This project is about roots. Roots are foundations. The activities and lifestyles of both skiing and climbing are foundations in my life. But, roots can also be connections or originations. My family roots are in the Middle East from my father, and in Poland from my mother. I want to livedeliberately, consciously rooting myself in pursuits and people that are fulfilling. I also want to know more about my family; where they came from, what their lives were like before I became a part.
The goodness of my life is inextricably attached to those who came before me, and being grateful for the opportunities I’ve had means learning those stories and sharing my own. For me, it is about making the effort to cultivate the deeper connections. That’s why I’ve come to Lebanon. By connecting my family past to my personal life in the present perhaps I can better understand and guide myself into the future.
This project, though complex and deeply personal now, started out through the simple mention of virgin rock. In the Spring of 2012, I spent some time in Spain. While there, I met Will Nazarian, and he told me he had been to Lebanon a few times and was developing climbing. From 30 years of international climbing and route development, he knows when a place has potential. He knew Lebanon was ripe. Coupled with his partner Katy and her 15 years of international social and economic development, they have an organization called RAD – The Rock Climbing Association for Development. Since 2011, they have been visitingLebanon and working to develop climbing and the local infrastructure to support it in a small valley called Tannourine, north east of Beirut. They have been working in partnership with the formal municipality and the mayor’s office, and have recently been awarded a USAID grant for Lebanon industry value chain development. It’s an economic based grant to work with, teach, and enable the locals. It is to benefit small and medium sized businesses in and around the Tannourine community. RAD is working with local climber George Emil, as well as Rock Climbing Lebanon and conservation associations to ensure sustainability. With this grant, Will and Katy hope to quickly and efficiently create a successful and lasting global climbing destination.