls. Be ready for enthusiastic spectators. I think that your best would be to get a Border Patrol guy to supervise your climb and intervene if anyone insists on particpating without an invite.


rossgoddard


May 30, 2005, 3:41 PM
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In reply to:
An American would never be arrested for climbing in Israel. I had a friend that went there to visit family and her sister found a group of climbers so she could climb while she was there. She is an American citizen that was born in Israel. The only reason you would have problems climbing there is if you are pro-arab or pro-palestinian.
I wouldn't agree with that. If you were climbing in a new area, where the IDF had not seen others climb, im sure they would be a bit suspicious, as terrorists are prevalent in Israel, and one climbing on a new cliff could easily be viewed as suspicious. and ask you questions, and if you gave them a hard time, possibly arrest you.


danegerous


Jun 4, 2005, 2:43 PM
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where are these freaking pictures? geez, my testicles wrinkled and fell off while waiting


hajiclimb


Jul 3, 2005, 3:36 PM
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I have a lot of cool Iraq photos, but I can't post them here. For some reason, the site only posted the first that I sent. A lot of them are big. I would be happy to email them to anyone who is interested.

Chris


corpse


Jul 3, 2005, 7:15 PM
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In reply to:
where are these freaking pictures? geez, my testicles wrinkled and fell off while waiting

Mine did years ago


korrigan


Jul 4, 2005, 1:35 PM
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Wow - this sounds really tempting.

Maybe when I'm not such a nOOb...

Although I am free this weekend... :D

hajiclimb - how about sticking the photos on a Flickr account or putting some on Imageshack and then posting the URL?


d.ben
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Jul 4, 2005, 2:07 PM
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An American would never be arrested for climbing in Israel. I had a friend that went there to visit family and her sister found a group of climbers so she could climb while she was there. She is an American citizen that was born in Israel. The only reason you would have problems climbing there is if you are pro-arab or pro-palestinian.

-Travis

Well... if the guy is working in palestinian refugee camps, he's probably pro-palestinian isn't he? (really pro not murdering and oppressing people in their own land). And I don't care if your brother, daddy, and local f*cking priest tell you the Isreali army does what is right, it doesn't change the facts. Israel is a series of lines drawn in the sand in an agreement between european nations to divide "southwest Asia" into chunks of land that would benifit them their imperial interests the most. Justice is a foreign concept in a state built on murder and oppression. Being American doesn't count for shit if you spend most of time on the other side of that wall. Google search the Belfour decleration and try to understand the situation before you make blanket statements about American invincibility.

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