Climbing the beauty: Mount Aragats
The crispy-cold air that bites your cheeks. Oh, wait, not the right words! Let’s start again… A crispy-cold kiss on the tip of your nose, one that makes you warm inside. Rays of the sun that touch you not from above, but from beneath. An unforgettable sunrise that embraces you like the love of your grandparents from the old, distant village up North… Just breathe and feel! You are on Aragats, the highest peak in Armenia, the mount of legends. The first thing a traveller does before visiting new place is gathering the information – from the available sources on the Internet. And the first sentence you read about Aragats is: “It is a complex volcano in Armenia”. Disappointing? Well, until you get close to the mountain…
Photo by Armenuhy Hovakimyan
You get there, and the complex volcano of emotions hits you. The first wave overwhelms you at the point when the rocky road turns abruptly to the left and you see from the dirt-covered window of a car the summit of the mount. Actually, Mount Aragats has four peaks. The Southern peak is 3893 meters high and is the easiest to climb. Even non-experienced climbers can manage it.
Two other peaks: Western peak (4080 meters) and Easternpeak (3916 meters) are more difficult but the most challenging is the Northern peak (4090 meters). It is for more experienced hikers.
Climbing all four peaks of the mount could be an interesting and challenging point in the bucket list of adventure lovers. Every year, thousands of travellers visit Aragats, but it is beloved place for lots of Armenians as well.
The road from the capital city of Yerevan to the mount is not the least interesting one. It passes near the Byurakan Observatory and Amberd fortress. From the road one can see another beautiful mount: Ara, which is named after the legendary Armenian King-Ara the Beautiful.
Once you are at the foot of the mount, you feel as though all you need to do is reach out to touch the snow. By the way, in hot summer season there might be almost no snow. Take a piece of advice from Aragats-lover-climber: the best time of the year for climbing is July, August and September. At the foot of the Mount you will see the Stone Lake (interpreted from Armenian as Qari Litch). The lake is situated near the Southern peak of Aragats. It is a freshwater lake, a wonderful pearl of wild nature surrounded by alpine meadows. Put your tent near the lake, it will bring more freshness to your stay.
And the climbing starts! Enjoying the first steps of your hike to the Armenian beauty nature, you reach the ice-sheet. It did not melt and is guarding the mount.
Climb up! Enjoy every single moment of your hike. Are you in the middle of your way? Great! Turn back – look! The biblical Mount Ararat can be seen from Aragats, and you will have the feeling that Mount Ararat is also climbing up with you.
When at the peak, your heart is full of emotions. The breathtaking view makes you speechless to express feelings. Aragats is different each and every single moment, because the weather changes rapidly: while you are climbing up from peak to peak. A thunderstorm follows the sunshine, clouds and heavy rain change into the rainbow. Sun plays with the colours of nature and the clouds with the “hair” of the Mount.
The beauty of Aragats is sung in many national songs and once you felt the magic of Aragatsits song will follow you everywhere and you’ll be back again and again.
Have you tried hiking in Armenia? What do you think of starting your experience from Aragats or share your previous one with us? Leave a comment and tell your own story.