I am Armin
I've been traveling through eastern Turkey for five days now and so far everything is going like clockwork. So I climbed Mount Artos and Nemrut Dagi. Now the ascent of the 4,058 meter high Süphan volcano was on my itinerary.
On Wednesday, August 31, 2022, I got up at 4:15 am. After breakfast in my room, I prepared myself for the upcoming mountain tour. Then I started from the Hotel Cevizlibag and via the national road and the good country road I reached the east flank of the Süphan Dagi. I parked in a small mountain village, then I started hiking at 6.20 a.m. When the sun was shining and the sky was blue, I always had Süphan in front of my eyes.
The dirt road was moderately uphill and after about 30 minutes I reached the base camp of other mountain tourists. I chatted briefly with the sleepy driver of the Ford Transit, then continued my ascent. So I was happy that I wasn't alone here on the Süphan Dagi. Unfortunately, I quickly lost their tracks in the loose sand and so I always hiked uphill without a path.
The view down to the deep blue Lake Van and the round lake called Sodali Göl was great. In front of me the mighty stratovolcano Süphan towered into the blue sky. Wonderful!!
I continued to hike steeply uphill in a mountain gully and made good progress on the solid scree. Here the ascent was difficult and I found a good path in the sand far up. Then I reached the steep east face of Süphan Dagi. I stood a bit helpless in front of the mountain face, which was littered with large boulders. Fully crass!!
After a short break I dared the ascent. Because of the large boulders you need surefootedness and then I even found a trail up. Finally, in the morning, I reached the 4,000 meter high rim of the Süphan crater. The extensive crater was also littered with large and small boulders. So I balanced over the big stones to the 4,058 meter high southern summit. After 5 hours and 40 minutes of climbing, I finally stood on the main summit of Süphan Dagi around 12 noon. The main summit was marked by a Turkish flag and an empty tin can for the summit book. Wonderful!!
It was surprisingly warm and windless up here. So I took the obligatory summit picture and also took a stone with me as a souvenir.
Now I was alone here at the Süphan volcano and after a break of 20 minutes I started the long descent again. So I walked across the rocks through the volcanic crater and took a lot of photos. Then I reached the steep eastern slope and here I carefully scrambled down over the boulders. So I was glad when I reached the good path. The sandy path was easy to walk on and so I made good progress. From here I took a bag of sand with me as a souvenir.
So I hiked a long mile downhill so I was glad to be back at the rental car at 3:20pm. A large flock of sheep was on the move here and one sheep rubbed itself with relish on the rear of the rental car. So I only needed 3 hours for the long descent.
From the lonely mountain village I drove down the gravel road to the village of Aydinlar, then the country road and federal road led back to the town of Adilcevaz.
In the afternoon I was back at the Hotel Cevizlibag and it was summery hot at +30 degrees. In the room I first enjoyed a hot shower, then I took a relaxing siesta after the long mountain tour.
For dinner I went to a simple restaurant in the center. Here I ate a doner kebab with salad and bread. I drank an Ayram with it.
Back at the Hotel Cevizlibag I surfed the internet a bit. After the strenuous mountain tour, I disappeared early into the soft bed. Today I drove only 81.0 kilometers.
On Thursday, September 1st, 2022, I checked out from Hotel Cevizlibag around 10:10 am to go to the nearby sandy beach called Adilcevaz Bozkirlar Playi. Here I enjoyed the lazy beach life after the three mountain hikes. The bath in Lake Van, the largest soda lake on earth, was great. The water was at a comfortable temperature of +24 degrees Celsius, so I thoroughly enjoyed the bath. I also took a bag of sand with me as a souvenir. Great!!
At 11.30 a.m. I drove further along the shore of Lake Van and so I circumnavigated the water in a clockwise direction. In the afternoon I was back in the big city of Van and at the Van Ferit-Melen airport I returned my rental car without any problems. So today I drove another 211.7 kilometers through the east of Turkey and in total I came to 678.9 kilometers.
At the airport it was extremely hot at +33 degrees Celsius, then I took a taxi to the Hotel Dimet Park that I had booked. Around 3:00 p.m. I moved into the single room 407 and made myself at home.
In the afternoon I explored the modern center of the big city of Van. There were countless shops and restaurants and there was a lot of activity. So I hiked down to the Hotel Rönesans Life and bought a bottle of expensive raki in a shop nearby. An annoying diarrhea has been plaguing me for days and so I want to use the raki as a kind of medicine.
For dinner I ate two skewers of chicken with a mixed salad and flatbread. I drank an Ayram.
At 8.00 p.m. I was back at the Hotel Dimet Park and so I treated myself to a large shot of the exquisite raki.
In the evening I surfed the World Wide Web for a bit, then I turned off the light early to snooze for the next day.
On Friday, September 2nd, 2022, I wrote two postcards in the morning and then went straight to a nearby post office. Instead of 8 a.m. as written on the Internet, the post office only opened half an hour later. There was already a long queue, but it turned out that I was wrong here and I had to go to the "Cargo" counter. I got there straight away, unfortunately there were no stamps here. Stupid!!
Back at the Hotel Dimet Park, I had little appetite for breakfast as I was plagued by diarrhea.
I surfed the internet in my room, then packed my bags. I checked out at the Hotel Dimet Park at 12.00, then the nice lady at the reception recommended another post office. She had mapped out the route for me, but I still couldn't find the post office. So I asked my way through, then the post office was closed. Stupid!!
Back at the Hotel Dimet Park, I went up to the Panorama Restaurant to continue writing in the travel diary.
In the afternoon I walked to the post office again and now it was open. The queue was quite long so I asked a security guard at the front door and I was allowed to go straight to the correct counter. Now I had to wait a bit, then I could finally hand in my two postcards. Great!!
Back at the Hotel Dimet Park, I got on really well with the staff. The employees were all Kurds from Iran. The Kurdish hello was "Slav" and then I had already won anyway. So I had a very nice chat with the staff. I showed the receptionist my travel report about Iran from 2010, which was still on the internet from the Fürstenfeldbruck district messenger. She wants to read the report tonight.
Late at around 4.40 p.m. I was finally picked up by the agency TAF Travel. The mountain guide Azat was Firat's brother and there were already seven men and one woman in the Ford Transit.
Now we drove north from Van on a good federal road along the shore of Lake Van. Then we drove into the mountains and took a short break at the picturesque waterfall Muradiye. So I took pictures of the waterfall and a newlywed couple, then we enjoyed a cup of sweet tea on a panoramic terrace.
We continued north through the mountains. Here on the border with Iran there was a barracks or a sentry post on almost every peak. Our Ford Transit was also briefly examined at a checkpoint, then we were allowed to continue driving through the night.
In the dark we could only guess at the legendary Ararat, then we reached the provincial town of Dogubeyazit. We went to a good restaurant for dinner. So I ate a kebab with salad and bread. I drank an Ayram and we had a nice chat.
Late at 9:25 p.m. I moved into single room 411 in the modern Hotel Grand Aga. I was tired and because of my health problems I soon disappeared into the comfortable bed.
On Saturday, September 03, 2022, I got up at 6:00 a.m. to prepare the things I will need to climb Ararat. In the supermarket across the way I bought three liters of Coca Cola, honey and biscuits.
I had little appetite at breakfast, then we mountaineers packed all our gear into a Ford Transit. In the morning we drove from Dogubeyazit first on a country road, later on a gravel road, a bit up to Great Ararat. There were two Croatians, two Estonians, four people from Baden-Württemberg and one Bavarian in the Ford Transit. The final stop was at an altitude of 2,200 meters and this is where we got off. The heavy equipment was heaved onto pack horses while we were only traveling with the light daypack. Around 11.40 a.m. we started hiking and a dirt road led only moderately uphill. The mountain guide Azat walked ahead and we mountain tourists trotted leisurely behind.
We soon took a lunch break. I disdained the packed lunch and so I preferred to devour my biscuits and drink my warm Coca Cola with them.
As we climbed we spotted a dragon sunning itself on a rock, then continued up a narrow path. So we climbed 3 hours 45 minutes, then we reached the base camp, which was at an altitude of 3,320 meters. We were welcomed with hot tea in the kitchen tent, then we chatted quite nicely.
Coincidentally, the mountain guide Firat and his group were also here at the base camp today, so we greeted each other warmly. That's when I found out that he was on the Süphan Dagi with his group of mountain tourists on August 31st. What a coincidence, unfortunately I didn't meet her on the mountain.
In the afternoon I moved into my spacious single tent and relaxed in it. In the evening I first enjoyed a colorful sunset, then dinner was served in the kitchen tent. First there was a thin soup and the main course was puree with rice. I drank hot tea and mineral water.
At 8.30 p.m. I retired to my single tent and a little later I disappeared into my warm sleeping bag.
Unfortunately, the weather forecast for the planned summit day was bad and so I wanted to go up to the main summit of Great Ararat with the group from Firat a day earlier. I was fit and well acclimatized, but this wish was denied. Very bad!!
Thanks to the thick mattress, I slept quite well and so I got up at around 7 a.m. on Sunday, September 4th, 2022, well rested. The sun shone from the white-blue sky and at +11 degrees Celsius it was pleasantly warm. In the morning, a sumptuous breakfast was served in the kitchen tent. Because of my diarrhea, I only ate an egg, honey and Nutella with a flatbread. I drank hot tea and took a tablet of Imodium Acute.
At 10.10 a.m. the mountain guide Azat and we nine mountain tourists left the base camp to hike up to the high camp. A good path led permanently uphill and it was very busy here. There were many mountain tourists and also pack horses on the ascent or descent.
Our group slowly walked uphill to acclimatize. The dusty path wound in serpentines up a mountainside and the view up to the snow-capped peak of Mount Ararat was beautiful.
At 12.40 p.m. we reached the high camp, which was already at an altitude of 3,900 meters. Here I enjoyed the view of the 3,925 meter high Little Ararat and the snack I had brought with me.
Two large boulders thundered down a steep rockfall channel. The spectacle was quite loud and kicked up a lot of dust.
The break lasted an hour, then we started the descent from the high camp. The way was the same and it's always faster to go down than up. We were already back at the base camp around 3 p.m. and here we mountain tourists were spoiled with hot tea, pastries, cake and a watermelon. Then I had a relaxing siesta in my single tent.
Dinner was a culinary highlight. The starter was a spicy soup and the main menu was chicken knuckle with noodles. I drank hot tea and we chatted nicely in the kitchen tent.
In the evening I retired to my single tent and I slept very well.
Now I've experienced a lot in eastern Turkey again and that's how I want to end part 2. Then we'll see if I can successfully climb the 5,137 meter high Ararat on the second attempt??
I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas, Armin