Vasken Knouni: I am still on the summit.

Vasken Knouni: I am still on the summit.

Vaken Knouni on top of Ararat MountainA lifetime experience: Climbing Mount Ararat

AZAD-Hye (Dubai): Vasken Knouni, an active Armenian, has in August 2005 climbed Mount Ararat, fulfilling an old dream (of his and many Armenians).

About this exciting experience he writes:

“Recently I climbed Mountain Ararat, fulfilling a lifelong ambition. In light of this, I have created a web site about the expedition. It's a “journal-style” web site which provides a day to day account of the expedition. The site also contains a rich set of photos and a gallery. However, I would kindly request that you read the pages one by one. I guarantee that you will not waste your time!”

He explains the motivation behind this expediton, saying:

“The image of Ararat has been engraved in my life from my early childhood days. For Armenians, Mount Ararat is something much more than a mountain. It's a national symbol that embodies thousands of years' of Armenian survival and religious inspiration; and is present in every book, poem and painting. It's almost larger than life, a Myth!

Vasken Knouni was trying to climb the mountain since 2002, but he could not obtain the required permits from the Turkish authorities. Upon hearing that the Greek Mountaineering Federation (EOS Aharnon) is organizing two expeditions, he immediately contacted the organizers and secured his participation.

He describes the first time he touched the ground in Van:

“22 August 2005: The internal Turkish Arlines fligh from Istanbul to Van is about 2 hours. My feelings through out the flight are mixed. I can't believe that after so many years of hearing many stories about Van, I will finally land there. This is the town where my family comes from. The view from the airplane is breath taking. It's very dry and I can't see a single green spot. Suddenly Lake Van appears. It's huge and as big as a sea. We Armenians also call it Van Sea (Vana Tzov). Now I understand why. This lake is about 3 times the size of lake Geneva”.

Then he describes in details the four days of the climbing expedition. This was crowned by the conquering of the peak of Medz Massis (the biggest peak of the mountain) and raising the Armenian flag there.

“The first members of the team reached the peak at 5137m! The weather is excellent and the sun is shining. The clouds underneath us opened up and the Armenian flag is over the top of world! Feelings and thoughts are mixed. The dream of a lifetime comes true”.

The last part of this story covers the descent from Mount Ararat:

“We descent towards 3200m in 1 hour and 36 minutes. Every one is exhausted. Me including. We take a 20 min break. I sleep on the spot. But we have decided to go all the way down and return to the hotel. I am thinking if my knees will make it. We walk another 2,5 hours down to 2500m where our truck was waiting. We have been on foot for 12 hours! The Kurdish villagers offer us watermelon. I am wondering where they got this up here. But I do not ask. I just eat it! We get in the truck and we drive back to the hotel. We drive away from the mountain but I am still on the summit. I think that even Ararat wants us up there. It's a great achievement”.

Used Source: (check for the excellent photo gallery)