Mount Ararat, reputedly where Noah's ark landed, is at 5137m the highest mountain in Turkey. The area is militarily sensitive and only one route up Ararat is available - from the small flourishing town of Doğubayazit. This may be reached by road either from Kars in 3 hours. Or Van in 2 hours. Kars and Van both have several flights a day from Istanbul and Ankara, Kars may also be reached by a relaxed train journey from Istanbul or Ankara. Kars is of great historic importance and has long been fought for by invading armies. Van was severely damaged by an earthquake in 2011 and is now being rapidly rebuilt. It is located by Lave Van - which is vitually an inland sea.
Doğubayazit lies at almost 1650m and is the base for the ascent of Mount Ararat. Not far from the town lies the famous temple of Ishak Paşa also the reputed site of Noah's Arc.
The ascent of Ararat involves two camps: at 3200m and 4200m. Few acceptable alternatives exist due to a lack of water and camping places. The ascent above 4200m early in the season is generally on snow that may be icy and might require crampons. Although a rope is carried it is rarely needed as the ascent is non-technical and crevasse problems are negligable.
The weather on Ararat is generally stable and it is possible to make an ascent on almost any day. It is however a very high mountain and good acclimatisation is essential. On our programmes we generally prefer this to be done away from Ararat itself as the mountain does not lend itself to acclimatisation treks at a suitable altitude and the campsites are often dirty and sometimes crowded. If no alternatives exist then the best option is to spend 2 nights at 3200m on the way up. On the acclimatisation day you should then walk up part or all of the way to 4200m as a practise day.
On the summit day allow about 4 to 5 hours for the ascent and a further 3 to 4 hours for the descent back to the more pleasant altitude of 3200m. Given an early start it is possible to descend all the way and so avoid the 3200m campsite.
In the past Ararat has been closed to climbers, then only restricted access was provided. Now access is easy although permits are still required. Some of the local guides and nomads who provide the services are aware of the unsatisfactory toilet and rubbish situation and it is hoped that an organisation of local providers will address these problems,
Note: Mount Ararat requires the use of crampons and walking poles but previous experience in the use of them is not essential. In fact Ararat could be a training mountain for those interested in going on to higher and more demanding summits such as Elbrus, Peak Lenin or Kilimanjaro.
Ski Ascents are possible in spring and at this time the camps are much more reasonable to stay at. Winter Pictures.
Doğubayazit Acclimatisation Tour Is a two day tour near Doğubayazit with pleasant walking through hills with plentiful flowers early in the spring. This provides a simple way to gain some acclimatisation prior to the ascent of Ararat.
Kackar and Mount Ararat. The Kackar are only a short distance from Ararat and with summits approaching 4000m offer good acclimatisation before the ascent of Ararat. The rich flora and fauna, beautiful mountains and villages of the Kackar make for a complete contrast to the bleaker volcanic slopes of Ararat. The Kackar Programme is best followed by Short Ararat ascent.
Tauros, Cappadocia and Mount Ararat. Trekking in the Taurus offers a good acclimatisation period before the ascent of Ararat. Both areas have a rich local nomadic culture which add to the interest of both regions. The trek finishes in Van where there is a day to relax by the beautiful Van lake. Sample Trip Details