Day 1: Doğubeyazıt to Base Camp, 3200m
Ararat – The Ultimate Climbing Guide: All You Need To Know
Ararat – Gear Guide: All You Need For A Successful Climb
The First Section: Doğubeyazıt to First Plateau
The climb of Ararat started in the middle of nowhere, at a tiny settlement in the heart of the desert lands, 45min away from the town of Doğubeyazıt.
Following a bumpy road for the first hour, the track soon turned into a small path, which then steeply climbed up the mountain. The barren, dry lands didn’t allow for much vegetation, hot temperatures and sunny weather fit perfectly into the scenery. We climbed for a couple of hours through grasslands and rocky passages until we reached a first plateau. A small lake was located in its center, a lonely Sheppard sitting on its shores, starring at the distant horizon, not moving.
It was quiet, only the wind roaming through the grasslands was creating some kind of monotone sound. There weren’t any birds nor crickets interrupting the humming noise of the moving culms.
I was sitting on a rock, eating a few dried dates, breathing in the fresh mountain air, which created a nice break from the heat. All of a sudden, a dog came running, barking at us, followed by a Sheppard. When he realized we were climbers, only crossing the area on our way to Base Camp, the Sheppard called back his dog. He didn’t speak a single word English, but moved his hands, indicating that we should follow him.
We walked up a steep hill on the left side of the plateau, where a camp became visible. In front of the white linen tent, a few other Shepherds. They were smiling at is, got some chairs ready and offered us tea. We happily had a cup, sitting there, smiling back at them. Nobody was talking, but you could immediately tell, they were excited to have us there.
Once we had finished the cup of tea, we continued the climb. It was easy terrain, sometimes difficult to navigate though. We reached Base Camp a few hours later. The weather had changed higher up, and right before a thunderstorm hit we were able to set up our tent. I felt good, motivated and well acclimatized.
The Second Section: First Plateau to Base Camp
We set up the tent at Ararat Base Camp, a quite busy place. Lots of tents were already there, providing shelter to the climbers and hikers from the approaching thunderstorm. We had a lot of time before dinner and spent the afternoon roaming around BC, taking photos. When dusk arrived the skies were lighting up in the most beautiful colors. The sun was casting it’s golden light on the barren landscapes.
A big dog was one of the main permanent residents of BC. Its task was to protect the camp from bears and wolves, which are common on Ararat’s steep slope.
It’s important to respect those animals, we as humans are entering their natural habitat and not vise versa.
Dinner was simple, some noodles and flatbread with vegetables. Things are easy in the mountains, where supply is scarce.
After we had eaten, we went straight to our tent, hoping to get some sleep before the next part of the climb to high camp shall start.
The night, however, was quite intense. The thunderstorm finally hit, noisy and windy, lighting bolts were illuminating the skies. The wind was shaking our small tent. Sometime around 3am the storm eased, the stars became visible again.
I woke up at 7am, feeling so happy that I was able to get some hours of sleep. When I left the tent, I realized that no one else was awake yet. How weird. I walked around for an hour, no breakfast, no coffee. Then I checked my phone again. Appearently it was set to flight mode, therefore the displayed time didn’t adjust to the current time zone. In fact, it was only 6am. Which meant, I didn’t sleep at all ha ha ha 🙂 but at least I was able to watch the sunrise, I had the entire BC for myself. It was a beautiful morning, the air was refreshing, the weather was looking good.
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