Anel Čolo is 24 and an enthusiast of mountain biking and alpinism, and these are his hobbies. Another of his hobbies, but – as he himself put it – the main one, is computers, technology and programming. Exactly because he spends so much time in front of a computer, he looked for a relaxation activity and mountain biking and alpinism turned out to be ideal. I found out about him thanks to the film „Mission Ascent“, as he is one of its authors, and the film showcases the beauty of Goražde and its environs.
I have been fortunate to work with an organization that employs people from all over the world. Literally, they come from all over, from America, to China… Still today I work as a translator with them. And at one point they said: „Let’s start with a little bit of biking, and let’s have a go at alpinism.“ Because nothing had existed before, in this community. We have a mountaineering club which is doing mountaineering, but they only do hikes and they are not into alpinism and alpine climbing, which is a bit more advanced and more extreme.
So, in 2014, we decided to invite some of our friends from Poland, to create climbing routes here in Ustiprača, which is a town near Goražde, as well as on Mt. Klek. And once they did it, we wanted to produce a video, i.e. a documentary, which was called „Mission Klek“ in 2014, just to show people what we developed on Mt. Klek.
It turned out that did not attract much attention. Put simply, people are scared of mines, they are afraid of injuries, so in 2014 we also organised camps for children, for teenagers, to show them what is out there and where they can find outdoor activities, from biking to alpinism.
So we took them to Ustiprača. We did not take them to Mt. Klek, because, up there, considerably more experience is needed, going through a course and exercise. I was there with a few friends and instructors, we maintained equipment and took care of the children. They liked it. There were kids who said, „No, I can’t climb, I’m afraid.“ We enticed them, „Try to climb one meter. Just one meter, just put on the harness, the equipment and the helmet, and try one meter.“ And then they liked it so much that they would climb not one, but 10 meters, all the way up. Because it was a small rock, 10-15 meters.
Our plan is, and that’s why we made this latest video, „Mission Ascent“, and held a course with friends from different parts of the world – we want to attract more young people, both young and old, to join us.
So, Goražde has considerable potential in alpinism?
Yes, there is a great deal of potential, however, because of mines and unexploded ordnance left from the war, some paths are difficult to access. However, as regards the paths that have been cleared, routes can already be marked, so there is a lot of potential. We have only two routes in the immediate area, but there is potential for much more.
You are doing all this on your own initiative?
Yes, on our own initiative, without budget, without any sponsors. Simply, we enjoy nature. We realized the potential that exists and we told ourselves – let’s do it. There are about a dozen of us, we have equipment and we just go climbing.
In principle, it might become part of the regular tourist offer?
Certainly, this could be an important tourist attraction, because there are many people in Europe, in our vicinity, who are active climbers. Many people are into this and it would be great if thiw would become popular here.
Are you thinking about leaving Goražde, do you wish to go abroad?
Well, since I am already doing so much for the town, for its people, I believe people should stay. we should strengthen what we have. Certainly, it all depends on employment because, as I mentioned, programming is very well paid and lucrative work, so that you can do it from home. In other words, you can do programming for some firm somewhere else, and still be here.
So you love Goražde, and you love living here?
Of course, it’s beautiful. We have so many trails, I like cycling and I rode my bike for some 3,000-3,500 km. I really love Goražde, and not just Goražde, but all of Bosnia. I visited so many towns, and we are planning to take our bikes and visit still more of them.