9-15 Day climb/camping safari
maximum altitude: 4090 meters
THE CLIMB: The crater of Mt. Aragats is a sub-polar zone, 750 meters below the rim of the mountain. There is no lake inside the crater, though in particularly warm summers, as ice melts it forms shallow ponds. There is a high altitude lake nearby called Karalich (Stone Lake), well known in the country and a favorite campsite for climbers. Karalich lies at 3200 m., just below South Peak. The tallest peak is 4094 m., and the crater floor is 3250 m.
Camping inside the crater for a few days is definitely worthwhile, since it has spectacular rock formations and provides incredible star-gazing opportunities at night.
For the most diverse and interesting bird watching and flora/fauna field trips, two base camps are optimal: just below the rim at Karalich (alpine and sub-glacier), and 2/3rds up the Mountain, at Amberd. Amberd lies at the dividing line between mountain forest and alpine vegetation zones. Amberd sits over two massive river canyons, each which provides excellent hiking, field trips, caving and bird watching potentials (including one of the largest colonies of Caucasian bats in the world). Amberd is at alt. 3000 m., so a good place to acclimate to the upper elevations. We use 3 days at Amberd to fully explore the region, and to take in the variety of flora, fauna and terrain.
Kari Lich sits at 3200 m., in alpine terrain. It has spectacular views of Ararat Valley, and sits at the base of Aragats Southern peak (3800 m.). From Karalich, each of the four peaks with their saddlebacks (North, South, East and West) can be climbed, your group can opt to take field trips around the lake to explore alpine meadow flora and fauna, or choose to camp inside the crater. We use 7-8 days at Karalich /inside the Crater, as you choose.
The day of descent would pass through Yesdi alpine land to the highest altitude waterfall on Aragats (Jervesh). At 2500 m., it gives a good acclimation stop, and lies in a different vegetation zone from the others. One day at Jervesh.
It is a half-day descent from Jervesh to transportation and return to Yerevan--or, as an option, a one-day stay at Lake Sevan, with a yacht cruise on the lake, overnight on board. At this time of year, Sevan is unbelievably beautiful, a nice break after the long climb. If not chosen, add one day to Aragats or Jervesh.
NOTE: This is a sample itinerary for climbing Mt. Aragats, it is an easy-moderate climbv fdepending on your condition, and requires expert guide. The best guides in the country are aviable torugh the EcoTourism Association (Mountain Sports Union). This itinerary shows their services as included. Use this as a sample only, each expedition is arranged uniquely for visitors experience and interests.
(Itinerary for climbing tour as provided by members of the Mountain Sports Association, Ecotourism Association)
DATES: July 15-August 15 are the optimum times, though there are no guarantees nature won't decide to give you a few snow showers anyway. Showers don't last long, but inside the crater there is a perpetual ice cover in places, so be aware that at night it will drop to below freezing. Outside the crater it drops to between 32-37 degrees (Fahrenheit) at night, and is rarely warmer than 45-50 F in the daytime.
From 6 days on site participation to season long 15 Days/15 nights Total In-Country Visit:
6 - 12 Days/ Nights Camping, mountain climbing, hiking on Mt. Aragats
1 Night Jermuk Spa
1st and last Night Yerevan
Daily field expeditions as requested by the group: Bird-Watching, Flora and Fauna, Nature, nightly stargazing.
Specialist guides available: Botany, Biology, Geology, Ecology.
NOTE: All camping sites are on Mt. Aragats, at various altitudes, vegetation and geographic zones. Gradual acclimation to elevations are built in to this expedition, as well as exploration of contrasting zones, flora and fauna.
DAY 1: YEREVAN
DAY 2-4: YEREVAN - AMBERD (alt. 3200 m.)
Field Trips: Mountain Forest Zone (Flora, Fauna. Bird-Watching, geology, star-gazing)
NOTE: the greatest variety of Birds, Flora and other Fauna are en route, at Amberd Forest. Field trips into Amberd Gorge and immediately above show change from Mountain Forest, River Gorge and Alpine vegetation and geographical zones.
DAYS 4-11: AMBERD - KARALICH - ARAGATS PEAKS - CRATER
Field Trips: Alpine and sub-glacier zone (Flora, Fauna, Bird-watching, geology, star-gazing)
DAY 12: JERVESH (alt. 3200 m.)
Field Trips: Alpine Meadow (Flora, Fauna, Bird-watching, geology, star-gazing)
DAY 14: Visit Lake Sevan or Jermuk Mineral Spa
DAY 15: YEREVAN
This Itinerary can be guided by the EcoTourism Association, contact Zhanna at 32/22 Shinararneri st., 375038 Yerevan, Armenia. Phone: (3741) (3741) 27 87 28 / 39 75 52 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their services include guide/translator, first and last night in Yerevan hotel, transportation to/from Yerevan to base, backup vehicle and staff, all camping equipment and meals. Also includes 1 night at Jermuk Spa (oh luxury!).
(currently down, but try in case)
Protected Areas of Armenia
of Sevan National Park
of Endangered Species in Armenia
- September 2000
- July 1998
Field Trip on Armenia's Wetlands (1998)
Birds of Armenia (Luba and Levon)
Institute [+ (3741) 28-15-02 ]
EcoTour (site down, but try in case)
Eco Tour Groups in Armenia
write TourArmenia -