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Mt Ararat Climb

” I was fascinated by the tale of Noah’s Ark since I was a kid. In 1986 I took the opportunity to travel to that region in one of my best non-climbing trips ever. I recall Chris (my travelling companion) and I being kindly hosted by a schoolteacher after our bus left us stranded in Igdir late at night. In the morning, his hospitality extended to buying us tickets to Dogubayazit, the base of all Mount Ararat climbs. We were not experienced enough to climb it but the view of the peak was sufficient. In 1990, I had an official permit to go but passed it over for a climbing trip to the Mt Blanc region. Then in 1991, the Kurdish problems an the Gulf War instabilities made access by foreigners to the peak and the region very difficult for a decade. Having another chance to go and actually climb it is fantastic”


From Istanbul, David and the Singapore team will fly to Dogubayazit and then overland to Eli. They will be attempting to climb the peak from the standard south side; climbing up to make two camps at 3200m and 4200m before heading for the 5165m summit.

The team, approaching Ararat from the south. The summit route takes the lefthadn skyline ©David Lim 2001


About the Mt Ararat Expedition

Extract from
by Robin Simmons

The story of a cataclysmic flood and a lone family that survives in a hand-made boat is one of the oldest stories of our global culture. Hundreds of similar but apparently independent versions exist all over the planet. Is it possible that this epic myth is based on fact? Even more fantastic, could the great Ark of Noah be preserved, right now, in the icy reaches of Mount Ararat?

Check out the theories, and the inconclusive Ararat Anomaly

Approaching Ararat


Other names: Agri Dagi,Mount Agri
Elevation: 16,945 ft 5,165m
Location: Turkey Middle East, Latitude: 39° 42′ N, Longitude: 44° 18′ E
Year First Climbed: 1829 (record in modern times)
First Climber(s): Frederic Parot
Volcanic Status: Extinct
Convenient Center(s): Dogubayazit


Sat, 04 Aug 2001

We arrived in Istanbul this morning. As always, it’s great to be back in this wonderful city full of elegant spires, ancient Byzantine ruins as well as the magnificent Bosphorus. It’s sunny and the blue skies merely make the waters around the old part of the city even more azure. We,re cooling our heels for a few days until we fly into Dogubayzit to start the climb. Everyone is in good health andd spirits.

We’re staying in Sultanahmet, the old part of the city ( which spans both sides of the Bosphorus ) and will be looking at the great historical sights of the Aya Sofya and the Blue mosques as well as the Topkapi Palace. Again, this is old ground but great to bring the team around. Steven hasn’t been here since his double London-Singapore overland trips in th early 90s and Yin Choo has never been here. What a thrill…

Thur, 09 Aug 2001

(via cell phone from the side of Mt Ararat!!)

Faye Lee with the rest of the team tagging behind on the summit day on Mt Ararat

We celebrated National Day on the side of Mt Ararat. Reached 3000 meters, our first camp. We will move up and set up the next camp at 4200 meters. If the weather permits, we will make an attempt for the summit on Saturday or Sunday.

Everyone’s in good health… eating well and drinking lots of water etc… Weather, a bit of cloud cover but that clears up later in the day.

Saturday, 11 Aug 2001

Live from the summit, Dave makes a phone call home to announce the news that the team has summitted in the morning.

Monday, 13 Aug 2001


David Lim, on the summit of Mt Ararat. Photo by Sinan Halic. The first foreigners in a group to climb the peak after its closure in the early 1990s

Tried to call from the summit but was cut off – yes – you can get roaming from Ararat’s summit.

The climb up began from our alpine meadows camp at 3,200m (2 nights) and went up a 5 hour grunt to the summit camp at 4,200m. The terrain was typically volcanic – mainly a scree hike but really tough when we went with full packs. The weather throughout on the higher levels of the mountain was bad with sudden hail showers.

On Aug 11 the morning after reaching high camp, we pushed for the top from 5am. The last 300 vertical metres was easy snow climbing . All routes wind up on this section anyway. We roped up and plugged away until the summit at 10am. Fantastic views of Armenia, Iran and Little Agri (Ararat). A small Turkish flag and a few memorials mark the summit.

NO sign of the Ark or Noah.

The clouds began to rise up as we returned to our high camp and we got back between 2- and 3pm. The meal of rice and chinese sausages after that climb was incredibly good!

We dropped 2,000m the next day to rendezvous with our motorised transport along way down in the small village of Eli. What a knee – cruncher……..

South Col Adventures’ Ararat Expedition is a success!

We’re safely back in Dogubayazit with grand views of the peak and working on stuffing ourselves with the excellent kebab meals here, fresh salads and short excursions. More from Istanbul in a few days.


August 20th 2001- Wrap Up

Well, the team is home safely , having finished their climb and enjoyed several days sightseeing in Turkey. Congratulations to Faye Lee, Steve Wong, Tai Yin Choo for summitting!

Ararat by any of the southern routes remains an attainable objective by the fit trekker with knowledge of basic glacier travel and crevasse rescue techniques. The sheer isolation of this volcano and the historic background make it a ” must do” if in the region. Since its reopening in 2000, it has been popular with highly organised “national” expeditions under the auspices of various Turkish organisations. South Col Adventures’ trip to Ararat is likely to be the first foreign guiding agency to do a trip to Ararat for a decade. South Col Adventures ( ) will lead another climb to Ararat next year, building on the information gleaned from this trip. Without doubt, a special connection is required to clear the still numerous and hurdles and vague; sometimes inconsistent bureaucracy which governs the permit process.

The whole area around Ararat is heavily militarised owing to border and other sensitivities. As such, one cannot simply go and climb the mountain….unless an unpleasant run-in with the local military chief is welcomed.


Entertainment and sights included a visit to the war memorials in Gallipoli where a walk through the old ANZAC trenches and a brilliant runningcommentary by our guide, Ali Efes, brought to life tragic and heroic events of the 1915 campaign. A quick visit to the complex archaeological site of Troy was also refreshing in that a lot of imagination was required to visualise what it might have been like in ancient times. After 5000 years, there isn’t a lot left standing….. Our Turkey adventure wrapped up with an evening in Istanbul complete with Turkish folk dance performances and a several excellent belly-dancing performances. With some luck and persuasion, Steve got on board his flight with 52kgs of climbing gear and four Turkish carpets!

Aug 11, Sinan Halic, summits Mt Ararat with David and team Aug 11, David with Sinan Halic on summit of Mt Ararat
The Grand Bazaar!!!

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