For the first time in history, the flag of the International Children's Center was planted on the legendary Ararat, the highest volcanic massif of the Armenian Highlands in eastern Turkey. The mountain was climbed by an employee of the children's center as part of a tourist group. 5,165 meters above sea level is the height of Ararat: today it is the most significant mountain peak where Artek's flag is planted.
Since its inception, Artek has been supporting and developing the traditions of tourism and mountaineering. The first and main peak conquered by the Artek visitors is Mount Ayu-Dag. Specialized tourist teams come to the Crimean Mountains. The Artek flag flies at the highest point of Crimea, Mount Roman-Kosh (1,547 meters). But it is for the first time in history that the flag of the International Children's Center was raised to a five-thousand-meter peak!
The ascent to Mount Ararat was made by a group from Crimea, Krasnodar and Tuapse. Among the participants of the ascent was Karina Babina, head of the information policy department of ICC Artek. The ascent took 4 days and was successful.
From the expedition's diary: “The height of Mount Ararat is 5,165 meters. For this ascent, no special technical devices are needed, physical training is more important. And also the proper time. Nearly always the top of Ararat is hidden by clouds. And we wanted to climb the mountain on a day when one can look down to the ground from a height. From there - from above - one can see Armenia, Turkey, Iran."
The group made a stop at the first camp on September 8. On September 9 they climbed to the assault camp in order to better adapt to the conditions of the highlands. Here they had to cope with one of the first challenges, that is, to undergo acclimatization.
From the expedition's diary: “The main weapon against altitude sickness is proper acclimatization. One should not force events; the body must have time to adapt. The climbers' rule that works well is “walk high - sleep low”. This is a short formulation of the stepped acclimatization principle. During the day, it is advisable to climb to a height and spend some time there under some physical exertion. For the night stay, one should go down below and restore resources."
The most important date for travelers was September 10. In Artek on this day the 10th shift of 2021 was coming to an end. Artek visitors from different regions of the country were preparing for the traditional "Meeting before Parting." And tourists from Crimea were climbing up to the top of Ararat in order to raise the Artek flag - a symbol of peace and friendship - to a new height.
From the expedition's diary: “... We picked up the crampons and other equipment for the ascent, discussed the tactics and rules of movement. The assault began at night: ascent at 2:00 a.m., exit at 3:30 a.m. The weather was favorable. It could not have been otherwise. After all, we studied the weather forecast and carefully calculated the time. The closer we were getting to the top, the more the wind intensified. But we were persistently climbing up, and at 9.40 a.m. on September 11, the height surrendered! The squally wind prevented us from breathing normally; the sparkling snow was dazzling us. All this was more than made up for by the delight of the realization: the peak had been conquered!"
On September 17, the climbers returned home and brought the Artek flag to the children's center to inspire Artek visitors to strive for new heights.
For reference: Mount Ararat is the highest volcanic massif of the Armenian Highlands. It is located in the east of Turkey, on the banks of the Aras River, near the borders of Iran and Armenia.
The mountain is formed by two cones of dormant volcanoes: Greater Ararat and Little Ararat, which give the peak a recognizable appearance. The distance between the cones is 11 km. The top of Greater Ararat (5,165 meters above the sea level) is the highest peak in Turkey.
It is known that Ararat was active as early as in the 3rd millennium BC. Artifacts of the Early Bronze Age were found under pyroclastic flows.
The last eruption took place on July 2, 1840. As a result of an earthquake and an avalanche collapse, the village of Akhuri and the monastery of St. Jacob, located on the mountain, were destroyed. According to the legend, the monastery had been founded by a monk who saw Noah's Ark on Ararat, and a board from the ark, presented to Jacob by an angel, had also been kept there.