A community of Ukrainian climbers has launched a fundraiser called 'Climbarmy' to help protect other climbers who are defending their country against invading Russian forces. The project was set up by Mykhailo Poddubnov, a Ukrainian mountaineering instructor-turned-procurement coordinator. The money will go towards protective and intelligence equipment, medical supplies and basic survival materials to distribute to climbers fighting in territorial defence units. It will not be used to purchase weapons.
The website reads:
'From Climbers to Climbers
Our dear friends and colleagues! Today we are asking you for help!
Climbers all over the world are one family. Many Ukrainian climbers are now on battlefields fighting for the lives of their families and our country. They are fighting for the future of not only Ukraine, but of the whole Europe as Russia is now threatening Poland, Lithuania and other EU states.
Just a few days before the war we were climbing carelessly in Chamonix and Tirol, competing, and getting in shape for the spring season. On February 24 we all woke up to the terrible sounds of bombing. With regular sirens, curfew and all climbing gyms now used as refugee shelters, we – former climbers - became warriors and volunteers. We put our ice tools away to use weapons instead to defend our country, Ukraine.
Ukrainian army is strong, and we trust in them. But since the beginning of this horrific invasion by Russia the quantity of soldiers and territorial defence has at least doubled, sometimes even basic supplies are scarce, not to mention more sophisticated devices needed to effectively repel enemy attacks.'
The project was endorsed by Ukrainian national climbing team athlete Jenya Kazbekova, who placed 3rd in the CWIF last weekend. 'I know Mykhailo personally,' she wrote on instagram. 'He created a fundraiser to help our fellow climbers on the battlefield. None of your money will go to weapons. Please don't be indifferent. We can't stop this war by ourselves, but we can win together.'
The story on Climbarmy's website concludes:
'Help climbers of Ukraine in our fight so that we survive and one day we can meet again at the rocks of Arco and Antalya, icefalls of Cogne and Pitztal, and summits of Nepal and Peru.'
The funds will cover:
- Basic equipment and protection (ballistic vest and helmets, ballistic goggles, another tactical equipment)
- Basic necessities for long-term life in the field (mats, sleeping bags, electric generators, etc.)
- Medical supplies (FAIK, tourniquets, medicines)
- Purchasing and bringing vehicles from the EU
- Intelligence devices (thermal and night vision cameras, drones, laptops, etc.)
- Optical devices
Another new way to help: BMC members can register as hosts for Ukrainian climbers through the UK Government's Homes for Ukraine scheme. Individual sponsors are asked to provide homes or a spare room rent-free for as long as they are able, with a minimum stay of six months. In return, they will receive £350 per month. The BMC has created a website where registered members can 'match' with climbers put forward by the Ukrainian National Climbing Federation. Sign up here.