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 The 2001 Ararat Peace Climb

Khoo Swee Chiow

Hello EverestNews.com readers !

We flew to VAN from Istanbul yesterday. VAN is about 1,200km from Istanbul and is in eastern Turkey. The eastern part of Turkey is on a highland and is mostly dry and arid. From VAN, we drove 2 hours (150km) to Dogubayazit which is 1,600m above sea level.

This is truly an amazing place. We are just less than 50km from Iran to the east and to the north is Armenia. This area has been in conflict until recently.

Approaching Dogubayazit, we saw Ararat for the first time. It is such an awesome sight! The town is located at the foot of the mountain and with no obstruction to the view, the entire mountain is visible from the valley floor to the summit. That is 3,600m of vertical rock ! Ararat simply dominates the skyline and she seems to look down to the valley like a protective mother looking after her child.

This is like a dream. Ararat has been on my list for many years and finally, I am here up close and personal. I don't think I fully comprehend how lucky I am. I am in a place where it is mentioned in the Quran and the Bible, where a significant event took place in the history of mankind. And, I'll get a chance in a few days' time to set foot on the holy mountain.

Politically, this is a sensitive place because of proximity to Iran and Armenia and where PKK waged their guerilla war for many years. Geographically, an earthquake and volcanic area. And of course, historically, this is where Noah's Ark rests.

We visited a Noah's Ark site and museum today. It was so fascinating and mind boggling. I felt as if I had been on a time machine and was sent back thousands of years. I could be well be looking at the Ark !! 

I'll probably comprehend all this a little more when I am older.

Since our arrival in Istanbul, there has been a string of media events arranged by AKUT. We appeared on national papers and TV. This expedition will be even more exciting because the Minister of Sports of Turkey will be climbing with us. He will join us 3 days from today. 

So far, there are only 3 of us from outside Turkey - David Keaton (USA), Ricardo (Mexico) and myself. Nasuh, Tunc (the 2nd Turkish to climb Everest 2 months ago) and AKUT staff have been hosting us generously. The other climbers including the Columbians and Canadian will be joining us in 2 days' time. It's exciting to get to know everyone on the team and exchange notes and views. It's such a small world when we realize the number of other climbers we know around the world.

Dogubayazit is on the south side of Ararat. Tomorrow, we'll drive around the mountain to Igdir on the north side where our route is.

Ok. Will write or call again soon. 

Cheers,  Swee Chiow

To support this vision of peace, please make a donation, via SHIVA charity. You can make a credit card donation by clicking HERE.

For more information on the Peace climb see here.

For a full list of updates on the 2001 Ararat Peace Climb see here.

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