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Trek Armenia Expedition
Trek Armenia, the nation and former soviet republic poised to become adventure travel’s next big thing. Join this pioneering team to trek through Armenia’s lesser Caucasus mountains and summit two 3,200m+ peaks. Follow the country’s southern ridge line north to the UNESCO-protected Tatev Monastery, teetering high on the side of the Vorotan gorge.
The primary aim of this expedition is to summit two of Armenia’s rarely climbed southern peaks: Mount Khustup (3206m) and Mount Aramazd (3392m).
Following on from the discoveries of an inaugural 2015 expedition, you will get to grips with the highs, lows, forests and plateaux of the stunning Armenian highlands, a range that holds much significance in the country’s turbulent history.
The secondary aim is to reach the Tatev monastery, a fairy-tale natural rock fortress and UNESCO world heritage site, situated high on the side of the Vorotan gorge.
This expedition falls over the August Bank Holiday to help give you maximum adventure for minimal annual leave!
- Trek in one of the earliest Christian civilisations midst monasteries dating back 2,000 years
- Pass dozens of ruined fortresses including Baghaberd Fort
- End on the doorstep of the Tatev monastery, a UNESCO site situated atop the Vorotan Gorge
- Be among the first foreigners to traverse southern Armenia, passing no-one but shepherds grazing their herds
- Pass abandoned Soviet infrastructure – the remains of Armenia’s turbulent past
- Feast on local delicacies such as churchkhela and lavash bread
ITINERARY: THE ROUTE
The route takes you through the region’s newest protected area: the Arevik National Park.
Established in 2009, this parks hosts a variety of ecosystems including open juniper woodlands, sub-alpine and alpine meadows, mountain steppe and semi-desert. Despite this spectacle, the vast landscape lies untouched by tourism and inhabited only by the occasional shepherd watching his herd.
Your expedition starts at the base of the Meghri mountain range and climbs up onto the ridge line of the southern Armenian highlands. You will traverse north over the high mountain passes and into the Bargushat range. The aim is to summit Mount Khutstup and Mount Aramazd, two rarely visited mountains, before descending to Tatev monastery and town.
You will be trekking through back country passing dozens of monasteries scattered around the landscape, perched amid ancient forts and abandoned Soviet infrastructure. In particular, the impressive Baghaberd fort, the last capital of the Syunik kingdom, sits embedded in the ridge line next to Mount Kustup.
Armenia suffers from invasion routes in four directions and has consequently oscillated between Byzantine, Persian, Mongol, Turkish and Soviet control, as well as periods of independence. Even today, the borders between Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as between Armenia and Turkey, remain firmly closed due to ongoing disputes. The vast southern mountain ranges hold huge historical significance in preserving Armenian identity. Their inhospitable nature has provided a haven for retreating Armenians over the centuries as they have fled from various waves of suppression.
Mount Khustup is the one of the resting places of the Armenian national hero Garegin Nzhdeh (1886-1955). He was involved in national liberation struggles and revolutionary activities during the First Balkan War and World War I. He played a crucial role in the formation and preservation of the Armenian statehood and his request to be ‘buried on the slopes of Mount Khustup’ was partly fulfilled with his right hand being buried near the Kozni fountain.
MONASTERIES AND CHRISTIANITY
Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as its state religion and features hundreds of churches and monasteries that are often located on the tops of hills, built into the rock. Tatev has played a significant role in the history of the region and has been the centre of economic, political, spiritual and cultural activity for centuries. It is home to the Tatev monastery, situated high on the side of the Vorotan gorge. The monastic buildings are protected on two sides by precipitous ravines and on the other two sides by defensive walls.
This expedition is running with Mkhitar Mkhitaryan founder of Up the Rocks, and president of the Armenian Alpine Club. He is an experienced climber, skier and slackliner and has been guiding the Armenian backlands since 2008. He has played a key part in developing this route and you will be in safe hands.
EXPEDITION GRADING (DEGREE OF EFFORT)
This operator grades each of its expeditions according to the degree of effort required by each team member. Due to the demands of this particular expedition to Armenia’s southern mountain ranges it has been awarded a 270° rating. Find out more about what this means by completing the enquiry form.
SUITABLE TEAM MEMBERS
This expedition offers a very interesting cultural and historical trek through a nation, some of whose borders are still contested. It will be relatively strenuous with summit ascents exceeding 3,200m and with team members carrying all of their own kit in backpacks throughout. You will also need to be comfortable with exposure as there will be some steep sections. Suitable team members should be over 21, fit, healthy and capable of travelling in a remote region for eight days without external support.
You will need to be able to:
- Distances: trek up to 25km a day
- Weight: carry up to 15kg each
- Terrain covered: contend with steeper and more difficult underfoot with daily altitude gains of up to 1000m and at heights reaching 3,200m+
- Climate: deal with hot and humid conditions, and colder higher altitudes
Dates: 26 August – 3 Sept 2017
Price: £1,799 GBP
• full services of an expedition leader, local expert guide and drivers
• all meals
• all transport as outlined in the itinerary
• all specialist and safety equipment
• all accommodation (Including tents)
• all local permits
- international flights to Armenia
- local airport taxes and international visas
- tips to local guides
- beverages and any costs of a personal nature
- personal equipment (upon booking you will receive a comprehensive kit list).
Accommodation will be in basic guesthouses and lodges, then in tents once the trek proper begins.
You’ll eat local food in towns and dehydrated rations during the trek element itself. In urban areas you’ll visit local restaurants and cafés. You’ll enjoy lavash bread, sweetmeats, dried fruits and trail foods to supplement the Expedition Foods ration packs during the trek. If there is a particular high energy snack you like to have on hand, feel free to bring some of these in addition though all essential meals and snacks will be provided.
After your initial international flights to join the expedition team in Armenia, expedition transport will include journeys in 4×4 vehicles to get to the start and finish points of this linear ridge line trek.
Trek Armenia Expedition
- Dates: 26 Aug – 3 Sept 2017
- Price: £1,799
- Length: 8 nights
- Accommodation: Guesthouse, lodges, tents
- Adventure: expedition to summit two of Armenia’s rarely climbed southern peaks