Ali Shah and Sajjad, two local ski guides from rural Afghanistan, are hoping to become their country’s first Olympic skiers. Recently Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), produced a 12 minute short film covering their training at Switzerland’s upscale St. Moritz resort. Can they make their dreams come true? We certainly think so!
The dates are out for the lecture tour of the UK by the team that we helped guide kayaking in Afghanistan. Get to hear about their adventures on the Panjshir river in 11 venues across the UK – a must for anyone thinking of joining our 2017 Kayak Afghanistan trip. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for times and venues.
Earlier this month we released details of two new trips we are running to the Republic of Tuva in Southern Siberia (Journey Across Tuva and Western Tuva: Add On). Our Trekking and Expeditions Manager, Matt Traver, spent three months in the area back in 2015 and took a wide range of photographs covering all corners of Tuva. If you’re interested to see his album to get an idea of the locations we’ll be visiting on the trips then click here.
The second edition of the Marathon of Afghanistan was a huge success! Being the country’s only mixed gender sporting event it’s a positive step forward for the women in Afghanistan, plus a great opportunity for cultural exchange.
The top three men and women in the 10km event were all from Afghanistan and the winner of the main marathon was Hussein Faizi from Afghanistan who finished in 3 hours 58 minutes. Followed closely behind was Charlie Lewis from the UK who came in at 4 hours and 14 minutes. If you’d like to read a story about Charlie, who is also an amputee, then you can do so by clicking here.
The Marathon also saw Zainab attending again this year. Last year she was the only Afghan female to take part in the marathon and this year she’s continued leading the way as a role model for her country. If you’re interested to hear more about Zainab then please have a read of the Guardian’s article (and check out their short video piece too).
Lastly, the Marathon also raised US$6125 this year. It’s still possible to make donations by clicking here.
We have one space available for a private trip to the Chinese side of K2 between 20th September – 9th October 2017. This trek will take you deep in to the heart of the Chinese Karakorum to visit an isolated corner of this iconic range. Beginning in Kashgar we will journey 550km south for two days by 4×4. Along the way we’ll pass by ancient Uiyghur tombs and bustling bazaars to reach the 4000m high settlement of Ilik. From here we’ll venture off-road by foot and by camel for five days through alpine territory home to the world’s highest mountains to reach Sughet Jangal; the primary base camp for all major expeditions in to K2 – the second tallest mountain on earth. It’s from here you’ll have an opportunity to further explore the valleys and vast glaciers of the surrounding mountains over a few days and after two weeks in the wilds of Xinjiang return back to Ilik and onwards to Kashgar.
If you’re interested to find out more then please contact us.
Earlier this year we were approached by filmmaker Jordan Manley to arrange the logistics for a ski film in Iran, which would be the final episode in his extensive film series called “A Skier’s Journey”. The series, which is produced in association with outdoor clothing company Arc’teryx, covers a variety of other destinations such as Kashmir, Argentina, Baffin Island and Iceland. You can view the full Iran film below and the other episodes at www.askiersjourney.com
September 3rd – 8th 2016 sees the annual World Nomad Games taking place on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul. If nomads were to have their own version of the Olympics, this would be it! There’s 2000 participants from 40 countries competing in 23 separate disciplines ranging from archery, horse racing, Central Asian style wrestling, hunting with golden eagles on horseback and much more. Check out http://worldnomadgames.com/en/ for more information.
Matt Traver was born and raised in Hong Kong. His adult life has seen him develop a love affair for the steppe and mountains of Eurasia. For five years he focused on filmmaking and photography as a way to share faraway cultures with an international audience. His film and adventure projects have taken him through the deserts of Uzbekistan, steppes of Kazakhstan, the high mountains of Iran and Tajikistan, the Tuvan taiga forests and rivers of Siberia. His independent films have also screened at thirty international festivals and events in the UK, France, Italy, Czech Republic, USA, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Australia and also won him an award for the Best Environmental Documentary at the Mountain Film Festival. He has also completed a number of first ascent climbing expeditions to Kyrgyzstan, Greenland and Malaysia. Matt now heads up our Expeditions and Trekking trips.
You can view a selection of his most recent films/projects below:
Damavand: An Iranian Dream – A ski mountaineering team from the UK set out to climb Iran’s highest mountain, Mount Damavand (5610 m).
Crossing Siberia is an adventure travel and cultural series revealing untold stories from within the world’s largest expanse of wilderness. Its aim is to take the viewer on a journey to rarely seen realms and discover the unique people and places that are emblematic of the greatest wild space on Earth.
Tales from the Steppe – A collection of films on Central Asia covering stories from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia.
“It’s Friday. The sun is shining from a blue sky, as it has done every day but one on this whole trip. Behind me is the Tomb of Massoud, the leader of Mujaheddin for many years and killed by Al-Qaeda in 2001, only two days before September 11. In front of me: the Panjshir Valley. About week earlier I had the pleasure of overlooking another valley, the Bamiyan. Both valleys have of many been described as belonging to the most beautiful places in Afghanistan. And they´re not only places of sheer beauty, they both play an important part in Afghan history.”
If you have a few moments please have a read and look at Tommy Nilsson’s two part photo story on Afghanistan which covers our Melons & Grapes 2016 autumn trip to Afghanistan.
“Extreme geography attracts extreme sports” – so says Callum Strong, one of four kayakers that we arranged guiding and logistics for on their groundbreaking kayaking trip to the Panjshir valley of Afghanistan. The story is told briefly by CBS and AP (See link)