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A review of the trip to Ararat

Author: Victor Timchenko, Markkleeberg, Germany
Teamleader: Maxym Khomiakevych
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The trip to Ararat was behind me. I had already been home for a few days and was giving my bones a rest when I read the news: 5 alpinists were killed on Elbrus at an altitude of 5,200-5,400 meters above sea level.

What? How? Falled into the river? The mountain sickness? Weather? Frozen?

A human tragedy. They, like us, went to get out of the constant social stress. Three times to test their strength. Rest in good company. Have unforgettable experiences.

The result – five dead bodies. Young people – 30, 40 years old. I can’t think about anything…

That is why I think back to our peak.

Ararat is a little lower – 5137 meters. Also not an easy path. At the beginning – the glacier, kicks on your feet and go.

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Fatigue. Today we go not only uphill, but downhill as well. 1000 meters vertically for the day, glad when we made it. But Maxim, our leader and a good genius, he us down from the mountain. So it is necessary. This is one of the necessary conditions of acclimatization. Acclimatize, get used to the mountain climate and air marriage, is necessary, so that not developed mountain sickness, which no one is insured.

I have in the medicine cabinet “drugs” for this disease. They have only one drawback – they do not always help everyone. That is why they remain untreated, and I walk uphill and downhill together with the group, downhill and downhill again.

I don’t want to fall ill with a “heart attack” – with lung inflammation and brain inflammation, and often with a fatal end.

The investigation into the tragedy in the Caucasus has not yet been completed. But the 39-year-old mountaineer from Yakutia on Elbrus became ill already at a height of 5000 meters, before the accident. She went down together with her husband, which was the only way to escape in case of mountain sickness, but she lost her consciousness and died on the way.

From what? For mountain disease does not start with 5000 meters. Some begin to vomit and become aggressive (symptoms!) Even at 2500.

I’m at home on the couch and I thank Maksim for driving us up and down, but at least nobody got sick, nobody got broken on the way and didn’t break their legs, and hands, because all of them, the whole group, reached the summit and saw the sun in the foggy sea, the thin ice and other mountains – under themselves. “Under”, because Ararat is the highest peak in Turkey.

I met Maxim on his Facebook page. Frankly speaking, I have a great choice: many German and Austrian companies take me to Ararat. I have been living in Germany for a long time now, so there would be no language problems…

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I am not just looking for a company that will take me to the top. I am looking for a RELIABLE, SERIOUS firm.

I am 68 years old. Greek experience is three, but not at 5000 meters. And there is not only “mining”, there simply from the lack of air you can “cackle” and not get up. At this altitude there is much less sourness in the air than at the level. If you fly up there on a helicopter and lie on the top on the couch, you still have to breathe twice as often – to get a significant amount of sourness. But I want to do it without a helikopter, but with my feet. With my feet. With my own two hands. With even a small backpack. With important boots, with “kishki”, with two sticks. Wrapped up in warm clothes, because at the summit in the middle of November the temperature is below zero, and the wind is windy. So you feel cold not only from lack of air, but also from the unremitting physical stress.

I wrote: breathe twice as often. There is another technically correct comparison: be aware that at this height you have not two lungs, but only one … Brrr …

I do not want to try to go, but to go. So I am looking for a great company – not nice guys, not zirvigoliv, not “the sea to the knee,” and the experience and vidovidnost.

I’ll make a remark: I said that I want to reach the summit – but not for any price. I promised myself that as soon as I notice that I am too weak, that “something is wrong” with me, I will go straight down – without “in character”, without “sinking my teeth” into the mountain. I know it does not sound romantic, but my health and safety came first. The beauty of the mountains, nature, the endless sky – on the other. Courage, goodness, manliness and courage – on the last one.

A week after our return Elbrus showed us that it was the right philosophy: there the group had already broken the storm schedule, they knew that bad weather was coming, but they still headed uphill. And the leaders did not stop them. They didn’t stop them from denying their hopes… But they took them there. As it turned out – to death.

Five dead bodies.

In one of the posts on FB, our “snow leopard” Maxim wrote about “the ability to turn around at the right time” – the right ability, which many, as it seems, was not enough.

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Maksim is a young man. But he has already been not only in Turkey, but also in Norway, Tibet and the Tien Shan – complex tourist routes, difficult mountaineering events. In his younger years he has already spent over 600 tourists on various routes. Without qualifications. No problem.

I had confidence in him. And in the mountains is not insignificant.

Maxim works in the Ukrainian tourist club “Kuluar”. As I have already said, I chose “Kuluar” not because there were no others. Were and are, but …

Once I went by Carpathian Mountains, and already down in Ivano-Frankivsk, I told a cab driver about the three not-so-great. The cab driver looked at me angrily and promulgated: “You have to go with “Kuluar”.

From that time on, I looked closer to “Kuluar”. The set of routes amazed me – Portugal, Turkey, Nepal, Eastern and Western America, Africa, the Alps, Central Asia… The point here is not in the geography, but in the fact that the experience is gained not only in the Carpathians. Absolutely super Internet site, a lot of useful and very detailed information, a lot of stories about the mountains – and not only about the beauty and landscapes, but also about technical and physical difficulties. The head of the club – not just a money-grubber, which “untwists the business. (Once again, back to Elbrus: one of the experts of the case, when asked why the uninformed group was led to a high mountain in the “off-season”, when the risk of a sharp change in the weather is very high, said simply and understandably: “We wanted to make more money.) So, given that any tour bureau – business, I had the impression that the money still cost for the “Kuluar” after their love for the mountains. And the head of the company does not drink beer in the Maldives, but goes to Everest.

For me it was important. That I was not just a client with a Hamantz, but a member of the team.

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…We all returned from Ararat happier than we had been before. The excitement of the Gory will accompany each of us for many years, ten years, all of our lives.

Thank you to all those who shared with me the joy of the summit. Thank you to a kind but fair Maksim for his quiet, unshowy ability to lead and be responsible for people. Thank you, “Kuluar”!.

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