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CASH MOUNTAIN.

Byline: Ed Reed ,

Peak effort Ian Arnold - and Shawn the Sheep - on top of one of the Pamir mountains. On the right, Ian takes a breather

n Mountain man Ian Arnold admires the majestic scenery of the Pamir mountains on the border of the former USSR and China

n in memory Mountaineer Andy Bennett

Ian lives the high life to help children

CLIMBER Ian Arnold is safely home after a month-long expedition to a remote mountain range bordering the former USSR and China.

But he wasn't ``bagging" peaks for personal glory. He was raising cash for a children's charity.

The poverty-stricken former Soviet state of Kyrgyzstan, where the beautiful Pamir mountain range lies, is a major smuggling route for Afghan heroin and opium.

Ian, 47, of Eldon Road, Marsh, was part of a six-strong party sponsored to help the Kyrgyzstan-based Alpine Fund.

The charity steers youngsters away from the drugs trade.

By first giving children experience of the mountains, then training them in the outdoor industry, it is hoped to create a sustainable economy similar to the booming tourism industry in Nepal.

Ian's group explored 10 unclimbed peaks in the remote region for four weeks over July and August.

With them was a Wallace and Gromit cartoon character toy Shawn the Sheep, who was sponsored for every climb he completed.

So far, the trip has raised pounds 1,000.

Supply teacher Ian is now planning a series of slide shows about the trip to further help the Alpine Fund.

The peaks reached up to 5,500 metres (16,500ft) in height.

"It was a very amenable expedition," said Ian. "Four would have been first British ascents and six would have been complete first ascents."

They named one climb in memory of Huddersfield mountaineer Andy Bennett, who died in an Alpine accident in 1990.

Ian explained: "The route we did for Andy was a two-day adventure, to climb a 5,000 metre peak with some `interesting' sections.

"It was a fitting tribute to a great bloke."

This year Ian has visited Aconcagua in South America, a peak of just under 7,000 metres (21,000ft), as well as the Swiss Alps.

Next year he plans trips to Australia, Alaska and China.

Any group or organisation who would like a slide show about Ian's adventures and is prepared to contribute to the Alpine Fund can contact him at Salendine Nook High School.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Sep 28, 2004
Words:400
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