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 The 2001 Ararat Peace Climb

Ararat from the North

Update from 7/27/2001: Note is Part One of the Summit Report from Marcelo Arbelaez & Fernando Gonzales Rubio

Well, we could say that we are now in the "far east" of Turkey, after a long trip that has brought us to Mount Ararat.  We have found here five climbers from different countries, with whom we have formed the team of "Everest climbers" as they call us;  this is because we have all reached the highest summit of the world, which has been an indispensable requisite to be part of Ararat 2001 Expedition, "for peace around the world".  They are David Keaton from USA, Swee Chiow from Singapore, Ricardo Torres from Mexico, Nasuh Mahruki and Tunc Findik.

With our five teammates we have made the approach and ascent to 3600 masl (meters above sea level) on the mountain, from where we will make the final climb to the summit following the NE ridge, a path that has no records of being ascended before.

We begin our trip to the mountain from Igdir, a city located at 850 masl, where we gathered our supply of food and some other things.  We took the road to the East to Azerbaijan and after 40 km we took a detour south heading the mountain.  After a trip of 2:30 hours we got to a radio and TV repeater station where a military base is located.  We were received there with a lot of hospitality and attention by the members of the Turkish army, who wanted to take pictures with us, specially with Nasuh, who has a great prestige in this country for being the first Turkish to have reached the summits of Everest and K2.

We were transported in army trucks on a path that had been specially fixed for our access, because common traffic is rare in this place, except for the military vehicles.  At an altitude of 1,990 masl we found an excellent valley to install base camp, although with no water in sight; it was then when members of the army took the job of bringing water in barrels from the military base for our supply and for the AKUT group who was also with us.

We left the next day with the will to install an altitude camp at 4,000 meters; on the ascent Swee had dehydration problems because of the high temperature and the lack of water; Fercho was in the front and he 
advanced to 3,200 masl without the possibility of obtaining any water, thus we took the decision of installing a camp at 2,680 m next to a small water spring, which we fixed to collect the water more easily.

In the afternoon we had the surprise of the arrival to that place of the Turkey Minister of Sports, Mr. Fikret Unlu, who was with people of the Mountain Turkish Federation and some journalists, who went back after
interviewing every member of the team.  For us this was unusual, however we were told that the Minister wanted to be in the event, because he considered it of high importance to the sports in this country, besides being him also an excellent mountaineer.

On the 26th we left early and climbed to 3650 meters, where we installed our second camp on the NE ridge, because we found there a creek coming down from the glacier, our first water source in the ascent.  That afternoon it rained and our tent was flooded because we did not have a top cover on it, so Fercho and me went to an small cave on the mountain side, which we fixed to make room for both of us.  At dusk, Nasuh and Tunc made room in their tents, asking us to spend the night with them; it was then when while organizing our stuff to go to their tent, in a slip, Fercho's sleeping bag rolled down the mountain beyond our lamps reach, and although we went down to look for it for about of two hours in the dark, it was not possible to find it.  We went back to camp and we spent a difficult night because of the uncomfort and the cold, but it was quick, because at 3:30 AM we woke up to organize the day for the ascent to the summit.

Marcelo Arbelaez & Fernando Gonzales Rubio

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