Climbing Mount Aragats

It’s 4am. My alarm clock wakes me up. I hear another alarm clock in the room next to me. Ani, my host for the last night wanted to wake up herself to let my out. Today I’m going to climb the highest mountain of Armenia. Mount Aragats. I was already imagining standing on its top at 4090m above sea level while I wasn’t even fully dressed yet. But the path to the top is long and damn hard.

So Ani let me out of her apartment and I picked up Anush at her home. We had to be at the gathering point in Yerevan at 5am. From there a bus would bring us the starting point. During the bus trip we passed a famous Armenian site. 39 giant, carved Armenian letters are placed in a field next to the road. It’s a monument to celebrate the 1600th birthday of the Armenian alphabet.

The bus brought us, after 2 hours of avoiding the worst potholes where possible, to the start of our adventure. At a height of 3000m, we had breakfast and started walking.

After climbing a few hours, we arrived on the edge between two mountain peaks. From there we had a view on the northern peak, our final destination, and the valley in between. A good place for a group picture!

I guess we were at an altitude of 3500m there, but before we could climb further op to the northern peak of 4090m, we had to descend into the volcanic valley.

At this point, I realised that I was getting a headache that became stronger and stronger. And Appaerently, I wasn’t the only one. I’m not sure if I can call it altitude sickness but it made climbing up even more difficult. As you can see on the pictures, there’s no path to the top. Only loose rocks. Every step we walked up, we slide down half a step. But don’t get me wrong, I still loved it!

And then it was dark. Only a few of us brought a flashlight. While no-one told us to bring one. There was no path. Only big loose lava rocks on which it’s – even by daylight – difficult to walk on. Luckily, some of our group returned earlier to the bus and were giving signs with their lights so we had a bit of an idea what direction to keep.

14 hours after leaving the bus we finally managed to take place in the bus again. It  was without doubt the hardest walk I had ever done but also the most spectacular and rewarding. I don’t think I’ll soon forget about this day. The day we climbed Mount Aragats, the roof of Armenia.

That night I could sleep at Anush her home. Her brother offered me half of his bed. I’ve never been so happy with a bed.
Tomorrow I’ll be back on my own. Anush has to work and I want to explore the southern Armenia.