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 The Mt. Ararat Attempted Rescue

South Side of Ararat; The Expedition will go to the North Side.

On Friday, (yes Friday the 13th) at 10:57pm we received an e-mail from Nasuh Mahruki, the expedition leader of the 2001 Ararat Peace climb. He said, "There is an accident on Mount Ararat on the north side route. I am going there with a team of 8 rescue climbers. Somebody is lost and probably in deep trouble, if still alive. Anyway, when I am away, please...." Cheers, Nasuh

With the Expedition starting in a few days and all the last minute details an expedition has, we were a little concerned. But Nasuh's staff and friends did a great job of getting information out to those who needed it and answering all questions.

So Nasuh is heading for the mountain ! You see, this is what the AKUT climbers do. When people are in trouble they go out to help. So off Nasuh went to the mountain a few days before the expedition was to begin...

On Tuesday, we received this e-mail from Nasuh: "I just got back home, we recovered the body of a solo climber from the summit. I climbed Ararat in 32.5 hours Istanbul to Summit without acclimatization..." Nasuh

We of course asked for details and if he got any pictures on the North side, where the climbers will attempt to climb without knowing "any route to the Summit": "He [the person who died] was on the west side, from Lake Kup side. We will probably go from Ahora side. I couldn't get any picture of our route. Ricardo is already here, David is coming today and Swee is coming tomorrow...." [That is a quick update for you.]

"The climber wanted a solo ascent of the mountain. However he did not have enough experience. In real bad weather conditions he pushed himself so much and was totally exhausted. He reached the summit but on his way back just a few meters from the summit, his crampon got caught and he fell. He hit his face on the rocks and tumbled a few meters and stopped on some snow pile and died there. (Thursday) 

He had tried the mountain in May as well, however he had an accident and frostbite and was rescued by the jendarmarie. This time he did not get the official permit and did not tell anyone that he is going solo to the mountain. 

When we heard that he was lost (Friday), we send our Ankara team who were there on the Dogubayazit side by chance (Friday). They started the search operation the next day after he was lost (Saturday). Myself and three climbers from our Antalya team arrived there next morning (Saturday). I left Istanbul on a 6 am plane. That day we camped at 3750 meters. The Ankara team did their search on some high parts of the mountain. The next morning (Sunday) we started for his route and at 14:30 I was on the summit with an Ankara team member. We found him lying there. In a very strong electrical storm, my worst ever, we put him in the plastic bag and tied him very well and started lowering him. After 100-120 meters we met the two other AKUT climbers and lowered the body together till 4650 meters. We left the body there and got back to camp. We asked for help from other climbers, as it was such a difficult task for 4 climbers. The next morning (Monday) we climbed up to 4650 meters again. This time with 11 climbers, we lowered the body until 4050 meters. That day we gave the body to a military helicopter. It was a difficult operation and then all of us went back home.

So this is the basic story. Cheers, Nasuh

The non-profit organization AKUT can use your help !  You can make a credit card donation by clicking HERE. Part of the donations also go to the non-profit group TEGEV (an education programme in Turkey), and the Babu Chiri School Fund.

<<< Dispatches/Updates >>>

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

So things are settling back down, we think. We hear today that a U.S. F-16 fighter jet crashed in the area of eastern Turkey. The first US  airplane to have went down in 10 years of patrols over the no-fly zones! (Turkey borders Iraq). The pilot is fine... 

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