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 The 2001 Ararat Peace Climb

Fernando Gonzalez-Rubio: 2001 Ararat Peace Climb Member

Update from 7/24/2001: At 5:00 in the afternoon, Saturday, July 21st, we left on an Air France flight to Paris, two Colombians who will be representing our country in the "ARARAT 2001 PEACE CLIMB" expedition.  Then after a little more than 9 hours of flight we got to Paris where we waited another 7 hours in transit to take the flight to Istanbul.  Finally, and after four hours we got to our final destination; it was 11:50 PM.  We were received by Onur and Aidan - two young students -, who took us to the hotel where we rested just two hours because at 4:30 AM we had to leave to the airport to take a flight to Ankara and Kars.  Another four hours of flight to meet some members of AKUT (Turkish Search and Rescue Association) with whom we traveled three more hours to Igdir.  There we finally found our expedition teammates, foreign like us, and with them we left to the Mountain in several vehicles.  At 4 PM we were in front of our objective, Mount Ararat, also called Mount Agri by the Christians or Mount Cudi by the Muslims.

We did not imagine such a remote place; after traveling in four different airplanes and a few more hours by car, there it was, beautiful.

The climbing teammates are all of a high technical level, and in spite of our fatigue because of the will to come and the change of hours, we started to know each other, and we saw that they are excellent people. Everybody of different nationalities; There are climbers from United States, Mexico, Singapore, Turkey, and us, the Colombians. We have all climbed Everest, which was a requisite to go to this expedition. Breaking the barriers of language with signs and smiles, we have begun to know each other and to create a joint strategy to try to summit. The first thing we have to do is to acclimate, to avoid health inconveniences, then we ascended from 2,000 meters to 3,300 and we came back to 1,800 meters above sea level.  We are finishing the preparation of logistics to avoid errors since we don't have but one chance of ascent because access is very restricted, even for the Turkish.

The Mountain is an inactive volcano that reaches 5,137 meters, we have to install an intermediate camp and try to summit. Since we don't have yaks or porters, we have to take everything on our backs and although we try to take out everything that is not indispensable, our load is 25 kilos by person.

The Mountain is surrounded by an intense green that fades in the volcanic sand that turns reddish, until getting to a huge cracked and dangerous glacier that gets to the summit.

Marcelo Arbelaez and Fernando Gonzalez-Rubio. Ararat Expedition 2001 Peace Climb. Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera 

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