Climbing in Yemen?

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chick_on_ice

Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 17, 2013 - 02:13pm PT
Alright supertopo-ists. I know this is a long shot, but anyone have info on climbing in Yemen/Socotra? If my visa goes through I'll be going this december. The only thing I've been able to find are some articles on Mike Libecki's explorations around there, but nothing specific.
So....anyone have Mike L. on speed dial or has been to the country before? Any advice/beta will be much appreciated.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Nov 17, 2013 - 02:23pm PT
You might want to pick somewhere with ice.


he U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest. The Department urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart immediately.

On August 6, 2013, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks.

U.S. citizens currently in Yemen should depart. As staff levels at the Embassy are restricted, our ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency and provide routine consular services remains limited and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued on July 16, 2013.

The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high. In September 2012, a mob attacked the U.S. Embassy compound. Demonstrations continue to take place in various parts of the country and may quickly escalate and turn violent. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations, and to exercise extreme caution if within the vicinity of a demonstration.

Terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to be active throughout Yemen. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens (whether visiting or residing in Yemen), and U.S. facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests. A U.S. citizen was attacked and killed in Taiz on March 18, 2012 and the press reported that AQAP claimed responsibility. An ongoing risk of kidnapping exists throughout Yemen. In the last year, international and local media have reported several kidnappings of Westerners. Violent crime is also a growing problem; local media reported the murder of two U.S. citizens in Taiz and Aden in 2013. In addition, piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean is a security threat to maritime activities in the region. See our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet.

U.S. government-facilitated evacuations occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs. The lack of a valid U.S. passport may hinder U.S. citizens' ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy's ability to provide assistance. U.S. citizens in Yemen should ensure that they have proper and current documentation at all times. For more information, see "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis" on the Department's Internet website. Evacuation options from Yemen are extremely limited due to the lack of infrastructure, geographic constraints, and other security concerns. The U.S. government typically evacuates U.S. citizens to a safe haven, and travelers are responsible for making their own onward travel plans. Travelers should not expect to be evacuated to the United States.

U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen despite this Travel Warning should limit nonessential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, enroll their presence in Yemen through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information. If you wish to depart Yemen, you should make plans and depart as soon as possible. The airport is open and commercial flights are operating. There are no current plans for U.S. government-sponsored evacuations. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Yemen are responsible for making their own travel arrangements.

The U.S. Embassy in Sana'a is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967)(1)755-2000, extension 2153 or 2266. For after-hours emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please call(967)(1)755-2000 (press zero for extension) or (967) 733-213-509. From time to time the Embassy may temporarily close or suspend public services for security reasons. Emergency assistance to U.S. citizens during non-business hours (or when public access is restricted) is available through Embassy duty personnel.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, and Country Specific Information for Yemen can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers in other countries, by calling a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review "A Safe Trip Abroad," which includes valuable security information for those living and traveling abroad. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. Download our free Smart Traveler app, available through iTunes or Google Play to have travel information at your fingertips.

Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Nov 17, 2013 - 02:25pm PT
Yemen??? BUUUUUWAAAAAAAAAAAAhahahahahahahahahaaaaaa.....


chick_on_ice

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2013 - 02:31pm PT
Yup. Very much aware. As naive as it sounds. I'm going with a local who lives there (and is white), speaks fluent Arabic and knows his way around. Plus I'm travelling on my foreign, non-US passport. Thank you for the concern, but I've been in sketchy places in this world. I'll be alright :)

And the NE ice will be there when I get back. I've got some projects that are going down this winter (hopefully...if I'm not a wuss about it). Yemen though? Might not even be a country in a few years.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Nov 17, 2013 - 02:33pm PT
I don;'t think it really qualifies as one now.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Nov 17, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
I hear there is some craggin round Syria too...
chick_on_ice

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2013 - 02:42pm PT
Funny you should mention Syria: http://climbhotrock.com/hotrockroot/tripreports/rock-climbing-syria.htm

Hopefully the country will become more travelable and stable in the future, because I'd love to spend some time over there. But even I won't set foot in Syria right now. A college acquaintance of mine was kidnapped there, but he's back and fine now, so all's well that ends well!
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Nov 17, 2013 - 02:47pm PT
Traveling on another passport won't do you much good. Kidnapping seems to be the national sport..

http://rt.com/news/yemen-germany-kidnap-embassy-dead-809/

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/yemen/gunmen-kidnap-unicef-staffer-in-yemen-1.1240063

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/Three_Red_Cross_workers_kidnapped_in_Yemen.html?cid=35810534

http://www.yementimes.com/en/1721/report/3023/Yemeni-businessmen-increasing-target-of-kidnappings.htm

Then there's also the risk of a dronezap signature strike if you happen to be traveling with someone that's on the wrong guy's contact list.


I'd give some serious thought to your "friend's" motivation or intelligence.
chick_on_ice

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2013 - 03:01pm PT
True, although my passport is from the country that's supplying all their guns and weaponry, so I'm not the typical "westerner". Plus I blend in well, compared to your average tall, blonde girl with a flashy smile.

All that being said tongue in cheek, I know it's a very dangerous place to be. I get it. But whether you're climbing some sketchy ice with cornices and avalanche potential or visiting a foreign country, it's all about how you mitigate the uncontrollable variables and control for what you can. That is life after all.

Studly

Trad climber
WA
Nov 17, 2013 - 03:47pm PT
Socotra Island. One of the most incredible places on earth, lots of unexplored granite. One of the islands of Sinbad the sailor. Its part of Yemen but a long boat ride. However they did get a airport somewhat recently. Probably allot safer then the mainland for a foreigner.
chick_on_ice

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2013 - 04:38pm PT
I was obsessed with the lost city of Ubar as a kid (still kinda am), so we're pulling strings to get out to the Dam of Ma'rib and the surrounding area.

Studly you're right: Socotra is much safer than mainland Yemen, so if sh#t hits the fan, that's where I'll retreat to. Plus this can be a test run for a trip to Pakistan in the future. They also have dragon blood trees, frankincense shrubs, falcons and a panoply of bizarre phylums on the island; how cool is that?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 17, 2013 - 04:38pm PT
Socotra Is. is on my very, very, very short list.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Nov 17, 2013 - 06:27pm PT
Andrew Burr did a slide show for an event that I put on that was exclusively about climbing there. It looked very cool kind of like the cathedral spires in the black hills needles on steroids. He said it was very hot. There looked to be tons of potential. The dragon blood tree forest looks other worldly. He did say that he was told to claim to be Turkish and that was the first time he had ever done so in all of his travels. You could email through his business by googling Andrew Burr photography.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Nov 17, 2013 - 06:29pm PT
Also he said the embassy is now closed and would not recommend travel there until the situation changed.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 17, 2013 - 06:31pm PT
I've been warned all of my climbing life by the State Dept. not to go somewhere until the situation changed. Never took notice of it and had some great trips to "dangerous" places.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Nov 17, 2013 - 06:36pm PT
There's an article on climbing Socotra in this month's Rock & Ice. When the next issue comes out it'll be up as a free download.
chick_on_ice

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2013 - 08:55pm PT
I wasn't expecting so many leads for such an obscure climbing area. Thank you all for the input!!! Now if I get this visa thing sorted (and all of my final exams done on time....), I'll be tremendously happy and off for an adventure.

And I think donini summed it up well. I find that if you are not stupid, don't go where you're not supposed to and don't stick your nose into others' business without their invitation, then people respect you enough to leave you alone.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Nov 17, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
it was only back in august this year that the state department ordered all americans to evacuate Yemen as the closed all embassy properties..
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 17, 2013 - 10:21pm PT
And I think donini summed it up well.

Yeah, but who would be stupid enough to try and kidnap Jim?

IMHO the only place worse than Yemen would be Somalia.

I know some people who got in trouble in Yemen a few years ago but they had contacts and got bailed out by the USS Stennis, literallly.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Nov 17, 2013 - 10:31pm PT
You probably shouldn't read Nelson Demille's The Panther.


Or maybe you should.
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