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Climbing Wall for Iraq
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bob123


Jan 16, 2006, 6:20 AM
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Climbing Wall for Iraq
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From: "Matt" To:
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2005 6:58 PM
Subject: Iraq needs a gym

I am a pilot in the United States Army and am currently stationed near Tikrit in Northern Iraq. Several soldiers, me included, were avid climbers back in the states. Needless to say, it is not safe to leave the base to climb and we have very limited options for staying in shape and relieving the stress of the day.

We have convinced our command to supplement our work out facilities with a climbing gym. They have authorized enough money to purchase some climbing holds and it will be up to us to equip the rest of the facility. The gym will be available to several hundred soldiers. I am writing to ask for your help. We are hoping that with your contacts we can coordinate with the companies, organizations, manufactures who would be willing to donate or contribute in anyway. We will need ropes as well as shoes, harnesses, chalk bags, carabineers, auto belay devices, crash pads, slings...
Perhaps you have some overstock or blemished items that you can donate to our cause. We eat MREs and live in tents we are not picky. If you could help we will send photos of our progress and random updates on the unit's overall situation during the year we will be spending in Iraq.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to respond to this email.
If you choose to send any gear, you can send it to the following address:
Matthew J. Hull
B/5-101 AVN RGT, 101 AVN BDE, 101 ABN DIV
FOB SPEICHER
APO, AE 09369

Thank you very much,
Matthew Hull
_________________________________________________________________
Earlier email 12/23........................

We were surprised and touched by your positive response to Matt’s email. One of the things we love about climbing is the strong community connection between climbers. Between us we have climbed in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Flatirons in Boulder, Southern Wyoming and throughout North Carolina. When we are not in Iraq we are stationed at Fort Campbell, KY. The local climbing areas there are Queen’s Bluff and Pilot Rock.

We are still forming the concept for our project. A lot depends on how much support we receive. We will probably base the facility in our existing gym and add a taller, free-standing tower. The number of total routes is going to depend partly on how much rope we can get along with how many shoes, harnesses, and hardware we receive.

We have already received favorable responses from various companies. As of today New England Rope, Sterling Rope, Five.Ten, Evolve, and Misty Mountain have all pledged to donate gear ranging from holds to shoes to harnesses. Metolius will sell us holds at wholesale and Nicros has pledge support but has not yet made a specific offer. We still need more of everything but our biggest wish right now is for hardware and crash-pads. We will certainly need at least 5 belay devices and twice that number of carabineers. Self-belay devices would be ideal although the gri-gri type would work as well. Two crash-pads should be sufficient to protect our bouldering routes.

Once the wall is built we envision hosting the first (and hopefully last) annual Iraq rock climbing competition. It would be cool to have your magazine do an article about the construction of the gym and, later, the competition. That would be a great way to show one way that climbers are supporting soldiers and how we live our lives on deployment.

As for shipping, we are pretty sure that any item that can be sent through the U.S. Mail can be sent to an APO address. We often receive boxes of various size and weight through the U.S. mail. If something unusual is being sent its best to let us know ahead of time so that we can give the mail handlers some advanced notice.

Thank you again for your offer of support. It really will be great if you can use your connections to help us complete this project. Please let us know how your efforts are progressing so we don’t bother anyone by contacting them after you have already done so.

We are looking forward to hearing from you again soon and appreciate your support.

James Mackler, WO1
Matt Hull, CW3
_______________________________________________________________

From: matthew.j.hull@us.army.mil [mailto]
Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2006 5:10 AM

Great to hear from you again. To date we have received 2 dynamic ropes that are long enough to cut in half, 2 static ropes, 8 Chalk bags, 2 slings, 2 aiders, no shoes have come in yet but we have 2 companies (sorry I forgot who they are) are promising shoes we are thinking about 10 pair from each company of various sizes and 8 harnesses of various sizes. We have been given money to buy holds and I have been talking to Nicros about purchasing from them. Unfortunately it is talking longer than expected and Nicros wants to go through other channels for accountability. Metolius has offered us holds at cost so I am sure we will be going through them. I will get you a list of who has donated as soon as by partner in all this gets back from his flight.

On our wish list still:
-2 more dynamic ropes
-hardware (20 quick draws, 6 gri-gris, ATCs, figure 8's any belay equipment)
-holds of any type

So far we have a small section of our gym dedicated to an indoor wall 15' tall X 35' wide we have started construction on an outdoor wall which we are hoping to get supports strong enough for a 40' tall wall X 20' wide. This being the desert wood is pretty hard to come by but it is out there and we are scrounging all we can. Fortunately we have some very smart people working with us and the plan right now is to anchor the wood to those huge concrete pillars that were in the original picture. We are placing 3 of those at the base with holds drilled into the concrete and then build off of that to our goal of 40'

Along with the donations the two of us are putting in our own gear which is an amazingly small amount when you look at what’s needed.
Thank you for all you are doing. Your support and the support of the
Community is incredible.

Matthew J. Hull


overlord


Jan 16, 2006, 6:30 AM
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Registered: Mar 25, 2002
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Re: Climbing Wall for Iraq [In reply to]
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suggest to the to make a steel frame instead of wood. should be easier to come by.


bob123


Jan 22, 2006, 5:11 AM
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From: matthew.j.hull@us.army.mil [mailto]
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2006 6:09 AM
Subject: Re: Climbing Gear for IRAQ

We have just had a major break through on our wall. We came across a container carrier. I think it use to have axles and whells and it was used to carry the containers off the ships to where ever they were going. The attachment is a picture of it. We are now just waiting on the T-nuts to come in so we can attach the to plywood then attach the ply wood to the container. We have a crane or a helicopter that will pick the wall up and stand it on one end which will give us a wall that is 8' wide, 40' tall with a 9' over hang. we will anchor it in using 3/4 inch cable and will have 2 air conditioners towards the top of the wall. This will offer a little relefe on the 130 degree days that are coming way to soon.
I still owe you a total of the equipment we have received. Right now it is myself and 1 other guy working on this project and he is the one who has been getting in all the equipment. I know we have more than 20 harnesses and a promise for that many shoes but they have not come in yet. We are working with some companies for the holds but are getting caught up in a lot of red tape. It is looking like Metolius will sell us what we need at wholesale prices which will be a huge help to us. We are still waiting for a final answer from then then we will purchase as many as we can.
Thank you for your help in this and I hope with in the next month we will have a wall and a great story for the magazine.




anykineclimb


Jan 22, 2006, 5:25 AM
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Re: Climbing Wall for Iraq [In reply to]
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Thats outstanding!

glad to see climbers taking initate and doing something about their conditions!

One note on the crash pads though. Its probbaly cost prohibitive to have them shipped over to your APO. I'd suggest getting with billeting and asking for some old mattresses


Adapt, Improvise, Overcome


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