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Iraqi Kurdistan Expedition_Climber_TOP006


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Trek Iraqi Kurdistan Expedition

The Zagros Mountains stand at over 3,000 metres and guard the high passes into Persia. They are sacred to the Kurdish people who offer their warm, traditional welcome and hospitality to any visitor to this remote region. 

This is a unique trailblazing expedition will take a team to trek the majestic Zagros Mountains of Kurdistan, Northern Iraq and to climb Mount Halgurd (3,607m). This is the highest climbable mountain that lies wholly within Iraq. This is a truly unique opporunity to explore one of the world’s most inaccessible peaks, where but a handful of outsiders have ever ventured.

Mount Halgurd stands in the Zagros Range, which bisects Iraq, Iran and Turkey.

The mountain does not require any technical experience, and the skills required on the mountain will be taught on the lower slopes. This includes use of ice axe and crampons.

Highlights

  • Trek in high-altitude Iraqi Kurdistan, an area steeped in history.
  • Explore an area with no tourism infrastructure outside of the cities.
  • Visit Erbil, one of the oldest inhabited citadels in the world

Accommodation

Will be in a basic hotel in Erbil. From here we will be staying in a mixture of local guesthouses, shepherds huts and tents.

Food

Is usually kebab based in Iraq with rice and bread. We will be using dehydrated trekking rations on the mountain. Expect to be invited into several homes along the way to eat delicious yoghurt and drink traditional tea.

Transport

Will involve bumpy rides in 4WD vehicles and trekking.

Reality of Travel
 

This is a unique and exciting opportunity to be part of an exploratory expedition to one of the worlds most inaccessible peaks.

The experience of this trip’s leaders in running expeditions in post conflict zones mean that we have a strong team in place to ensure success. However, this is an exploratory expedition to an area that has no tourism infrastructure whatsoever.

Don’t expect well organised local fixers, things to run on time, and any sort of luxury.

Do expect delays, haggling, bureaucracy and some unique local characters!

This is why we love running these sort of expeditions, the reward comes from the challenge of getting there!

Suitable Team Members

Should be over 21, fit and healthy as this trip involves 5 days continuous days of strenuous trekking at altitude, gaining a total height of just under 2000m carrying a pack weighing around 20kg which includes all your own equipment.

There will be no porters on the mountain.

Guide Ratios

The expedition will be fully guided, with 2 Guides for up to 12 Team Members.

Safety and Security

More Details

History

Despite a reputation for political uncertainty, Iraqi Kurdistan is a fascinating place. Home to the ancient city of Erbil, packed with exquisite mosques and hectic bazaars, incredible highland landscapes filled with stone age caves, lush valleys and a culture of friendship and nobility untouched touched by decades of persecution. Kurdistan has been autonomous since 2003 and has not suffered the violence experienced by the remainder of Iraq. Since that time only a handful of intrepid visitors have dared to travel to the area and now, we are proud to offer an expedition to blaze a trail and pioneer a challenging expedition into these forgotten mountains.

Jagged mountains rise to display snow-capped summits high above lone shepherd huts, and waterfalls crash down from the brown cliffs into raging rivers. Iraqi Kurdistan is a land of beautiful hope; of traditional warmth, generosity and desire for peace in a country undergoing a rapid transition to modernity against a terrible backdrop of war. In the Kurdistan Autonomous Region, vast highland plains are dissected by raw and rocky valleys which are flanked to the East by the formidable Zagros range. It is here that we will set foot in a place that is as remote as it is spectacular.

Mount Halgurd

At 3,607 meters it is an excellent challenge in one of the most beautiful mountain regions we have visited anywhere in the world. On top of this, the hospitality of the Kurdish people was an experience in itself worth returning for.

Mount Halgurd stands in the Zagros Range, which bisects Iraq, Iran and Turkey. It stands 39m lower than Iraq’s highest peak, Cheekah Dar- which unfortunately cannot be climbed for political reasons, as it sits on the border with Iran. The mountain does not require any technical experience, and the skills required on the mountain will be taught on the lower slopes. This includes use of Ice axe and crampons. Until the mountain was climbed in 2004 by British mountaineer Ginge Fullen, Halgurd was thought to be the country’s highest mountain. Most people in the region still consider Halgurd to be the tallest mountain in Iraq. Though this might not still be the case it certainly is the more beautiful of the two.

Changing Perceptions

For most people, the first images that spring to mind when thinking of Iraq are of conflict and war. The Gulf War and the American Invasion of Iraq in 2003 have understandably remained etched in peoples’ memory. Iraqi Kurdistan, which was to a large extent spared by the latest conflict, nonetheless went through particularly difficult times itself, during the course of which its populations were crushed by the totalitarian forces of the former dictator of Iraq. For a while, the Kurds were riven by internal conflict which led to a form of civil war.

However the situation has improved considerably  since then, and in claiming to be a “Switzerland of the Middle East”, Iraqi Kurdistan is proving that it has been able to overcome these contradictions and take full advantage of a particularly strong cultural identity. Erbil will be an unexpected surprise to any visitor with it’s luxury hotels, shopping malls and world class airport: a sharp contrast to the 5000 year old citadel in the city centre. The diversity of its landscapes, from vast highlands to magnificent mountain ranges, makes it a hikers’ paradise. Covering a surface area of about 20% of the whole of Iraq, Kurdistan will constantly offer the traveller new horizons, vast plains and high mountains, as well as towns with the authentic charm that can only be found in oriental cities. Wedged in between the borders of Iran and Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan runs its own affairs in the north-east of the country. It is mountainous rather than flat, green rather than arid. And most importantly, it is safe.

Iraqi Kurdistan, or Kurdistan Autonomous Region, is an independent region within Iraq. It borders Iran to the east, Turkey to the north, Syria to the west and the rest of Iraq to the south. The regional capital is Erbil. The region is officially governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government. The establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government dates back to the March 1970 Autonomy Agreement between the Kurdish Opposition and the Iraqi Government after years of heavy fighting.

Despite a reputation for political uncertainty, Iraqi Kurdistan is a fascinating place.

Home to the ancient city of Erbil, packed with exquisite mosques and hectic bazaars, incredible highland landscapes filled with stone age caves, lush valleys and a culture of friendship and nobility untouched touched by decades of persecution.

Kurdistan has been autonomous since 2003 and has not suffered the violence experienced by the remainder of Iraq. Since that time only a handful of intrepid visitors have dared to travel to the area and now, we are proud to offer an expedition to blaze a trail and pioneer a challenging expedition into these forgotten mountains.

   

Dates:  17 – 25 March 2018

Price: 1,699 GBP per person.

Expeditions are priced on a LAND ONLY basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from the expedition.

What's Included

  • Full services of a professional expedition Leader with local guides and drivers.
  • All meals
  • All transport as outlined in the itinerary
  • All specialist and safety equipment
  • All accommodation (Including tents)
  • All permits

What's Not Included

  • Local airport taxes
  • Tips to local guides
  • Beverages & any costs of a personal nature
  • International Flights
  • Personal equipment. (Upon booking you will receive a comprehensive kit list.)
  • Visas

Operator

When it comes to getting off the beaten track these guys can’t be beaten. They lead pioneering expeditions to some of the most remote regions on earth. The organisers are dedicated to creating imaginative experiences for adventurers around the world and their team of expert military guides are some of the most experienced in the industry.

Nowhere is off limits and no idea is too crazy. They have achieved ground breaking world firsts such as mountain biking in Afghanistan and mountaineering in Iraq and their first ever expeditions to walk across Madagascar and pioneer white water rafting in South Sudan both made the headlines…. and a bit of history.

Being wild and wacky is one thing but with their background as commanders in the British Army and experienced team of specialists in every kind of terrain and environment means that all of their adventures are thoroughly planned and the safety and security of teams is always their highest priority.

Expeditions can be inherently risky, but they do everything possible to minimise potential hazards and for that, and the utterly extraordinary trips they put on, we salute them.

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