TREKKİNG İN KAÇKAR AND ARARAT MOUNTAİNS

 

In a country as varied as Turkey it is very easy to describe an area as unique, but this description fits very well the mountains, coastline and valleys of the extreme north-east. The steeply-sloping northern side of the Pontic Mountains has always isolated this area from both east and west, and several different ethnic groups can be found today in the wooded valleys and coastal villages. Probably the most interesting of these are the Laz, a seafaring people who speak a language which is barely related to any other, except possibly Irish. Around Çamlihemsin, where we begin the trek, are a group of people who are famous throughout Turkey as confectioners, and in the hills are isolated pockets of Armenians and Georgians, some Christian, some Moslem, but still speaking their own languages.  Each section of the Pontic range is known by its own name: the highest is the Kaçkar (pronounced Kachkar, the Turkish derivative of Caucasus) which rise to almost 13,000 ft. at Kaçkar Tepe. Much of the range is rugged granite and has been quite heavily glaciated - different scenery to that found in the Taurus, and particularly notable are the numerous small lakes found in the upper parts of the range. The contrast between the northern and southern slopes is quite dramatic, the former being green and, in places, heavily forested, while the latter can be quite barren. The lower northern slopes are very fertile, growing tobacco, tea, cherries and hazlenuts, and higher up there are extensive areas of rhododendron. Further up still, the hills are broken up by dramatic steep-sided ravines, making communication difficult and helping to preserve the distinct character of the different peoples. The grassy upper slopes, called ‘yaylas’, are covered in snow in winter, and in the summer the villagers move their herds up here for grazing - we will certainly meet many of these along the trek.

 

The people of this region lead a nomadic life, travelling with their cows and sheep between the lower valleys and high pastures, where they live for three or four months each year, pursuing a way of life that has remained unchanged for centuries. The woman wear brightly colured scarves turban-style. In the mountain villages, one senses their love of life and excitement, with singing and music of bagpipes. While it may sound like another traveller’s tale, it is infectious and difficult to resist joining in an evening's dancing when invited.

 

The Kackar rise beetween the shores of the Black Sea to the north and the river Coruh Valley to the south. On the northern flank, a good variety of vegetation flourishes in the rainy climate. Up to 500 metres above sea level, tea plantations and citrus orchards cover the hillsides. Chestnut, hornbeam, beech and other plantations are also present. Today there are more than 100 lakes on both sides of watershed, every valley bottom of this region contains a rushing stream and waterfalls.

 

The earliest mountain ascent in the world of which any record has been preserved is the ascent of Mt. Ararat by the Patriarch Noah. Mt. Ararat is located in eastern Turkey near the Russian and İranian borders. As the crow filies, it is about 250 km. East of Erzurum, 130 km. Southeast of Kars and 160 km. Noth of Van. Mt. Ararat is a magnificent sprawling dome whose snow covered summit is 5165m. Above sea level. Most christians belive it is the site where Noah’s Ark came to rest after the “Great Flood”. A climb of Mt. Ararat is a tough walk ( non-technical but requiring a good deal of staminal). The upper third of the volcano is covered in snow and the last hundred meters to the summit is icy.

 

İtinerary : 16 days

 

Day 1 Istanbul

Meet at the airport then transfer toHotel for overnight. Visit the historical places.  Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 2 Istanbul - Erzurum

In the morning transfer to the airport and fly to Erzurum 1900m. After lunch visit of the city and some historical monuments : the Çifteminare Mosque, Yakudiye Medrese and the citadel. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 3 Erzurum – Hevenk 2000m

In the morning drive toHevek village at 2000m, the bus passes through the tributary of the Tortum lake and the rich pastureland, with the spectacular panoramic views of the Black Sea mountains. Foxes annd hawks may be seen frequently from the bus. We arrive to Hevek. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 4 Hevek – Dilberdüzü 2600m.

Depart from Hevek village throught the Olgunlar village a typical village of the Kaçkar region.Today we will pass from the yaylas the villagers inhabited during the summer time and they graze their flocks during summer time. After picnic in this typical village, we continue to our trek . On our way will visit the nomads camps.  Fields of yellown line the streams that the trail follows to the camp site. The camp site has its own stream and is almost completely surrounded by the steep snowcapped majestic mountains of the range. Arrive to the camp site, total trekking time about 5 hours. Overnight at camp at 2600m.

 

Day 5 Mt. Kaçkar (3937m)

Full day trekking at this magnificent place. Opportunity to climb Mt. Kaçkar ( 3937m). The climb to the summit will take approximately six hours. From the summit  the peaks of the Caucasus and Mt. Ararat are visible. En route, we pass the refreshing Deniz lake. Return to camp of Dilberdüzü (2600m). 8 hours trekking time. Overnight at camp with all meals.

 

Day 6 Dilberdüzü – Barhal

We will leave our camp toward Hevek village, Transfer to Barhal village (officialy renamed Altıparmak) then we arrive to village and visite the old Georgian chuch. This was built in the 10th century AD and is reputed to have been repaired by the famous Georgian queen Tamara in the early 13th century AD.  Overnight at pension in Yusufeli. 4 hours trekking time.

 

Day 7 Yusufeli - Kars

We journey south-east this morning towards the border with Armenia  and to the harsh and isolated garrison town of Kars. Kars is a commercial hub as well as an administrative centre. In the 9th  and 10th centuries Kars was the centre of an dependent Armenian principality. Our main objective in coming this far is to visit the fascinating old site of Ani which we plan to see tomorrow. Kars, at an altitude of 1755m. This afternoon is left free to explore the town dominated by a medieval fortress. Built in 1152 it was the scene of bitter fighting during and after WW1 and is still an active military base. Overnight hotel and breakfast.  6 hours driving.

 

 

Day 8 : İn Kars ; excursion to Ani  Drive Dogubeyazıt

Today we have arranged a side-trip to explore the old Armenian ruins of Ani, some 56 km away. Once a wealthy rival of Kars but now a ’’Ghost town’’ , Ani lies close to a great ravine which demarcates the border. Destroyed by the Mongol orders in 1239, within the city walls  are the remnant of churches, a convent and citadel. Ruined 1000 years-old churches contain remarkable wall paintings and sculptured decorations representing some of the finest ecclesiastical architecture of the 9th and 10th centuries.  Late Afternoon drive to Dogubeyazıt about 2h . Overnight hotel and Braekfast.

 

Day 9 : Doğubeyazıt-Mt. Ararat

Transfert to Eli Köy village at 1950m.  We walk about five hours uphill on a trail for an elevation of 1250m. to the base camp I at 3200 m. Overnight camp with all meals.

 

Day 10 Acclimatization day

Today  will be an acclimatization day, walking about five hours on a spongy path made more so by continual mule trafic. Arrive to camp II at 4200m. Overnight camp with all meals.

 

Day 11 : Mt.Ararat. 5165m  Summit

Climb to the summit ( 5.165m)  While is not technically difficult climb it does require stamina. Our ascension starts early in the morning. About at 4500 m glaciers and perenniel snows are present, thus the most part of the ascent is done with equipment necassary for ice climbing. Anybody fit for high mountain walking or acquainted with ice climbing. Return to the base Camp I. Overnight at camp, with all meals.BLD

 

Day 12 Mt. Ararat-Doğubeyazıt

Descent to Çevirme village, about four hours and drive to Doğubeyazıt. Lunc break in a local restaurant. İn the afternoon visit of the İshak Paşa place. İshak Paşa, Ottoman governor of the province, constructed the place in the 17tth century with a mixture of architectural styles. Nearby we can see a basrelief of an Urartian king, and a rock tomb from the ninth century B.C. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day  13 Doğubeyazıt - Van

Depart by bus to Van. Tour around city, with its Urartu citadel, dating back to the 1st millenium B.C. mosque and mausoleums of Seljuk and Ottoman periods.  Van , the ancient Urartian capital of Tuşpa , tempts visitors to its location on the eastern shore of the lake. This remote but important city is set in a verdant oasis at the foot of a rocky peak. An imposing 9th –century B.C. citadel overlooks the new and the old parts of town.

 

Day 14 Van - İstanbul

Transfer to teh airport fly to İstanbul and we wil visit the historical place of Istanbul. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 15 İstanbul

Istanbul was known until the First World War as Constantinople, the old capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Nearly all the city’s main sites of historic interest are in old Stamboul. We include a half-day walking tour of the city, taking in the Blue mosque, Topkapi palace and the hippodrome. the covered bazaar is not far away and is well worth a visit.  Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 16 İstanbul – Home

Transfer to teh airport fly to home.

 

Summits : Mt.Kackar 3957m , Mt.Ararat (5165 m), 

Grade:  III (& optional IV)

Season :  July, August, September 

 

TOUR CONDITION

 

Land cost includes:

  • All  transfer  and necessary .transportation.
  • Local  English  speaking guide and 1 mountain guide.
  • Accommodations: hotel good category *** in big cities,
  • All camping equipment (1 tent for 2 pax; Ferrino or Nort face. mattress, cooking gear, utensils...
  • Cook, mule-drivers and mules...Jeep for carry the laguages.
  • All meals are included.
  • Entrance fees of historical site written in programme.
  • All food during the trek.
  • Permition cost

 

Land cost does not includes:

  • Insurance ..All expenses of personal nature. Drinks.
  • Domestic and İnternationel Flights.
  • Min/max  8/16 personne 

 

For price details and more information, please contact us

 

 

FRANÇAIS

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