New Routes at the Armenian First Ascent Open Festival

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The FA of Eagles Aren’t at Home, (5.8) A0, 28m. All photos courtesy of Mkhitar Mkhitaryan / uptherocks.com

The FA of Eagles Aren’t at Home, (5.8) A0, 28m. All photos courtesy of Mkhitar Mkhitaryan / uptherocks.com

From July 1-31, 2009 the ‘Arev’ (Sun) Armenian First Ascent Open Festival, organized by the Up the Rocks club, took place in five locations in Armenia: Hrazdan Gorge, Noravank Canyon, Hell's Canyon, Arpa Gorge and Garni Gorge. The aim of the organizers was to make accessible the unclimbed rocks and historical-cultural treasures in Armenia for climbers from other countries. Below are two of the first ascents they established in the Arpa Gorge during the festival.

Eagles Aren’t at Home - (5.8) A0, 28m

A project of “Arev” Armenian First Ascent Open Festival

July 17, 2009 was a calm day and with all the team we went up by the slope to the “Devil’s Tower”.

The lower part of the tower columns are corrosive, and I decided to make the line where it separated from the towers lower part column. It took me 2 hours to get adapted in my mind to the idea of climbing this column as it looked really scary.

Eagles Aren’t at Home

Eagles Aren’t at Home

Eagles Aren’t at Home

Eagles Aren’t at Home

During these two days we had seen a couple of huge eagles flying very close to the tower as their nest was 50 meters left from the tower, so we were worried about the possibility of being attacked by them… thinking about that scenario I thought it might be a great honor to be attacked by an eagle...

So Vadik got all his bravery to belay standing under the separated huge column which could fall at any time and the climbing started!

I can’t add anything about that climb other than what Will Nazarian wrote commenting to the pic put in the Facebook: “Rock of the God's”

Since during the climb no eagles were flying around above, we decided to call the route “Eagles aren’t at home”

The description of the route Eagles Aren’t at Home 28m single pitch, (5.8 A0) or 6b+ by free climbing:

  • Metolius cams: #0 x 4, # 2 x 2, # 5 x 2, #7 x 4, #8 x 4, # 6 x 2

  • Kong stoppers: #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7

  • There is now one 10mm x 45mm rappel anchor

Arpa - (5.8) 30m

A project of “Arev” Armenian First Ascent Open Festival

On July 18, we took the equipment and went about 2 kilometers up by the gorge to examine the columns there to climb the next day. We found more perfect cracks and went back to have a rest in the camp with strong motivation to climb the next day.

July 19, Vadik and I did a 30 meters FA and called it “Arpa”, the name of the river below.

Description for Arpa (5.8) 30m:

  • Metolius cams: #0 x 2, # 3 x 2, # 4 x 2, #6 x 1, #8 x 3, # 9 x 2, #10 x 2

  • Kong stoppers:, #4, #7, #8

  • Carvex: #6, #7

  • Camp D1: #4, #7

  • Tricam: #1 ,#3

  • We placed on 13mm x 60mm rappel anchor

Remember, we do not guarantee the rocks are solid, be extremely careful while climbing the route! Get a permission from the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA to climb the rocks! Climb the columns only and only by clean climbing style. PLEASE DO NOT ADD ANY BOLTS OR PITONS!

Arpa, (5.8) 30m.

Arpa, (5.8) 30m.

Arpa, (5.8) 30m.

Arpa, (5.8) 30m.