Trip Report
Monday July 18, 2011 5:50pm
Credit: donini

Dushanbe was a breath of fresh air after Tehran, a bit cooler, far less traffic and pollution and, best of all, Tajikistan is a secular state not a theocracy like Iran. Women are not required to cover their heads and alcohol is legal!!!
Credit: donini
Iran and Tajikistan have one thing in common, the people are extremely open and friendly.
Credit: donini
The drive from Dushanbe to our destination Khorog in the Pamirs started off well.
Credit: donini
Great scenery and okay roads, this was to change when we hit the river that formed the boundary between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
Credit: donini
The next 8 hours was a trying journey on marginal roads with Afghanistan only a rope length or two away.
One consolation was that the roads on the Afghan side were even worse.
Credit: donini
We had been told that the road could be dangerous. That became evident when, a couple of hours out of Korhog, we came across this wreck being pulled from the river.
Credit: donini
The crash had occurred the night before and 8 people drowned.
Finally, after 15 grueling hours, we arrived at Bo Whiteís temporary home in Khorog.
Credit: donini
By we I mean Jen Fleming and Chris Weidner who accompanied me from Iran. Bo had been in Tajikistan for nearly a year on a Fulbright Grant. Bo had done some scouting and, most importantly, could communicate with the locals. The team now consisted of the four of us along with Mikey, another Fulbright guy, Evo, an expat from Switzerland, and Jessie and Darren who were there on an AAC Grant.
A formation a half hour out of town that Bo had appropriately named the Tusk became our first objective.
Credit: donini
Bo and I tried one line
Credit: donini
while Chris and Jen opted for a line to the left.
Credit: donini
The climbing was much more difficult than we expected. Flaky rock and weird vegetation made the climbing more interesting than we wanted. With evening coming we bailed from our highpoints. On the way back to the road we encountered the only precipitation of the trip.
Credit: donini
Back early the next day the assault continued.
Credit: donini
Eventually our lines converged and we found ourselves directly below Jen and Chris.
Credit: donini
Chris had just led a pretty sketchy pitch to a tiny stance. He told us to hold tight while he saw if the climbing above went. It didnít, Chris pitched out of the overhanging groove above hanging onto some desiccated shrubbery he thought might suffice as a handhold. He asked if we wanted a go. After mentally reviewing Chrisís 5.14 credentials, we prudently declined.
Defeat sometimes leads to opportunity. On the way out I couldnít help but notice some intriguing rock peaks in the next valley.
Credit: donini
The next day Bo and I did a recon. We were invited for tea by the family who lived in the last house before entering the valley.
Credit: donini
The house is off the grid but lovely.
Credit: donini
A couple of hours and a few thousand feet up the valley we were sure we were onto something.
Stay tuned for part 2

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About the Author
donini is a trad climber from Ouray, Colorado.

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Comment on this Trip Report
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Jul 18, 2011 - 05:52pm PT
awesome, thanks, been waiting for this TR.
Glad you had a blast out there.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
  Jul 18, 2011 - 06:08pm PT
Wow, thanks for the snapshots into another world. I really liked those pics, especially the last one. I wonder how old those stone structures are.

  Jul 18, 2011 - 06:22pm PT
Great stuff, thanks for sharing. I went to the Pamir plateau last Aug (and am going again later this summer) for work. Nice to see some climbing getting done. I just drooled as we drove around doing other stuff. There is a boulder field across the Panj in Afghanistan that looked incredible, just need the right visa.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jul 18, 2011 - 06:40pm PT
And yet another adventure begins to unfold.. thanks Jim!

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Jul 18, 2011 - 07:00pm PT
Donini: Duede! Thanks for posting photos, and telling us, about your adventures!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 18, 2011 - 07:08pm PT
Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful.
Gawd I've always wanted to see that part of the world.

Please keep it up Jim!!!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 18, 2011 - 07:24pm PT
Awesome Jim, where is the blue camalot?....;)

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Jul 18, 2011 - 07:34pm PT
Cool stuff, Jim!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 18, 2011 - 07:47pm PT
Just playing Jim.

  Jul 18, 2011 - 07:50pm PT
Awesome Jim - looks like fun.


Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
  Jul 18, 2011 - 07:52pm PT
Thanks for posting that up, Donini!

Trad climber
  Jul 18, 2011 - 08:03pm PT
good stuff! nice to see these inspirational reports!
scuffy b

heading slowly NNW
  Jul 18, 2011 - 08:16pm PT
Seems like a pretty big adventure.

Thanks for the window into the other side.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 18, 2011 - 08:56pm PT
Tell me a tale!!!

Mountain climber
  Jul 18, 2011 - 09:31pm PT
Great photos! Looks like you had a 'most excellent adventure'. The photo of the wrecked car tells it all. See you soon.

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Jul 18, 2011 - 09:35pm PT
I've got something to say, and I'm not holding back: thanks for the fascinating trAvelogue!

Mountain climber
  Jul 18, 2011 - 09:54pm PT
Nice, Jim.

Trad climber
  Jul 18, 2011 - 10:44pm PT
So flipping cool

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Jul 18, 2011 - 11:54pm PT
Wow, thanks Jim!

We leave Bishkek tomorrow for Khorog and the Pamir highway- thanks for the teaser.

Rob and KK

Social climber
  Jul 18, 2011 - 11:55pm PT
HAHAAHAH I should have read Part 1 before part 2 !!!!! :-D "Women aren't required to cover their heads" !!! :-D


Mountain climber
The Ocean
  Jul 19, 2011 - 12:13am PT
More goodness from Jim.

Thanks for the inspiration!

  Jul 19, 2011 - 12:25am PT
Love it !
Mighty Hiker

Outside the Asylum
  Jul 19, 2011 - 01:38am PT
Thanks, Jim! Will you be talking about this at the FaceLift?

Will part 2 include a photo of the fabled blue Donini, in use?

Tilman talks in one of his books about proceeding west on the south side of the river (Amu Darya? Syr Darya?) in Afghanistan, while looking across the river into the USSR - maybe Tajikistan. About 1948. He had gone through the Wakhan corridor, gotten arrested, and was being escorted west to a larger centre. Anyway, are you in that area.

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
  Jul 19, 2011 - 01:40am PT
Thanks for posting, I've been looking forward to TRs from your trip.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jul 19, 2011 - 01:47am PT
For the record it depends where you go in Tadzhikistan as regards women.
There are some very conservative areas, mostly rural, of course.
Even during the Soviet era it was so.
Captain...or Skully

Boise, ID
  Jul 19, 2011 - 01:54am PT
I can dig it.

  Jul 19, 2011 - 02:13am PT
Fantastic TTR! Keep'em coming!

  Jul 19, 2011 - 03:11am PT
Jim this is fabulous!! I can't wait to see P.2.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
  Jul 19, 2011 - 10:37am PT
Bump this sucka back to the top.

Looks like a nice place to visit!!!
Thanks for posting up some pics!

  Jul 19, 2011 - 10:40am PT
Nice! Thanks Jim.
Alan Rubin

  Jul 19, 2011 - 10:42am PT
Great report and photos Jim. Have I missed the Iran part of the TR, or is that still in the works?

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Jul 19, 2011 - 03:07pm PT
Stan bump! Donini? Did you save some photos to add to this TR?

  Jul 19, 2011 - 09:22pm PT


Trad climber
Little Rock and Loving It
  Jul 19, 2011 - 09:23pm PT
Nice. I loved that last photo; I can only imagine the melody of the water cascading down to the house.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Nov 28, 2011 - 03:57pm PT
Looks cool. Did you do part two yet? How big was that spire?

Trad climber
Living Outside the Statist Quo
  Nov 28, 2011 - 05:18pm PT
Great Read a second time thru! and yea how's that Pt 2 coming along? Well when your next break in climbing happens, climb on!


Trad climber
Golden, CO
  Nov 28, 2011 - 05:58pm PT
Great shot of folding in that 4th picture!

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Nov 28, 2011 - 06:46pm PT
so where's Part II Jim?
(wink wink nudge nudge)

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Author's Reply  Nov 28, 2011 - 08:03pm PT
On the road, I'll do part 2 Thursday, then off to Patagonia with a short stop in LA.
Johnny K.

  Nov 28, 2011 - 09:16pm PT
Awesome Jim!

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Nov 28, 2011 - 10:24pm PT

Awesome photo of folded rock, JD!!!!

(Didja know that Dushanbe was Boulder's sister city????)????

They brought a tea house to Boulder and assembled it. What a place for a meal, some tea, or a brew.

Boulder built Dushanbe an internet coffeehouse.

  Jul 16, 2013 - 08:43pm PT

Boulder climber
Institute of Better Bouldering-DirtbagDad Division
  Jul 16, 2013 - 09:37pm PT
Well, that was a nice pre-dinner snack! Thanks!

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jul 16, 2013 - 10:18pm PT
Best strawberries and watermelon I've ever had were in Dushanbe.
They didn't have much else except for ice cream and kvas - a kind of
watered-down brew that tastes like a cross between near-beer and
apple cider. It is actually pretty good, especially when it is near
the century mark on the thermometer and there's nothing else to imbibe.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Author's Reply  Jul 16, 2013 - 09:53pm PT
Timely bump...I'm going back to Tajikistan on August 6th. We have a grant from the Aga Khan Foundation to do a two week climbing/mountain medicine camp for Tajiks. Hopefully followed by some first ascenting and a tr.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 16, 2013 - 10:02pm PT
A Jen-You-Wine Real Live Adventure!
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