Crossing Aragats from Geghadzor in the North via all four peaks and Amberd to the South in three Day

Published by pyromanov , 31 January 2018, 22h52.

Region: World » Armenien » Aragatsotn
Date of the hike: 9 September 2017
Hiking grading: T5- - Challenging High-level Alpine hike
Geo-Tags: AM 
Time: 3 days
Height gain: 3370 m 11054 ft.
Height loss: 3640 m 11939 ft.
Route:Geghadzor-Aragats-Lake Kari-Amberd
Access to start point:We were taken from Spitak to Geghadzor by a friend in a private car. Its probably easy to find people that take you there. I don't think marshrutkas go there, but maybe to nearby villages.
Access to end point:After we got back from Amberd on the H20 road, we hitchhiked to the Alphabet and from there towards Aparan and took the marshrutka later on.
Accommodation:camping, hotels at Kari Lake

Not many tourists are travelling in Armenia without visiting the highest mountain of the country - Mount Aragats with its for peaks around 4000 m height. Easy to reach from the capital Yerevan a vast amount of people are driving up to Kari Lake on 3200 m. After an easy hike the stream of tourists reaches the southern peak at 3900 m, less may continue to western peak at 4000 m and only the stronger and more experianced hikers continue accros the old vulcanic crater to the north (4090 m) or north-east (3765 m) peak. There are many hikr reports that explain this standard approach to Aragats (aparantly people just fly for few days from Zurich to Yerevan to climb this mountain... omg!).

During our two months travel trip, we took the time to experience mount Aragats in a much more peaceful and special way. Coming from Spitak (there is a great accomodation in the YMCA center!) we crossed the whole vulcano range from north to the south. This had the advantage that we were mostly off the main tourist tracks and we didn't had to cross the crater twice to reach the highest northern peak.

The first half day hike from Geghadzor was easy, slowly climbing up to 3150 m. We set up the tent at a nice little lake and did some afternoon walking along a ridge in the east of the Aragats peaks. When we came back we were invited to very friendly and generous herdsmen for dinner, maybe members of the mysterious Yazidis. They even provided us lots of food for the next day.

The second day we climbed up through rough and irregular rubble stones without clear path. Partially this trail is on the open street map, but barely visible in the field. From this approach you directly get to the pass between the northern and east (north-east) peak. Only the "real" north peak is of T5 difficulty, but this one provides some rather scary steps. On the way down from the north peak one can slide down on gravel to save some energy. The eastern peak is less crowded but also nice as there is a short section where you have to use your hands. Its getting more tiring while crossing the crater to the west and south peak, but each one is worth seeing. When we arrived down at the Kari lake, we recognized that in such highly touristic places the famous and real Armenien hospitality got lost.

We camped at the lake, but asked beforehand if the restaurant would provide us breakfast in the morning. Although promised, the next day, they didn't even want to serve coffee, hence without breakfast and food supply we continued our hike to Amberd. We tried to avoid the road and just walked along some paths, tracks or even off path on the right side of the valley down from Kari lake. Amberd is nice to see, especially when you have walked to get there for almost three days. The following section from Amberd back to the road H20 is very nice, crossing the valley on cute trails (this part is nicely described on ViewRanger, can't find the link though). We used hitchhiking and later on a marshrutka to go back to Spitak via the Alphabet junction and Aparan.

This trip was very nice alternative way to visit the Aragats mountain range, especially when you are coming from Spitak in the North. On the northern peak we met people from Latvia that did something similar and probably as nice. The started from the Aragats village in the east, hiked up the corresponding valley and camped at a smiliar height.

Hike partners: pyromanov

Click to draw, click on the last point to end drawing

 38769.gpx Day 1 up to the camping site
 38770.gpx Day 1, part 2; a walk along a lower ridge east of Aragats
 38771.gpx Day 2: climb all four Aragats peaks, from north to south
 38772.gpx Day 3: hiking down to Ambert and further towards the alphabet


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