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‘Ascend’: A Journey From Afghanistan to Yosemite

Forced to flee their homes after the Taliban takeover in 2021, three Afghan women reconnect with each other and fellow climbers in Yosemite.

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The non-profit Ascend started as a way to give women around the world access to climbing-based leadership training. But when the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021, the program pivoted to resettlement, eventually helping 134 Afghans find new homes around the world.

Now Patagonia has captured the story of three of those refugees — Mina Bakhshi, Haniya Tavasoli, and Rabia Hussain — in a powerful new short film called Ascend. The video follows the women as they reunite in the Yosemite Valley at the invitation of two Yosemite Search and Rescue climbers: Merryn Venugopal and Michelle Pellette.

As it chronicles the week of climbing that follows, Ascend becomes a powerful meditation on sisterhood and the powerful connections that climbing can foster. Don’t miss it.

Runtime: 20 minutes

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