Grant winners summit highest Afghanistan peak

By Australian Geographic Adventure 10 August 2011
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Team become the first Australians to successfuly climb Afghanistan’s highest mountain.

WINNERS OF THE NORTH FACE/Australian Geographic Adventure Adventure Grant completed their mission on 4 August 2011, when they reached the summit of Noshaq (7492m).

The expedition team, made up of Australians Tim Wood and Tony Simms, and Afghanis Aziz Beg, Malang Daria and Abdul Hakim, departed Base Camp at 4400m on Monday 25 July.  For the next 10 days they climbed into the oxygen deprived atmosphere, negotiating steep, exposed rocky ridges, ice fields and ploughing through deep snow, while carrying their food supplies and equipment, and establishing a series of camps along the way.
Upon reaching Camp 3 (6700m) on Wednesday, 3 August, Abdul and Malang were forced to return to Base Camp as Malang was suffering from severe altitude sickness. The following morning Tim Wood and Tony Simms, accompanied by Afghan climber Aziz Beg, began their summit push. Tim and Aziz successfully reached the summit at 1pm local time that same day. Tony, exhausted and running out of daylight hours, decided to turn back just 200m short.
Tim is the first Australian, and one of the few mountaineers in the world, to summit Noshaq. Tim sums up his experience by saying, “It has been a real pleasure to climb in such a beautiful, unspoilt and culturally rich area of the world. Summiting Noshaq has been an amazing – although very tough – adventure.”
Climbing for a cause
Noshaq is the highest peak in the Hindu Kush Mountains, located in the Wakhan Corridor of North Eastern Afghanistan; a narrow panhandle of land connecting Afghanistan with China, bordered along its length by Tajikistan and Pakistan. It is one of the world’s most isolated and beautiful mountain landscapes, and one of the few peaceful and secure places in Afghanistan.

Noshaq became a popular destination for foreign mountaineering expeditions in the years between its first ascent in 1960 and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Since then, ongoing political turmoil and violence have restricted foreign access to the region. With improved security conditions since the fall of the Taliban, Noshaq is once again attracting the attention of the international mountaineering community. The North Face/Australian Geographic Adventure expedition is among only a handful of expeditions to attempt the peak since the Soviet invasion.
Tim and Tony hope that their expedition will attract attention to the region and help to promote tourism as an alternative form of sustainable development for the two ethnic minorities, the Wakhi and Kyrgyz, who live in the Wakhan corridor. They are in desperate need of economic development, and with greater promotion of the world class outdoor and eco destinations that Wakhan has to offer, it is their hope that tourism growth will continue. At the conclusion of the expedition, much of the team’s equipment will be donated to the local guides and support crew who have assisted with the climb.

*Complete your own mission*
The North Face, Australian Geographic Adventure and the AG Society have teamed up to help turn your adventure dreams into a reality. The grant gives budding adventurers and explorers an opportunity to win $8000 cash, $2000 worth of The North Face gear and an exclusive feature on your trip in Australian Geographic Adventure magazine. For more information about the grant visit here.