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Throwback: U.S. Veterans Ski The Mountains of Iraq to Heal Shadows of War

The North Face's 'Adventure Not War' tells the story of three U.S. veterans who traveled back into the mountains of Iraq to heal the wounds and trauma of the Iraq War. U.S. Army Captain Stacy Bare took along Captain Robin Brown and Captain Matt Griffin on a mission to rewrite a different ending of his experience with Iraq. Stacy, Robin and Matt set out to Erbil Iraq to put up a first ski ascent-descent on Mt. Halgurd, the tallest mountain in Iraq. 

Following his time in Iraq Stacy struggled with post-traumatic stress symptoms and emotions of guilt, depression and even felt suicidal. He felt that a sort of healing process in the outdoors was crucial for him and came up with the concept of going back to all the places he'd been during war to climb, ski, or mountaineer and see these places in a more positive light. He felt it was necessary to see Iraq as a place that could hold beautiful memories and not just those of war and trauma. 

Often times in skiing and outdoor adventures you have those thoughts wondering why you chose to suffer, but you know you chose to, and the objective is to reach a mountain top or ski fresh powder. Stacy recalls that the last time he was back in Iraq, he was happy to suffer along his brothers and sisters in war, but beyond that, he wasn't sure what they were suffering towards. In this mission, he had chosen to suffer and the objective was clear, and found that to be incredibly healing after having such dark memories in the place.

Just went there for Easter 2018 after I almost made it to the top in 2012, but had to turn around after 90km/h winds in a storm only 600m from the top. Finally made it this year and skied all the way down to the bottom with Reband my local ski guide. 3607m If you want to go, I definitly recommend going. Kurdish Iraq is relatively safe.

Thank for your writting! It is very easy to understand and detailed. I hope you continue to have good posts like this to share.
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