Mount Aragats Trip Report (#22410)
- Signed By: Sven Bugarski
- Date submitted: September 25, 2013
- Date(s) climbed: 22. July 2012
- Number of People Encountered:0-10 people
- Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Maps and detailed information on the tour was hardly available, so we organized a guided tour in Yerevan, including transport to and from the mountain, camping equipment, guiding to the summit and acclimatization.
Our base camp was a camping site beautifully located at the shores of a mountain lake at 3200m of altitude. The first day we went up to the nearby 3879m high southern Aragats summit to acclimatize. It is an enjoyable afternoon tour, passing green grass and flower fields. The summit region is only rocks with possibly some snow fields and might be significantly colder than at the lake.
After a night at the camp we left early to ascend to the northern and highest of the four Aragats summits. The first part of the ascent was similar to the first day's ascent, but then one had to enter the crater below the first summit, cross the crater and finally go up to the main peak. While the northern summit is only 200m higher than the southern summit, the way to the northern summit is significantly longer, requires more than 200 additional height meters due to the crater descent and requires much more walking/climbing on rocks and snow fields. Furthermore, an ascent to the northern summit exposes the hikers for a significant time to altitudes around 3700 - 4090m, which might lead to symptoms of high altitude sickness if there is insufficient acclimatization.
Technically the route to the northern summit except for the very last meters is a walk-up without climbing difficulties. Only the very last meters to the summit require climbing on a very exposed summit ridge. Experienced climbers can reach the summit by careful climbing without using ropes, all other climbers are advised to bring a rope or ascend only to a point where they still feel comfortable. From our group of 6 people, I have been the only one on the very highest point, while the others turned back 4-5m before the last exposed ridge part. A serious danger on the upper slopes and especially on the summit ridge are lightnings that have already killed several people in the Aragats climbing history. One way to avoid lightnings is to reach the summit before afternoon clouds move in. Another way is not to use umbrellas or any other metal items that might increase the probability to get hit by a lightning.