Climb on the biblical Mount Ararat
About the journey
Ararat, biblical mountain, is with 5165m by far highest peak in Turkey and lays in the very east of the country near border with Iran and Armenia. I had it on my climbing list for a very long time and in the end of June i finally did hit it to climb.

Countries visited: Turkey
Travelperiod: 6 - 7/2013
Photoblog
It was shortly past 11PM, when i landed in Istanbul. I survived the night at the airport and next day morning at 7AM, it didn't make sense to pay for a room in a hotel, so i crashed at bench inside of the domestic terminal and spent the night there. Next day morning i'm in Erzurum and continue by bus to Dogubayazit, which lays right below Ararat, near border with Iran.
bus ride from Erzurum to Dogubayazit... first view of Ararat
bus ride from Erzurum to Dogubayazit... first view of Ararat
Ishak Pasha Palace near Dogubayazit
Ishak Pasha Palace near Dogubayazit

Following day i explored famous local sight - Ishak Pasha Palace and most importantly i sorted out the bureaucratic hurdles tied to climb on Ararat (unfortunately there is a certain red tape - one needs a permit and a guide). And i got lucky, since we will be just group of three people, which i more than prefer over a large organised crowd (which is usual here).

his majesty - Mount Ararat
his majesty - Mount Ararat
starting the climb at 2100m
starting the climb at 2100m

In the morning a van drives us (myself, Atila and our guide Adem) from Dogubayazit, over a vast plain below the mountain, where we are dropped at 2070m. From there it's a long walk up with heavy backpack (mine was close to 25 kgs) up to Base Camp at 3350m.

view to the south from 3150m
view to the south from 3150m
Ararat Base Camp - 3345m
Ararat Base Camp - 3345m
walking up to C1, view towards Dogubayazit, on horizon is Tendurek Dagi 3542m
walking up to C1, view towards Dogubayazit, on horizon is Tendurek Dagi 3542m
Camp 1 and Ararat summit above
Camp 1 and Ararat summit above

Next day morning is wonderful. After breakfast we clean up the camp and start walk up to C1 at 4150m.

at 4300m, looking down to C1 and plains below Ararat
at 4300m, looking down to C1 and plains below Ararat
in Camp 1, Little Ararat (3923m) behind me
in Camp 1, Little Ararat (3923m) behind me

Camp 1 are three small plateaus at 4090m, 4120m and 4170m and we grab spots on the middle one. Spending rest of the day cooking, filtering water, sleeping and making a short walk above the camp to 4300m.

evening view to the East, Ararat throws it's shadow to the sky
evening view to the East, Ararat throws it's shadow to the sky
climbing nightmare... mountain path traffic jam at 2:30 AM
climbing nightmare... mountain path traffic jam at 2:30 AM

Night was almost sleepless. The altitude plays the role. The wake up call is at 1 AM and at 2 AM we start the climb. There is already a row (well over 40 pieces) of headtorches ahead of us. The pace of all the groups ahead of us is pretty slow, so we are overtaking and above 4600m taking the lead.

natural masterpiece... Ararat mountain throws giant shadow
natural masterpiece... Ararat mountain throws giant shadow
summit gets visible again at around 4800m
summit gets visible again at around 4800m

With sunrise the views are getting fascinating - Ararat throws a giant triangle shape shadow on the plains towards the west.

glacier begins at 4950m, summit on the right
glacier begins at 4950m, summit on the right
at 5050m, almost there
at 5050m, almost there

Last stretch is an easy walk over a glacier plateau and final short steeper slope to the summit, which we reach as first at 6:40 AM. Brilliant weather, clear sky, nice views, but a very strong wind forces us to start descent after just a few minutes on the top.

shortly prior reaching summit, view on the glacier plateau
shortly prior reaching summit, view on the glacier plateau
on top of Ararat, 5165m
on top of Ararat, 5165m
yupeeee
yupeeee
view from the summit towards Iran... on the right Little Ararat
view from the summit towards Iran... on the right Little Ararat

Upon return to C1, we pack all our stuff and the descent continues - we want to get back to Dogubayazit same day evening. It takes many hours to get down to van waiting for us at 2000m. Five minutes after i reached it, a heavy storm arrives.

looking back during descent
looking back during descent
storm is coming
storm is coming

The next day was a 100 % rest day - wandering around town, visiting turkish bath and taking short ride to border post with Iran and back.

in the streets of Dogubayazit
in the streets of Dogubayazit
leaving Dogubayazit...
leaving Dogubayazit...

After success on Ararat i decided to scale Erciyes Dagi (3917m), an extinct volcano near Kayseri in Central Anatolia.

mountains near Erzincan
mountains near Erzincan
in Kayseri, Mount Erciyes Dagi on the right
in Kayseri, Mount Erciyes Dagi on the right

It was 3:30 AM when we reached Kayseri. I did not feel well and was having a light fever. In the end i resigned to do the climb, just wandered around the city and late in the afternoon took a bus to Istanbul.

next day morning, good old Istanbul... cargo vessels passing Bosporus Strait
next day morning, good old Istanbul... cargo vessels passing Bosporus Strait
Recep Tayip Erdogan takes care of you... water cannons first, then tear gas (tourists get both too... for free)
Recep Tayip Erdogan takes care of you... water cannons first, then tear gas (tourists get both too... for free)

Already in Istanbul, when walking around (together with bunch of other tourists and locals) Galata Tower, Erdogan's (PM of Turkey) police did bucket down major shopping street with water cannons and just to make the action brilliant teargassed the whole neighborhood. Well done, you islamic communist!

evening on Galata Bridge
evening on Galata Bridge
ferry leaves from nowadays closed Haydarpasa Railway Station
ferry leaves from nowadays closed Haydarpasa Railway Station

Next day was solely about wandering around, taking a ferry to Asian side and back... In the evening i'm moving to the airport and at 4:30 AM (yep, luxurious departure time) with together another 8 passangers only, taking a flight to Zurich. Zurich security checks are pain as usual. Then follows a short flight to Prague, which is also final dot of the whole trip.

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