Rock climbing in Armenia
Probably the most famous saying about the Armenian nation is that they can even make bread out of stone!
It’s not by chance that this saying describes the daily routine of Armenians, because the country itself is rocky, covered mostly with mountains and forested hills, dealing with which requires much effort and professionalism. Armenians are quite experienced in it, because they settled up here more than 3000 years ago and know the place not the first day. They were used to form their life according to the place they lived in. People settled in the caves of these rocks, represented their life on the walls of that caves and cultivated vegetables and fruits on the small flat spots on the sides of those mountains.
With the development of some youth movements and adventure life lovers the rocks in Armenia became a new destination and brought some very interesting activities with them. It was more than 50 years ago that the first mountaineers and rock climbers appeared in Armenia. Step by step, these people started to form some climbing groups and organizations, such as “Up the rocks” Rock Climbing and Back country Skiing in Armenia, Armenian Mountaineering and Hiking Federation, “Over the Top” Rock Climbing team, etc. All these groups are formed to promote the development of rock climbing and mountaineering culture in Armenia.
These groups organize different events, celebrations and classes for beginners and not only. It’s good that classes are held not only in the countryside far from the civilization, but also in the heart of the capital city of Yerevan. The gorge of Hrazdan River allows the climbers to stay in the city but climb the rocks anyway.
One of these climbing groups: “Over the Top” gives you the opportunity to enjoy climbing by paying only 5000 AMD (10EUR) for one lesson. It is interesting that they even provide with the equipment for climbing; you just need to take your will and readiness to go up climbing.
There are some rules that a climbing lover should follow while coming to Armenia. There are certain places in the country climbing on which is banned. One of these places are the Basalt columns on which it was only accepted to do “Clean Climbing” since 2009, which accepts only bolts at the rappel anchors, but after some exploration the climbers association decided to ban even this type, because of the risk to damage basalt columns. This decision wasn’t easily made, but was a right one, because these rock formations are unique and need to be set under protection.
In conclusion, note that there is no need to worry, because Armenia has plenty of rocks situated in other parts of the country as well and when coming here to climb, you will certainly find a place you will like.