One of the highlights of my very short visit to Armenia was climbing Mt Aragats.
We got to the summit of its southern peak, which is at 3,879m/12,726 ft. I was not alone. All credit goes to my guide Artsrun, without which none of this would have been possible.
Remember (you knew – didn’t you) Yerevan is quite high up – 1,390 m (4,560 ft) in the part I was staying in. The car park is not at the bottom of the mountain. We climbed a lot less than the full height of the peak.
On the other hand, oxygen is starting to get scarce at those heights. It was hard going near the top.
It is a hike rather than any kind of mountaineering exploit, but I would not have attempted it without a guide. The mountain is an extinct volcano, and has four main peaks. The others are not for the likes of me – mountaineering stuff. It is a 90 minutes drive from the city centre.
We had a beautiful day for it, and it was much cooler than previous days at 20C. In fact Artsrun reckons we had the best conditions he has ever seen.
I made the arrangements through Armenian Geographic, and they were excellent. I was picked up from and dropped off at the front door of my apartment building. The cost was US$120. The price included Artsrun’s services and the transport.
The only bit of the whole thing which was a bit tricky was paying them. They expect payment by bank transfer. By the time I learned they do not take credit cards, I had already left home – without the card reader I need for transfers. In the end I had to take the cash out of an ATM in Yerevan, and get the bank to pay it into their account.
I have enjoyed some great climbs in the Alps, and Mt Kilimanjaro was one of those once in a lifetime moments. Getting up Mt Aragats was an amazing experience I will always cherish.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2019