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Rockcliming Armenia

Climbing Geography: Armenia

(author A. Trubachev)


This program is designed and organized by the School of Mountaineering and Climbing AlexClimb together with Wishup Adventures. Climbing equipment was provided by CAMP. Sincere thanks to all!

Mountaineering and rock climbing in Armenia

At the end of the winter came to me very interesting offer from the Armenian travel company Vishaps Adventures - visit Armenia to evaluate the possibilities of development in the country sport climbing and, if possible, be equipped with a number of climbing routes, where it will be most interesting.

The proposal immediately intrigued me with their uniqueness and a certain degree of adventurism, the idea of becoming a pioneer I liked and I did not particularly long hesitation, agreed.

Mountaineering and rock climbing in Armenia Your travel conveniently missed just between half-month expedition to New Zealand and shorter, but no less intense climbing program in South America. Just between two distant and heavy expedition, we decided to visit the welcoming and relatively close to Armenia, relax among friends and soul together to try to make a good and useful thing - to raise in Armenia interesting and so popular now worldwide sport - rock climbing. Especially because even a cursory look at the possibilities of this small mountainous country, opens up tremendous prospects - an abundance of diverse rock masses with convenient access, reliable rocks and lots of unclimbed routes, ranging from the simple to the really serious and smooth and overhanging walls ...

So, just do not be late to the day of the beginning of our trip to Armenia because of the history with Vietnam Airlines, gave us a number of troubles in Sydney, I was still standing in the country, a ring-shaped, the airport arrival hall Tsvartnots - hospitably open to the world air gate of Armenia . Quickly go through the simple entry formalities (Armenia with Russia visa-free regime), after a quarter of an hour we drove through the night to Yerevan, curiously eyeing a new city for us - all we first arrived in Armenia. The first impression of Yerevan has developed, mainly in contrast to Moscow and was quite positive - a warm, quiet and friendly town. Our new friends and having fun, in part, proudly showed the most interesting city attractions, told the story of the city ...

But Yerevan small town, and a little circled the center, in half an hour we arrived at our new home - courtesy of "Vishaps" cozy apartment in the center of Yerevan.

Turning off the track a bit short of Areni, to view a small rocky ledge visible from the road, we found a deep gorge with high vertical walls, and even ringing brook overgrown with soft grass, wide bed.

Mountaineering and rock climbing in Armenia Later, the shepherds, we learned that this paradise has a rather grim and ominous title story related activities in the area of guerrilla units of the national hero of Armenia - Nzhdeh. No one really told me what happened in the gorge, but the locals call it Djokhq Dzor - Gorge of Hell ...

However, the name of the gorge is not confused - too good looking tall gray limestone walls

Cliffs starts right with green lawns, as if specially designed to break camp here, or just scatter rugs, lie down and look up at the sky, slightly compressed from both sides of rock walls, but still open enough to feel full and unrestricted freedom ...

Rocks at the entrance to the gorge is quite low and flat, smooth terrain answering the hill, went up and after a hundred meters predatory hanging over the gorge from a height of a skyscraper tridtsatietazhnogo ... The location is just perfect for climbing - and friendly approach, and space for the insurance is not limited to and most importantly - the rich terrain, dense limestone cliffs, which even a cursory glance at the course snatched buduyuschih line routes.

We decided to spend on Djokhq Dzor a couple of days and spent several routes - for a start ... And off the case. Cheerfully crackling puncher, shiny dots remain on the dark gray rock bolts newcomers gradually drafted in clear line routes.

Mountaineering and rock climbing in Armenia A few days later, on both sides of the gorge is already adorned seven routes - mostly simple, 5c, 6a, but one all the same track is already too serious, we named it in honor of ruthless fighter for the independence of Armenia - Njdeh and to estimate in the 7th ...

Further plans were to examine the rocks near the gorge Noravank - the proximity of the settlement, ideal tourist base and availability make this area one of the most promising. In addition, these rocks have heard singing scores a climbing hook - a long time, no one does not remember exactly what year, competed here climbers from all over the Union ... After these events, at the entrance to the gorge Noravank was hundred-meter long route, pierced with hooks and "carrots". At the time of our arrival, this was the only climbing route in Armenia ...

Familiarity with NORAVANK was decided to start with putting in order of this ancient route. It went all day and half the next ... We have removed the old, rusted hooks cleaned route from living stones, put new, reliable in terms of insurance. I hope the authors of the route will not be mad at us for this "arbitrariness".

"Union 82" - the name given to our list this updated route. Classic. A quarter century ago, there was held the championship of the USSR on the rock climbing. We have taken the liberty to break this rarity jumpers to enable young Armenian climbers safely to comprehend the basics climbing equipment on a long and relatively uncomplicated rock marshute. The route begins in typical overgrown with bushes and young trees the inner corner to the left of the road, 200 meters from the turn off the road to Noravank. The first rope quite simple and, in fact, is the only approach to the route. The first station is at a convenient shelf broken at the exit of the wide internal angle. From this point, every 4-5 meters is possible to use for insurance fixed the bolt hook.

From the station on a fairly smooth "Speed" plate with large hooks twenty meters simple climbing to the next shelf, under overhanging eaves on the left. Here begins the most "fun" part of the route. Canisius bottom looks worse than it really is. But first of deep cracks, and then to thrust back to the ledge portion extends this is relatively easy, and looked down involuntarily wonder that as imperceptibly climbed quite serious overhang, which was not even seen a partner! But that's not all. More to the station about 10 meters moderately easy climbing on the edge of a wide buttress. Again, a station on the broad shelf. Hence it makes sense to go to that same shelf until the end of the right and the narrow crack begin to rise to the top. Somewhere in 8-10 meters comes the climax - a small area climbing complicated, but not critical, and to finally get a little climber think about vechnom.neskolko otkid movements with an emphasis on friction and deep clues comfortable again, this time to the top, where you can safely remove the climbing shoes, relax and insure partner sitting on the wide flat top, which you can then step and impressive 10-minute walk down the trail to the top of the route.

The idea used to indicate routes Armenian names came spontaneously and caused universal approval. These names sound and look strange to foreigners, but blends perfectly with the overall kaloritom areas, with the ancient history of these places.

Mountaineering and rock climbing in Armenia Danakil ... In the Russian language the word is translated as "knife". So we called the second route, punched in Noravank slightly above the gorge, and, as well as the "Union", consisting of several sections: the fact that we have taken root in the western climbing terminology called "multipitch."

Name of the route is quite logical consequence of his character - a thin, sharp like a blade, breakaway runs from the ground to the first station. The route is simple and logical - the first twenty meters climb exclusively otkid, "on the edge". After the station otkid gradually transformed into thrust - blade expands and turns into the right inner corner. The second rope is slightly more complicated one, but in general the complexity of the entire route is not affected. And the last part of the route allows you to relax a little - the inner corner loses toughness, "lies", revealed in nekrutoy couloir and displays on the shelf, where broken last station of the route. That's all. Three small rappelling 20 meters and we are again at the beginning of the route, now conquered.

A few days of work in Noravank, eight more paved routes. Stock bolts inexorably coming to an end, all the less time left until the day of departure ... And so much more has been done!

In half an hour drive from our home place, curious rock massif located, has nothing to do with the rocks on which we used to climb. Popular tourist dostorimechatelnost strange creation of nature ... Like cyclopean organ pipes or fossilized prehistoric giant cell bees orderly grow from the earth right column, forming caves and strange fishnet enfilade design which could not boast of any one architect ...

Quadra ... Tempting form rocky terrain attracted by its exotic. For example, in New Zealand, this kind of volcanic basalt crystals are widely distributed and master climbers. But for Russian climbers, no pampered raznooraziem relief (limestone in Crimea yes granite in Karelia) smooth, regular shape columns, separated by narrow vertical cracks - all complete exotic. Appliances climbing quadras quite specific and distinctive - a combination is wide ripped from wedging palm - there are few routes where it is used even as an element, and then fully entire route is to use only this technical device. In addition, the possibilities for development of technology ITO - climbing on the stopper and Friend! In short, quadra - this is an interesting form of relief, allowing to significantly enrich not only the arsenal of techniques climber, but simply to expand his horizons, to show new, hitherto unknown possibilities.

But, ironically, to examine in more detail kvadrovye arrays Eghegnadzor Harney and we could not ... The weather seems to tease us, enticing sun gleams, and suddenly covering rain, instantly washes away all hopes of climbing - too risky and unreliable work on wet rocks.

P.S. Here is the result of two week trip to Armenia - a lot of positive impressions, punched 13 routes on three rock formations and to determine the decision to return here in the early autumn in order to continue the work started!

Lima, May 28, 2006
Climbing in Armenia, classic climbing route Union 82
"Soyuz '82" - climbing routes, 4b, KS, 80 meters, 4 station, the route is equipped with jumpers and station hooks.
R0 - 25m, III (0 SHL).
R1 - 15m, IV + (2 SHL).
R2 - 17m, V (4 SHL).
R3 - 20m, V (6 SHL).
Climbing in Armenia, climbing route Danakil
"Danak" (Knife) - climbing routes, 4b, KS, 60 meters, 3 station, the route is equipped with jumpers and station hooks. The lower part of the route (R1) is a simple climbing track 6a category difficulties with the possibility of the top insurance.
R1 - 18m, V (6 SHL).
R2 - 18m, V (5 SHL).
R3 - 15m, IV- (2 SHL).
Climbing in Armenia, climbing tracks Kret, Kaytsak and DHS
Sector "Triangle" - three climbing route, united by one station, easily accessible on the left-most route ("Crete") for the organization of the top insurance.
1. "Crete" (OSA) approximately 5a, 20m, 6 SHL.
2. "Kaytsak" (Lightning) about 6c, 20m, 8 SHL.
3. "DHS" (Snake), 5b +, 20m, 5 SHL.
Climbing in Armenia, climbing tracks Karic and Chhchik
Sector "Cave" - two interesting and quite challenging climbing routes equipped with jumpers and station hooks.
1. "Karic" (Scorpio) about 7a, 22m, 8 SHL.
2. "Chhchik" (Die Fledermaus) about 6c, 20m, 9 SHL.

Djokhq dzor (Gorge of Hell)
Climbing in Armenia, climbing path Vishaps
Sector "East" - 4 climbing route equipped with jumpers and station hooks.
1. "Vishaps" approximately 6a, 18m, 5 SHL.
2. "Chehk" (Cleft) about 6a, 20m, 7 SHL.
3. "Salamander" approximately 6a, 20m, 6 SHL.
4. "Njdeh" about 7a, 23m, 8 SHL.

Climbing in Armenia, climbing path Chekhk Climbing in Armenia. Climbing Salamander track and Njdeh

Climbing in Armenia, climbing tracks Noah and Ararat Sector "West" - two simple climbing route equipped with jumpers and station hooks.

1. "Ararat" about 6a, 20m, 5 SHL.
2. "Noah" approximately 6b, 20m, 5 SHL.

NB. All categories are tentative and subjective. Requires additional testing routes.

Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.