2001 Ararat Peace Climb
may be the last e-mail I will be able to send until
the Ararat climbing is completed. This has been quite
an emotional journey for me and has brought mixed
emotions with both happy and sad memories not only
about my previous Ararat climbs by the South Face but
about my whole life as a climber.
years ago I met here in Turkey the great astronaut
James Irwin who was part of the Apollo XV mission
that went to the dark side of the moon who driving the
historical lunar chariot "Rover" over the
Apennine Mountains reported the sighting of some
strange constructions and maybe ....
by that experience he quit NASA and founded the
High Flight school in Seattle dedicated to the pursue
of spiritual awareness and well being and to the
search of Noah's Ark here in Ararat. When I met him he
had already been here six times and on that hot August
of 1990 he was trying to reach the same glaciers that
we may be lucky enough to climb on the North Face
where he was sure the Ark had landed according to
satellite pictures and other investigations he had
obtained at top intelligence levels and kept, he said,
Iraq invaded Kuwait, the hostilities that led to the
Gulf War started and his dreams were shattered. Irwin
never returned to Ararat but his words marked me
here I am, at Dogubayazit, at the site where many
archeologists have been digging and probing trying to
find Noah's Ark and if found by any, here or in the
North Face glaciers would constitute the greatest
archeological find of all time, as it may prove the
historical truth of the Bible!
things move me to accept this challenge and Noah's Ark
was amongst them but first of all I am a climber and I
have been one since I was only a 10 year old kid
trying to overcome my family problems.
many people the mountain represents an outside
challenge but for me is the conquest of myself, of my
ego and my shortcomings and a way to get closer to
today we had the chance to talk to some
youngsters from a local school, this was my message.
Mountains are a symbol of our everyday life and
challenges and if we can learn the lesson that nature
and our souls teach us in every summit we conquer but
most important in those we can't achieve then we can
translate those experiences to our daily life to
become better persons in all senses.
sorry to say I am not a "mountain collector"
and my ego does not suffer when things go wrong. I
suffer when tragedy strikes and I lose a friend
showed those kids his pictures from Everest, K2 and
Broad Peak and I have lost friends on those mountains
and one moment on that presentation brought again
tears to my eyes when I remembered that 14th of August
in 1992 when trying to summit K2 I lost my dearest
friend Adrian Benitez who fell above 8000 meters never
to be found.
is like that, the ice wall we were climbing broke at
his side and not at mine. Some centimeters more and I
wouldn't be writing these words today.
amongst many other incidents in life proves that fate
is unfair. Why him? I have asked God many times but
also thanking him for sparing me.
was a moving experience altogether, the theatre was
magnificent and totally crowded, my climbing pals and
I shared our mountain stories, the kids were excited
and for moments long clapping broke the thread of our
stories and charged the air with emotions.
asked by the kids what I have learned from me climbing
mountains I answered that now I know that the hardest
Everest is the everyday life one.
morning I start from zero, from my "base
camp" trying to make it through the day and come
back home satisfied at night.
the daily storms set me back to square one but I have
learned overall to be patient and grateful and to love
everything I do, that is why I approach my mountains
always with enthusiasm and joy.
above all else I like to share my experiences with the
young people who maybe looking for a reason to live,
for a way to fulfill their dreams.
I was a sorry kid overcoming my parents divorce and
the mountain helped me to avoid addictions such as
alcohol, drugs and tobacco. That is why I think that
if it could help me it can help many others as well.
think that with courage, honor and self-respect
eventually one can summit the mountain of one dreams.
was my final message to those kids in Dogubayazit. I
have not slept well, as all this excitement is taking a
toll, but who cares? Ararat
is in front of us.
It doesn't matter if some climbers have decided not to
come at the last moment. We are here and as a great
team of people who are ready to prove we can work in peace and
love each other in spite of our differences. I hope
that with my new friends we can reach our goal
but if that is not possible, living this experience
and reaching more people with the message we try
to convey will make all worthwhile. I
hope one day PEACE will be on earth more than a five
TORRES-NAVA ON ARARAT
support this vision of peace, please make a donation, via
SHIVA charity. You can make a credit card donation by
more information on the Peace climb see here.