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Mount Ararat with Sergio Fitch Watkins

By: Carolyn Cunningham

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April 2, 2019 | 50th Anniversary Stories

I love getting MT Sobek emails about a new trip. When I received the one saying that there would be a trek to Mount Ararat, I was thrilled. Not only, had I been wanting to experience Turkey, but to also have Sergio Fitch Watkins as a guide was a bonus. I had hiked with Sergio in Ladakh. This trek was a wonderful combination of sightseeing and a challenging hike as Mount Ararat is at 16,854′. The sightseeing was spectacular with one of the highlights being an optional hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. Our balloon floated up about 5am, so our day started about 3:30am. As we rose, the sun was rising, the sky was filled with colorful balloons and we drifted over the cave dwellings.

A few days, later we were at Camp 1. Sergio told us that we would leave the next morning around 9am. I wondered why we were not starting earlier as there is a 3,000+ altitude gain to Camp 2. Wouldn’t it be nice to rest at Camp 2? After many trips and the extremely qualified guides, I figured Sergio had his reason for starting late. We stopped for lunch on our way up, sitting on some rocks with some snow around overlooking the valley. Thank goodness we did not arrive at Camp 2 any earlier. It was total rocks, very dirty and no place to use a bathroom with privacy. I had to climb over rocks to reach my tent. At 1:30am, we woke up. At 2:30am with our headlamps on we started the 5 hour hike to the summit. The last half hour, we put on crampons. Hiking to the top in the snow was so much fun! I have had many memorable treks, but I love my picture at the top of Mount Ararat.

Carolyn Cunningham, MT Sobek Guest

MT Sobek Trip: Mount Ararat with Sergio Fitch Watkins, 2014