Society 19:25 12/09/2020 Armenia

How I was saved when I decided to climb Mount Aragats

It all started when Facebook reminded me of my 2015 post, which was a promise to myself that I would definitely climb Mount Aragats that year. 5 years had passed since the promise, but the goal remained unfulfilled. “You can’t do it", "It’s very difficult", "You won’t make it to the peak", "Go to the pool, if you want to relax": I kept being told by the people who have never conquered heights and are unfamiliar with the pleasure of climbing to the top of a mountain especially after much difficulty. To be honest, I cry in those moments.

The climb was scheduled for Sunday. I had been going through a difficult time, due to which my thoughts were simply suppressed to an extent that I was no longer afraid of any insurmountable height. I was only thinking of going far away and leaving the heavy burden of my soul on the mountains and rocks, especially when it was impossible to change anything else!

I registered for the trip. I was required to be in the Republic Square at 7am. Having spent a few sleepless nights, I stayed asleep that morning to only wake up by the guide's call to find out where I was. Naturally, I said I was on my way. Before I got there, I wondered if the group would leave without me, although I was only 9 minutes late. They had not gone, but none of them was particularly happy to see me, except for one of the guides, the blue-eyed Tatyana. I decided to follow her throughout the trip. We began the ascent near Lake Kari. To my delight, Artyom, the strictest of the guides, was walking in front of the group, while Tatyana was walking behind us for no one to lose the way.

As a slow walker, I always walk behind the group while climbing a mountain. But during the climb a girl twisted her leg and Artyom had to leave the role of leader to Tatyana to provide medical care to her and walk behind the group. So I decided to walk side by side to him at my own pace. To make things easier after the morning incident, I tried to talk to him so that he would not frown at me every time he looked at me. Besides, you need to have a good relationship with a person who has a camera in the hand.

"Are you always smiling or is it a holiday today?" I asked. I must admit, it was a terrible start, it would have been wiser to keep silent.

“Discipline and a sense of responsibility are among the most important things in mountaineering. It will be impossible to ensure security without them. The tendency to be late is the opposite of all these qualities. If you want the mountains to love you, you must follow the unwritten laws," said Artyom, understanding my point.

"And who do the mountains love? Who are the mountaineers?" I went on.

“Mountaineers are the most unique people, but my 11 years of work experience has shown that people with high IQ are attracted to this sport. Mountain lovers have a fantastic mindset and worldview; they have a rich inner world. It is these people who are connect to the mountains, dedicate themselves and think about where to go next at the end of each trip. This can be too much of a task for some people, who quit the climb. During a mountain climbing you can see places you don’t get to see anywhere else: lofty scenes, changing nature. The most important thing is to feel the relief of the earth under your legs, to see the layers, the gorges and the craters.”

By the way, the Aragats crater is the most wonderful I have ever seen. The highest peak of Armenia has a fantastic, attractive force and you do not even remember the difficulties encountered on the way. There is another pattern of climbing a mountain; the harder the climb, the more you get to love the mountain and the more powerful the views are. Among the difficulties of climbing Aragats, I should single out the slippery rocks, the soil, the burning sun rays, the entanglement in the dilemma of looking under your feet and enjoying the surroundings.

A few words about the rocks: there are “deceptive” rocks, which seem to be stable, but only after you put your foot on them will you know whether it was the right choice or not. Falls are possible, but “getting along with” the rocks running under your feet strengthens your soul and refines your mind. A heavy backpack, unprofessional mountaineering clothing and footwear make the climb harder, while a well-chosen backpack, clothing and trekking poles, which often save you from falling down, make the climb easier. But in any case, when you head towards a goal, in this case the desired peak, you will definitely find the strength to get up after a fall and continue your way. If you fail to recognize yourself on the mountains and to win yourself, then you will have a very hard time living with your defeated self. When you register for climbing a mountain, you must remember that you are signing up for your right to fight. You have to fight, you have to see frightening beauty, you have to restrain yourself or shout out, "Oh, what a beauty."



Many think that it takes a lot of physical strength to climb a mountain. I will say the opposite, you need a strength of mind and will. Despite my romantic approach, I must say that, for example, Artyom, for whom this is not only a pleasure but also a job, says that many times they have decided to cut short the climb due to adverse weather conditions.

"Nothing in the world can be more precious that human life. Even in case of a small danger, we always stop the ascent and return. The mountains will not run away, a mountain climb achieved after a few attempts can be even more precious,” Artyom says.

"Is it possible to climb Ararat? Is it very difficult?" I ask.

“There is nothing insurmountable and there is no mountain easy to climb. All you have to do is to prepare properly, understand what is expected, pre-acclimatize, pack the necessary items and set off.”

“And that's it?”

“No, of course, we have to agree with the local Kurds to arrange the climb.”

“And who climb Ararat most often?

“There are mainly two types of Ararat climbers: they are either fanatics, who aim to make it to the top of Ararat. They buy all the necessary items and register, it is more a pilgrimage for them, and there is a second group of hikers who just want to conquer the next height, the summit of a capricious mountain. There has been a love confession and a marriage proposal on the top of Ararat, in another case an old man realized his life dream and climbed Ararat.”

Climbing Mount Ararat

Love in the mountains...

The mountains are great educators and teachers who teach us to live, to move forward and to achieve new heights. The descend, unlike the ascent, is always smoother, as if with the contents of your backpack, which includes food and water, you have digested the heavy weight of your soul on the top of the mountain, and climb down with light heart.

Having climbed behind the group with heavy and slow steps, I did not even feel tired when I was walking down. I was happy, satisfied and I walked in front of the group. Even Artyom was kind and, to my surprise, he offered me to join them the very next day in climbing the new mountain they had discovered – Sevasar hidden in the mountains of Javakhk ...

On the way back to Yerevan I was silent, I retained in my head the mountain landscapes, the road full of large, massive rocks, the cones, the mountain slopes covered with lava from volcanic eruptions, the crater, the people clapping with trekking poles, the chamomiles growing on the rocks.

I do not know where you can be in more harmony with yourself and the surrounding world other than on the peak of a conquered mountain. I remember lying down, looking at the mighty mountain ranges in front of me and the crater and telling myself, “Congratulations, you are on the highest peak of Armenia, you can be proud of yourself, love yourself and conquer other mountains!”

Geghama Mountains, Mount Ara and Mount Hatis from northern peak of Aragats



Northern summit of Aragats



Northern summit of Aragats



View from southern summit of Aragats to northern summit 

Photos and videos from ArmLand.



Source Panorama.am
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