Afghanistan’s Highest Peak Reopened

Foreigners make first ascent in 30 years


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Afghanistan has reopened its highest mountain to climbers after years of violent unrest kept it off limits. A team of three Afghans and two foreign climbers from the Wildlife Conservation Society summited Mount Noshaq on August 4. The ascent is the first by foreign mountaineers since the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, though a team of Afghans last climbed the mountain in 2009. Towering 24,580 feet above the Wakhan Corridor, Mount Noshaq is the second-highest peak in the Hindu Kush range and sits near Afghanistan’s northern border with Pakistan. The approach at the base of the mountain was heavily mined in the 1990s in fighting between Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance and the Taliban. The Afghan government and the WCS hope that reopening Mount Noshaq, which is home to snow leopards, ibex, and Marco Polo sheep, will draw tourists to the region.

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