Thursday, January 06, 2005

Iranian women aim for Mount Everest


Iran Mountaineering Federation has taken a remarkable step towards the development of mountaineering in the country: They are organizing an Everest expedition in 2005, with a very special characteristic for the Muslim country. All climbers will be women.

The ladies are selected through different preparatory climbs, during which the girls have to prove their climbing skills and endurance.

In a countrywide announcement, Iran Mountaineering Federation invited all women mountaineers interested to participate. The selected would get a chance to climb the highest mountain on Earth and become the first Iranian Muslim woman Everest summiteer.

Sixty nine women from all over the country accepted the challenge and attended the first tests Dec 15-17; a two day mountain climb on the Anehsara and Sangesarak peaks (in the area of Alamkuh).

The aim: To test their "physical condition, stamina, strength, and familiarity with equipment and camping on altitude.”

31 climbers were selected to take part in a second ‘eliminatory’ climb. The climb took place last week and results have not been yet published.

This will be the first attempt by a national Iranian women’s team on an 8000er. However, the Iran Mountaineering Federation has promoted female climbing teams in the past few years, on six and seven thousand meter peaks in the Himalayas.

The Iranian ‘delegation’ on Everest won’t be exclusively feminine though: The National team of Iranian Men’s mountaineers will accompany this expedition and also attempt to summit themselves. The last successful climbs by an Iranian team on Everest was in May 1998, when four members summited the mountain.


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