The beginnings

I don’t quite remember when the first time my dad took me to the mountains was (I have rubbish memory of my childhood) He thinks I was four or five but all I remember, are weekends after weekends of jumping in the car with him in the early morning for a five minute drive to the base of the nearby mountain Azimiyeh or Gohardasht, walking up the slopes following in his steps, finding the pace too slow, wanting to just run off, but dad would tell me to go slow and steady. He would carry his wooden cassette player playing Shajaryan and Nazeri. He used to wear a long sleeve cotton short and loose trousers that he used to tuck under the big woolly handwoven socks (I religiously imitated) He wore his mountain boots, full leather and heavy. Getting a black toe was part of the game! You didn’t have fancy boot fitters. There was only one or two stores selling outdoor gear and they only sold Iranian made products thanks to post war Iranian economy. He always carried his old straw hat with (Iranian mountaineers’ Tilly hats) :) with all its edges ripped off. He had a Grievel Ice axe (a prized possession) that he used as a walking pole! I was so in awe of it and always wanted to hold it! It was probably as big as I was back then. We used to have our regular break spots. A big boulder to the left half way up the route was our spot for the tea breaks. He even had a song for when he would pour the tea from the flask into the cup… but above all, the bit that I remember very well, was when we approached the summit. He would always say things like ‘oh there’, ‘there is the summit’, ‘all your hard work’, ‘now let’s hold hands and step on the summit together’.. and we would hold hands side by side and step on the top. He would then give me a big hug and a kiss, making me feel so proud saying ‘you walked really well’, ‘you kept the pace up, well done’ He would look around and take in the views, and sit down and get out the fruit, nuts or sweets that he had brought. He would then point to the various peaks around us telling me ‘that’s Kahar, its 4000m high’ ‘when you grow a bit older and train a bit more, we can do that one’ and on and on…