Curly-horned Marco Polo sheep on a mountain side, spotted during the Borderski expedition in 2015. Photo credit:  Kate Harris .

Curly-horned Marco Polo sheep on a mountain side, spotted during the Borderski expedition in 2015. Photo credit: Kate Harris.

Borderwhat?

Borderski was a six-week, all-woman ski traverse of the eastern Pamir mountains in February/March 2015. Our goal was to explore the impact of border fences on local communities and migratory wildlife, especially Marco Polo sheep, and make a film that inspires others to think beyond borders.

Where?

Central Asia's Pamir mountains. Also known as Bam-i-Dunya, Persian for “the Roof of the World,” this range lies at the nexus of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, and Kyrgyzstan. 

 Barbed-wire fence snaking along the border between Tajikistan and China. Makes it tough for Marco Polo sheep to migrate. Photo credit:  Kate Harris .

Barbed-wire fence snaking along the border between Tajikistan and China. Makes it tough for Marco Polo sheep to migrate. Photo credit: Kate Harris.

Why?

The Pamir's most famous resident is the Marco Polo sheep, with horns so huge the Silk Road explorer who first described them was accused of hyperbole. Until relatively recently, wild herds could wander freely across Pamir borderland, their migrations mostly unimpeded by fences. But border security has tightened in the Pamir and beyond, with harsh consequences for migratory wildlife. 

 Marco Polo sheep skull on the Pamir Plateau. Photo credit:  Kate Harris .

Marco Polo sheep skull on the Pamir Plateau. Photo credit: Kate Harris.

Through Borderski, we hope to build a robust case for keeping the Pamir––and the world generally––as fenceless as possible.

How?

In a visually spectacular, character-driven film, BORDERSKI shares a story as wild as the mountains in which it unfolds. The narrative follows the three of us as we ski the eastern Pamir range, exploring the borderlands that Marco Polo sheep call home without regard to political divides. We confront fierce winds, bitter temperatures, corrupt police, and an unusually thin snowpack—proof that when it comes to borders, nature draws the final line.

Along the way, we cross paths with American wildlife biologist Tanya Rosen, who risks her own safety for the sake of Marco Polo sheep in the Pamir, where poverty poses the biggest threat to wildlife. Working with her is a remarkable Tajik man named Mahan Atabaev, once a poacher of Marco Polo sheep, now their protector. By thinking between the lines, these two are changing the way wildlife conservation is done the Pamirs—and helping both Marco Polo sheep and local communities in the process.

With the Borderski film, we hope to bring a little-known wilderness, a threatened species of wild sheep, and the need for conservation that transcends borders that much closer to home.

About

 
 

It all started when…

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 Kate, Rebecca, and Ali ( The Fanny Pack ), frozen and happy in the Pamir.  For more on our long-standing team moniker, and bios, see our   team page  !

Kate, Rebecca, and Ali (The Fanny Pack), frozen and happy in the Pamir.

For more on our long-standing team moniker, and bios, see our team page!

arctic Winter bike | Dawson city, YK to tuktoyaktuk, NT

We are embarking on a three-woman Arctic bike expedition in March/April 2017. Our 1050-km route starts in Dawson City, following the Dempster Highway to its northern end at the town of Inuvik. From there, we will loop up to the mouth of the Deh Cho (Mackenzie) River at Tuktoyaktuk and back on the Inuvik - Tuk ice road. As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, this is a momentous year in the history of these northern communities, as it is also the last the ice road will be built and maintained—part of our inspiration and incentive to complete the trip in 2017! 

We will start on the spring equinox, at the tail-end of the Arctic winter, and hope to finish just before spring break-up, weaving through the varied landscapes of the Northwest Territories en route to the Deh Cho River and Delta. We hope to embrace lessons from nuna ("the land"), the wildlife, the water, and the local characters and communities we will encounter along this remote route.

The end of our expedition will coincide with Inuvik's spring celebration (the Muskrat Jamboree), where we look forward to trying our skills at local games, dancing, and feasting. And maybe, if we're lucky, we'll catch the migration of the caribou as they make their way to spring calving grounds.

To see where we are, click on our MapShare page!

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 The ice road.

The ice road.

 The northern lights.

The northern lights.

 Article by Fanny Kate Harris on the ice road.

Article by Fanny Kate Harris on the ice road.


A HUGE THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS!

        This journey powered by  Revelate Designs

       This journey powered by Revelate Designs

             And studded firmly to terra incognita by  45NRTH  tires

            And studded firmly to terra incognita by 45NRTH tires

         Warm to the core, thanks to  Brooks-Range Mountaineering

        Warm to the core, thanks to Brooks-Range Mountaineering

        Beauty racks, made in CA by  Old Man Mountain

       Beauty racks, made in CA by Old Man Mountain

 
  Atlin Mountain Coffee Roasters  is powering our pedalstrokes.

Atlin Mountain Coffee Roasters is powering our pedalstrokes.

 

About

 
 

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