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January 2024: Ascend News (Issue #1)

Updated: Jan 11

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Invest in Her Future

girl in red jacket ice climbing in Pakistan

This winter we proudly launched our Invest in Her Campaign. The campaign is our kick off to support programming running in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Girls in both locations are doing amazing things, receiving much needed mental and physical health information, and forming supportive communities with other girls. 

Invest in Her gives donors the opportunity to directly impact the lives of participants through financial investment that provides the girls with materials and gear, transportation, and top notch trainers. 

Every girl deserves the opportunity to build her leadership aptitude, uncover her potential, overcome difficulties, and feel supported by the women around her. In the places where Ascend works, these opportunities are not only hard to come by but are sometimes non-existent. Your investment empowers girls to discover her leader within through experiential opportunities.

Empowering women is essential to the health and social development of families, communities and countries. When women are given equal opportunity, they are able to live safer, more fulfilled and productive lives which leads to healthier families, greater family and societal wealth, and a more peaceful and prosperous world. 

We are so grateful for the successful start to Invest in Her and thank everyone who made a one-time or on-going monthly gift. However, investing in her is not just a one time opportunity. We invite you to #InvestInHer all year long. You can support our girls with your investment here. 

Throughout the year we look forward to sharing stories of how your investment is impacting girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Hike for Her Save the Date

Ascend’s second annual Hike for Her is back! Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 1, 2024 for a day of hiking at Sky Meadows State Park, Virginia, followed by an evening of food, drinks and entertainment in nearby Paris, Virginia. Stay tuned for details and registration links.

Hike for her save the date, girls giving peace sign


Ascend Instructor Takes Second in Climbing Competition

On December 10 and 11th, Ascend Pakistan Apprentice Trainer Zeba, competed in the International Mountain Day 2023 Climbing Competition organized by the Adventure Club Pakistan. She walked away with second place in the 6a Lead Climb category (6a being the highest level of difficulty offered to female climbers). 

Zeba began rock climbing as an Ascend trainee in May 2023 and her skills have quickly progressed. She will share her knowledge and talents as an Ascend Instructor beginning this April. 

Of Ascend’s impact, Zeba said, “Ascend has completely changed my life. I have become a proud, confident and completely fearless girl… making my own identity. My self-confidence has increased more than before... and I [hope] to have the opportunity to participate in such competitions in the future. I am proud [to be part of Ascend] and deeply grateful for these opportunities.

Congratulations to Zeba on her accomplishments!


Featured Supporter: Black Diamond

two girls in Pakistan wearing Black Diamond helmets giving peace sign

A chance encounter in a coffee shop in Boulder in 2022 led to a beautiful partnership between Black Diamond and Ascend. Based in Utah, Black Diamond designs and engineers innovative mountain equipment to empower the future of mountain sports. In late 2022, when asked by Ascend if they would donate some equipment to the Pakistan program, Black Diamond did not hesitate. Each time Ascend finds itself in need of climbing hardware, such as nuts, cams and quickdraws for an SPI related training, Black Diamond has unselfishly answered the call donating over 100 pieces of gear in 2023 alone. 

We could not keep our girls safe and climbing on without this generous support from Black Diamond. Thank you!


A Look Back: Mount Noshaq Expedition

On August 10, 2018 Ascend Alumna, Hanifa Yousoufi, became the first Afghan woman to summit Mt. Noshaq, Afghanistan's highest peak. The expedition was organization by Ascend as the culmination of training by several Ascend girls. The ascent was not only a testament of strength and determination but a showcase of the leadership, teamwork and abilities of women when given the opportunity to participate.

After going through the program in 2016 as a participant, Yousoufi came to work for Ascend as a program assistant, continuing her training. During the climb, Yousoufi and her teammates experienced altitude sickness and had to be brought down to Camp 1. After resting, Yousoufi was able to continue the climb without her teammates (who remained ill), summiting at 7:10 pm on August 10.

You can read more of this historic summit in this 2019 article in Outside Online.

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