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Expedition to Ararat

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Author: Victor Tkachev, 35, Dnipro, Ukraine
Teamleader: Taras Pozdnii
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Day Zero is a great opportunity to get to the start of the hike a little earlier, take a break from flying, and get to know part of the group, the guide (but we've known the guide for a long time))))

Day Zero is a great opportunity to get to the start of the hike a little earlier, take a break from flying and get to know part of the group, the guide (but we’ve known the guide for a long time))))
What can I say – and the whole world is still flying. And I as a person with a fairly pronounced aerophobia – I missed the planes) so I flew to Istanbul with pleasure!

In Istanbul, and in general in Turkey – immediately understand the difference in the approach to quarantine between us and them. I do not want to discuss how to do it right – but their quarantine begins with yourself. You’re immediately reprimanded for your mask, for keeping your distance in line for coffee. All contact surfaces are really disinfected at minimal time intervals. Huge amounts of sanitizers are readily available at the airport, coffee shops, hotel.

Next is the domestic flight to the city of Van, actually bordering Iran. Usually all of our mountains start from a hostel or Ivano-Frankovsk station; and here we are living in a Hilton for the price of a caravan in Kirillovka)

Today we are moving to the mountains, to the village with the “romantic” name Dogubayazit, meeting the full group and the FIRST DAY OF EXPEDITION) Lets go!

Ararat Expedition. Day 1

The main result of the day is that we saw the mountain for the first time. It was fantastically beautiful Ararat.

Not particularly tiring day, pleasant communication, interesting new acquaintances. We were convinced once again that bad people don’t go to the mountains.)

We remember the day with beautiful waterfalls and …. great food. For such a meat-eater and a fan of charcoal grill like me – Turkey – just a gastro capital!) Builders of our hotel surprised a bit)

The mood is fighting, begins a real hiking life – camp, tents, sleeping in sleeping bags. The most interesting thing ahead! Let’s go!

Expedition Ararat. Base camp. 3300 meters. Day 2

Here comes the beginning of the active phase of the trip. I missed long hikes, high mountains and life in tents.)

The ascent was not easy – it was more than a kilometer high. Yes, and the altitude of 3300 for the first night makes itself felt – normal cartoons from the mountain sickness begins).

The first time for all the ascents we were in such a great base camp. By the way, the fact that Ararat is the only accessible peak – the number of the top climbers in the base camp is going off the scale.

Tomorrow we will try to acclimatize better, climb to 4000 meters and go back. The most interesting part is just beginning))) Let’s go!

Ararat Expedition. Acclimatization at 4150 meters.

Incredibly positive day!)

Everything started with a very detailed breakfast. Not only had I never seen such a breakfast in the mountains, but not even in every restaurant. Fresh bread (where do you get it for 3300?)), Nutella, cream cheese, three kinds of olives, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs and a lot of Turkish sweets. I’m sure I forgot something else)) at this rate on the hike, not only will I not lose weight, but I will gain)))

Next – a walk to the assault camp. The altitude was a little less than 1000 meters, good symptoms of the mountain sickness. And it was very sad to go down, because we had to go up again tomorrow. But we should not neglect acclimatization, as it is rather accelerated here. Feeling ourselves in general according to the conditions))).

In the evening we had a dinner and a time of amazing stories from Taras Late. You really admire his optimism and the ease with which he describes his adventures on Everest and other mountains. We got more than 100 percent motivation!)

Tomorrow we move to the assault camp, because it is time for the decisive events in our expedition. Let’s go!

Ararat Expedition. Day 4. Assault Camp 4150

Well, the day has come when we should gather our forces and set off to the summit! By the time you are reading this we will be climbing / crawling / creeping on the summit of Ararat. For us the day of ascent will start exactly at midnight, we hope for your support))))

In the meantime we reached the second camp, which we already visited yesterday. But now we did not go back to the base camp. We walked about 100 meters more upward. We had breakdown at 18:00, to try to sleep, or at least to lie down.

We expected deterioration of the weather. There was even a thought to go on the storm at once, but still 2000 meters of elevation gain for one day – too much. So let’s hope that tomorrow at least the first half of the day will not present us cataclysms, and the weather will allow us to climb and see something. The most interesting is ahead! Let’s go!

ARARAT EXPEDITION. Peak. 5137 meters.

Start at night in subzero temperatures in the middle of the summer – this is already a victory! Get out of the sleeping bag, out of the tent, into the night and go somewhere, it is already half of the success on the summit).

There was no point in telling about the ascent. It was a personal experience of overcoming yourself. The weather forecast for deterioration, unfortunately, was fully justified. In addition to beating ourselves we had to beat the weather, which was getting worse by the hour. When you go at night to the assault, you wait for the sunrise which will give you strength. That day we did not see a sunrise; we just saw grayness instead of black in the cloud in which we were going, and we realized that the sun had risen.

But the mountains – not only a place for effort, but also a place for miracles) Exactly a miracle can be called the fact that in the middle of the storm, with a visibility of not more than a few dozen meters, we climbed to the top and saw the sun and at least some kind of top view.

What can I say about the summit? You have to experience it. You have to experience the adrenaline, the joy, the euphoria that fills you. That charge with energy and happiness, and betrays the meaning of all those burdens and deprivations which you have gone through on the storm.

By the way, there was an idea of going up in a vyshyvanka. You know, the first embroidered vest on Ararat. It was in this vest with embroidered ornaments made by my grandmother that I went up to the assault. However, after evaluating the weather I realized that I would become not only the first person to wear vyshyvankas on the mountain but also the first person to get frozen in an embroidery jacket on Ararat, so I never took it off.

Next – the descent and dropping of 2000 meters, rain, hail and snow in the assault and base camp. But it didn’t embarrass me, because the summit was behind me))

ARARAT EXPEDITION. Cherries on the cake)!

Going to the mountains, the first thing you think about is the mountains. This is the main goal and task. But not only mountains we lived in this campaign))! To understand a foreign land, to see the sights, to feel a foreign culture – this is the “cherry on the cake” of our expedition.

I cannot close the story about Ararat without showing you the sights of a very specific Kurdistan, where many cultures and traditions are mingled.
Well, and Istanbul – the city that is impossible to forget) City, which strikes you everything. As they say in the old movie – Istanbul, the city of contrasts).

That was our adventure. It is finished, finished with a victory. A journey that anticipates expectations. But, of course, there will be more to come) Let’s go!

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