Four Extraordinary Adventurers

These four adventurers, all originating from the Wakhan valley, are proud to take part in this historic expedition. They already possess solid mountaineering skills, having participated in various training courses in Afghanistan and in Italy, all organized with the support of Mountain Wilderness International, the Aga Khan Foundation, the United Nations and USAID. Their instruction will be completed with a technical course in the Alps throughout the spring of 2009.

Malang - the “Philosopher” or the “Poet” in dari – is 35 years old and lives with his wife and four children in Qazi Deh, at the entrance of the valley leading to the base of Noshaq. He participated in the “Oxus” mission in 2003 as a porter and climbed Noshaq up to 5,500 meters. His cheerful character and his charisma proved to be strong assets.

His dream is to be a real mountaineer like the international climbers he has already accompanied.

Afiat Khanis a “Khan” or «lord». He is 28 years old and already has a family of 5 children. He is also from Qazi Deh. Like his father, he was set to be a mountain guide, but the war changed his destiny… He participated in the fight to defend his country against the spreading threat of the Taleban. During the 2003 « Oxus, mountains for peace » expedition, he was enrolled as a porter and also climbed up to 5.500 meters ; on the way up, he was holding a Kalachnikov rifle. On his way down, he had exchanged it against a pickaxe.

His dream is to lead a new battle, but this time, for peace.

Gurg Ali - or “Ali the Wolf“ - is 28 years old and has four children. He lives in Kret, at the bottom of the Baba Tangi, another legendary mountain (6 500 meters) he dreams to climb one day. He is a very generous person and has a huge heart. When he isn’t climbing, he teaches at the village school.

His dream is for his country to recover its long lost pride through this incredible expedition.

Amruddin, 25 years old, is the youngest of the team. He is married and has two children. He lives in Khandud, halfway through the valley. He is an eternal lover with a disarming smile, impassioned by romantic Indian songs. He has the temper of a pirate and is fearless.

His dream is to be recognized as a great mountaineer in his country.

Three project initiators impassioned by Afghanistan

The « Afghans to the top » project came to existence from the encounter of these four Afghan mountaineers and three young Frenchmen with a passion for Afghanistan. They have been living in Afghanistan for several years and speak fluent Dari, the local language. They are in close contact with the French Embassy in Kabul and are advised by local organizations.
The project is organized through an association that they have registered. The three of them will join the expedition and hope to reach the summit together with their Afghan friends.

Louis Meunieris 30 ; he has been living in Afghanistan since 2002. Louis has a fascination for mountaineering and other outdoor activities. He has equipped various rock-climbing trails in the Panjsheer valley, and has successfully led a group of 18 members of the Mountain Wilderness association for a one-month long trek through the Pamirs and the Wakhan in the summer of 2007. Louis has also crossed Afghanistan by horse in the summer of 2005 and plays on Kabul´s buzkashi team, the country’s national sport.

Jérôme Veyret is 29 ; he settled in Afghanistan in 2003, arriving by car after a long road trip that left Bordeaux (France) and continued through Europe and the Middle East. He works as a journalist for international TV channels, making full-length documentaries. The most recent one covered the Afghan Kirghiz who live in the Pamirs at an altitude of 4,000 meters. Jérôme has also covered a story for the magazine “Grands Reportages” called “The oasis of Wakhan, a sanctuary for the wakhi and Kyrgyz peoples”.

Nicolas Fasquelleis 34 ; he spent two years in Afghanistan, managing research projects covering a majority of Afghan provinces. Nicolas is also impassioned by mountaineering and has climbed numerous peaks in the Alps, Andes and Karakoram, including Aconcagua (6,960m, Argentina). He co-authored a book, Student Planet, illustrating the results of a survey on university students of the six continents.

Two Experienced Mountain Guides

Jean Annequin is the expedition leader. He has been climbing the highest summits of the planet as a mountain guide since he was 25. He has already led many expeditions in the Himalayas above 7 000 meters (Makalu II, Ratna Chuli, Shishapangma, Mustag Ata, Kamet, Shishpare…). Jean is a technical consultant for Millet and Petzl. He is a teacher at the national school of ski and alpinism (ENSA), and a member of the French national syndicate of mountain guides. He is involved in the training of mountain guides and in the development of sustainable tourism in Nepal.

Simon Destombes will be assisting Jean for this expedition. A mountain guide for the past 16 years, Simon has travelled the world exploring exceptional mountains. From Alaska to Patagonia, from the Altaï range to the forgotten valleys of Nepal, he develops his passion for the world’s mountains through expeditions that are as much human adventures as they are sports adventures.

© 2009 Afghans to the top - Registered association