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Climb Mount Ararat  The Natural Adventure Company 34

Climb Mount Ararat


And on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. We invite you to climb Mount Ararat, the highest in Turkey at 5137 m and one of the world’s greatest trekking peaks. The volcanic cone (the last eruption was in 1840) is located in eastern Anatolia, where the foothills of the Taurus Mountains merge with the eastern foothills of the Pontius Mountains in a wide plateau. From this 1700 m high plateau, Ararat towers powerfully and freestanding at over 3000 m. Even in midsummer, the dome is covered in ice, and the clouds below the summit make the giant look like floating.

Mount Ararat (Ağrı Dağı in Turkish) consists of two major volcanic cones: Greater Ararat and Little Ararat. Little Ararat’s elevation is 3 896 m. The Ararat massif is about 35 km wide at the ground base. The first recorded efforts to reach Ararat’s summit were made in the Middle Ages, and the expedition led by Friedrich Parrot and Khachatur Abovian made the first recorded ascent in 1829.

The mountain has been called by the name Ararat (in the West) since the Middle Ages, as it began to be identified with “mountains of Ararat” described in the Bible as the resting place of Noah’s Ark. Although it is now entirely located in Turkey, it is the principal national symbol of Armenia. It has been considered a sacred mountain by Armenians, and it is depicted on the coat of arms of Armenia along with Noah’s Ark.

Albeit not a technical climb, at 5137 m it is important to acclimatise first, which you will do by climbing Mount Artos (3550 m), prior to summitting Ararat.

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Day 1: Arrive in Van

Arrival in Van, transfer to the hotel in the city centre, where you will overnight.

Day 2: Mt Artos | 3537 m

In the morning, we drive to Gevas (~1 hour). We start climbing Mt Artos from the north – it’s a steep, but not a technical mountain. The summit offers a fantastic view over Lake Van. If the weather conditions are fine, Mt. Süphan and even the Ararat can be seen from here. We stay overnight at the hotel in Van.

  • Walking for the day: 7 hours, ↑1200 m ↓1800 m
  • Accommodation: Rönesans Life Hotel (Van) or similar
  • Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3: Lake Van & Akdamar Island| 1640 m

After breakfast, we drive first to Gevas, from here we take a boat tour to Akdamar Island and visit the medieval Armenian church. Then we drive around the lake to Dogubayazit. In the afternoon visit of the Ishak Pasa Palace from the Ottomans time.

  • Driving: ~ 5 hours
  • Accommodation: Hotel Butik Ertur (Dogubayazit) or similar
  • Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4: Ararat Base Camp | 3200 m

After breakfast, we drive to the village of Cevirme, the starting point of our Ararat tour. After the luggage has been loaded on the horses, we hike comfortably for about 5 hours to the base camp at an altitude of 3200 m. Overnight stay in tents. 

  • Walking for the day: 4-5 hours, ↑1100 m
  • Accommodation: double tents
  • Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Base Camp – High Camp | 4200 m

After a good night’s sleep, we climb to the high camp. Those who are not very tired by the 4-hour ascent can walk a little further towards the summit. Early dinner, because the ascent to the summit starts during the night.

  • Walking for the day: 4 hours, ↑1000 m
  • Accommodation: double tents
  • Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: High Camp – the Summit – Base Camp | 5137 m

At around 2-3 am, it is time to get up and have our breakfast. A steep climb of around 5-6 hours takes us to the summit. The glacier begins at an altitude of approx. 4900 m, from now on we continue with crampons. After 5 to 6 hours of climbing, we are standing on the highest peak in Turkey. In good weather and visibility, the view extends to Iran, Armenia and the Caucasus; Eastern Anatolia is at our feet! Then the descent begins, first to the high camp (3 hours). After a rest and a snack, we break off our camp and descend to the base camp. The walking time from the summit to the base camp is around 6 hours. Overnight in the base camp.

  • Walking for the day:
  • High Camp – Mt Ararat: 5-6 hours, ↑1050 m
  • Mt Ararat – Base Camp: 6 hours, ↓2050 m
  • Accommodation: double tents
  • Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Base Camp – Dogubayazit | 1625 m

There is still a 3-hour descent ahead of us; then we continue by vehicle to Dogubayazit (~1 hour). The afternoon is free to explore this small town, populated mainly by Kurds. This day can also be used as a reserve day for climbing Mt Ararat in bad weather. In this case, after we climb the summit, we will descent all the way down to Cevirme and then drive to Dogubayazit for an overnight.

  • Walking for the day: 3-4 hours, ↓1100 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Butik Ertur (Dogubayazit) or similar
  • Meals included: Breakfast, lunch (dinner is included in case the day is used as a reserve climb day)

Day 8: Departure

In the early morning, we drive to Van airport and departure. We recommend if you have not visited Istanbul that you spend a couple of days in this wonderful city as well.

What to Expect


Accommodation in Van and Dogubayazit is in nice hotels, in double or twin private en-suite rooms. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour. The accommodation during the climb is in double tents, mattresses are included, but you need to bring a sleeping bag.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.


Accommodation in Van is on a bed & breakfast basis. Places to have lunch are available along the way. You can have dinner at your hotel or at nearby restaurants. During the climb full board is included.

Difficulty & terrain

This is a moderate to strenuous hiking tour, but not a technical one (read more about difficulty grades). You should be in an excellent physical condition and have some experience of multi-day high-mountain hiking before undertaking this trek. Mount Ararat is the highest peak in Turkey. It is a volcanic mountain made up of basalt, which changes to andesite lava around 4000 m. There is a glacier at the summit, and on the eastern slope is the Serdarbulak ridge, with Little Ararat at 3896 m. Check our recommended equipment list here:

When to go

This small-group tour can start on pre-scheduled dates between the end of June and the beginning of September when it is the best time for climbing.

Confirmed dates with availability for 2022: 23 July 2022, 06 August 2022, 20 August 2022, and 17 September 2022.

There are limited seats available, and the groups are 8-16 people. 

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Our recommended airport for this tour is Van.



  • 4 overnights at hotels in private rooms with ensuite facilities and 4 overnights in tents during the climb
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary
  • Drinking water, tea, coffee during the climb
  • Transport as per programme incl. transfers from/to Van airport on day 1 & day 8
  • Climbing permit fee
  • Camping equipment – tents, mattresses, kitchen gear, toilet tent
  • Local licenced English-speaking mountain guide


  • Airfare
  • Lunches and dinners, not mentioned in the itinerary; alcoholic drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Tips
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Accommodation in single rooms and single tents is possible as a supplement
  • Entrance fees to Akdamar and Ishak Pasa Palace (~10 EUR) are payable on the spot
  • Crampons can be hired on the spot (~10 EUR)
  • Alcoholic drinks can be purchased in the camps
  • Extra nights in Van