Mount Ararat

Trekking to the summit of Mt Ararat

This huge, snow capped volcano is Europe’s answer to Kilimanjaro. It offers a tough but straightforward expedition style ascent. No technical climbing skills are required for the climb, but crampons and a walking axe are needed.

Underfoot conditions will vary from easy trails through the upland meadow to zig-zag paths on volcanic scree and low angled snow slopes. It’s the perfect climb for high altitude beginners, people building-up to bigger-and-badder objectives and general mountain groovers.

Local authorities will only allow Mt Ararat to be climbed from the south via Eli Village. After spending the night at Dogubayazıt, we use three campsites higher up the mountain on our way to the summit; Green Camp (3200m), Winter High Camp (3700m) Second Camp (4200m).

Gorilla Mountaineering is the only expedition out-fitter offering this extended programme which is designed to tackle the altitude and acclimatisation problems associated with the standard ascent route.

Green Camp is reached by a pleasant and easy angled path. It is located in a grassy meadow where melt water is available for washing and cooking.

A much steeper, rocky path leads up to the higher camps. Conditions here are more rudimentary  and tents are pitched on rocky, often snow covered ground. It is quite common to experience snowfall at this elevation even in the summer.

After an alpine start from Camp 2, a steep and winding track takes climbers to the summit. At around 4900m rock gives way to permanent snow and ice and you will need to use crampons and an ice axe to proceed further. The route will first take you to the Inönü peak and then on to the main summit.

Day 1 Arrive at Van airport, it’s a 2 ½ hr drive to Dogubeyazit, the nearest town to Ararat. Van is usually reached via an internal flight from Istanbul. Hotel.

Day 2 Drive to the trailhead, then trek to Green Camp at 3200m. Our baggage will be carried by horses or mules.The campsite is situated on a green meadow site and tents are pitched in the lea of drystone walls.  Approx trekking time 5hrs, ascent 1000m.

Day 3 To aid acclimatisation we trek to Camp 2 at 4200m, take lunch and then back-track to Winter Hıgh Camp at 3700m for the night. This helps us adjust to high altitude. Approx trekking time 6hrs. 1000m ascent, 500m descent.

Day 4 Today we trek back up to Camp 2, where we spend the night. This far up the mountain, the landscape becomes more barren, with less vegetation than lower down. From this camp, we have good views of the cone of Little Mount Ararat (3896m) which rises up to the south-east, separated from its bigger neighbour by the so-called 'lava plateau'. 3hrs trekking, 500m of ascent.

Day 5 After a very early start, we climb to the summit of Mt Ararat (5165m). While this is not a technically difficult climb, it does require good physical fitness and stamina. From about 4900m glaciers and perennial snows replace rock and scree and crampons are required. The upper slopes of Ararat are permanently snow-covered but present no significant technical difficulties. On top of Ararat, we can enjoy views across the Eastern ranges of Turkey and across into Armenia and Iran. After tagging the summit, we begin our descent to Eli, where transport wıll be waiting to take us to Dogubeyazıt. 1000m of ascent followed by 3000m of descent. Hotel.

Day 6 Spare day for bad weather or a tour of the local cultural sites. Hotel.

Day 7 Transfer to Van airport and return home.