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 The 2001 Ararat Peace Climb

RICARDO TORRES-NAVA on Ararat

Hello EverestNews.com, 

Ararat; One place, One Time

So, I'm home from a long journey and friends ask me what was it like?  There is much to reflect on but first I think of the country of Turkey and its people who were so generous and helpful.  I think of the holy mountain of Mount Ararat and the brilliant spectacle of wildflowers painting its valleys and filling the senses. 

I remember looking out to the lights of Armenia and listening to the nocturnal calls of Kurdish nomads herding their goat flocks for the night. It was a surprise when the first rain fell on this dry place and it came whistling down in sheets.

I also won't forget the giant headstones with ancient carvings lying among tall grasses at 6000 feet, in testament to the very oldness of the land and its people.

I've slogged up more than a few volcanoes but Ararat is unique.  It is especially so from the very remote northeast, only a few miles from Iran and Armenia.  It is a pristine alpine environment with awesome sightlines across to the perfect cone of Little Ararat.

We were lucky to make new friends and share many common experiences.  I think we would all do it again in a heartbeat.  The climb was true adventure - all that we could have hoped for.  The north of Ararat is steeper and wilder than any other side of the mountain and it made us all work hard to get on top.  There was thin ice with tremendous exposure, there was glacier and crevasses, and there was horrendous rockfall reminding us all just how dangerous this sport is.

I think it was Hemingway that said it's only a sport if it can get you killed; otherwise it's just a game.  We had sport and we had fun, and our good friend Tunc had a little extra when he set the new Turkish high jump record in leaping over a large boulder with lethal intent.

Ararat is a holy place and it is myth.  Somewhere on its northern flank is an object buried in ice that remains a mystery.  Locals say that it is only partially visible and only after three or four dry years. Some day this myth may be opened; maybe not.  Some myths are better left just that way.

I was honored to take part in the 2001 Ararat Peace Climb, and it is an idea I believe that has a future.  With nearly one thousand summit climbers now having experienced what was once deemed impossible; is it so idealistic to consider marshalling this group of people to work together to make positive change.  This is an idea that you will hopefully be reading more about on EverestNews.com.  For now an 8000 meter thank you to George Martin and EverestNews.com, to the two genuine Turkish heroes Nasuh and Tunc, and everyone else that helped make this dream project a reality! 

Namaste

David Keaton

This climb has genuinely touched ALL of these climbers. Don't we wish Everest was climbed this way !!! We hope it has touched You. More to come. To support this vision of peace, please make a donation, via SHIVA charity. You can make a credit card donation by clicking HERE.

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