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 The 2001 Ararat Peace Climb

Ancient Headstones, Mount Ararat North Side

There was no sign, road or even visible path to this site where the members of the 2001 Ararat Peace Climb expedition came across the remnants of an ancient settlement.  The setting is among volcanic rocks and high grasses around 6500 feet on the north flank of Ararat.  It would have been happenstance for us to find this site on our own.  The military was aware of its location and generously escorted us to the site one morning while we were waiting for a transport to arrive.  The military commander was told that these headstones were probably more than 1,000 years old perhaps more than 1,500 years old.

The Summary

An expedition formed of Everest Summiters, of different languages, races and religions joined in a climb for peace. The journey took them to the legendary, Holy mountain of Mt. Ararat in an attempt to climb the mountain via the north side rarely seen by foreigners. The expedition was a symbolic gesture to show the world how people of different nations, races and religions can strive together for peace.

In July of 2001, 7 Everest Summiters: David Keaton, Marcelo Arbelaez, Tunc Findik, Fernando Gonzales Rubio, Ricardo Torres-Nava, Khoo Swee Chiow, and Nasuh Mahruki headed to the North side of Ararat not knowing what to expect. They went like climbers decades ago, not knowing the route, not having any close up pictures of where to climb, not knowing the dangers ahead of them. The "7" went not to any mountain, but to the legendary Holy mountain where many believe life began a second time after the great flood.

The climbers climbed the mountain in alpine style, reaching the Summit together. It was not an easy climb. Tunc almost lost his life when he had to jump over a large boulder with lethal intent. The climb would not have been possible without the Turkish government approval and the Turkish military support.

The Ark...

One cannot mention Mt Ararat without thinking and mentioning the Ark. The Ark is believed to be located on the North side of Ararat in an "inaccessible gorge."

The World is not at Peace...

As the events of September 11th, 2001 have shown, even those who are most comfortable, the world is not at Peace. The area on the North side of Ararat is a military zone. The Turkish military has a large present in the area along with the PKK and the Turkish people. A PKK supply dump was found while our climbers were on the mountain. Our climbers were surrounded at night by the Turkish military. This area is a very dangerous area in the world. No individual should attempt to go to the North side of Ararat. For those that tell you they have been to the North Side of Ararat, ask for close up pictures! Not pictures from far.... Some people like to say they have been there. You can't get there. If you were to get there, you would probably be shot. We only got there because of Nasuh...

Nasuh, "I think what we did was a good thing."

Yes, what we did was a good thing. We can do much more. All of us can make a difference. It might be one person at a time, but every one counts!

The Future

The "7" along with other Everest Summiters want to do a Peace Climb 2002 and 2003! We plan to pick other areas in need :)

How to put into words what happened on this climb...

We received this from an experienced Everest climber who did not go on the expedition but discussed the expedition with some of the "7": "I read all the dispatches and they were quite interesting and it sounds like it was a great success.  For them it was a truly enlighting experience... Here they are Mt. Everest heroes... In their conference they are able to transmit the true climbing spirit and the camaraderie between climbers of different nations, different languages, races and religions and how together they can overcome the obstacles.  There was no competition, there was no utilizing others equipment without permission, there were no conspiracies, there was only one team with one objective.  I hope one day future climbers of Mt. Everest can regain that spirit they once had.  I think the Mt. Ararat expedition showed that the spirit of great mountaineers still exists."

This climb has genuinely touched ALL of these climbers. We hope it has touched You. 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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