Far off in Eastern Anatolia

It's been a long day, so this will be but a brief update from the road.

We took an early morning flight across Turkey to the eastern city of Van. A remote outpost not far from the Iranian border, Van is a beautiful – if not harsh – place. And, it is one you may have heard of recently on the news, as just yesterday over 2000 people crowded onto Akdamar Island here to celebrate at the Akdamar church, an ancient Armenian church perched on a hilltop surrounded by brilliant, azure waters.

After a nice visit on Akdamar, we returned to Van and made a requisite stop at Van fortress. Another ancient edifice, the Van fortress was first built around the 7th century BC by the Urartians. Knocked down and rebuilt for centuries, crumbling walls and a new, towering minaret are all that remains of this proud building. Nonetheless, it is a stunning place, with views across the Van sea to the surrounding peaks…including Mount Artos, our objective for tomorrow.

Not a high peak, Artos stands a mere 11,604 feet high. But, it should be a good acclimatization run before heading Wednesday to Camp 1 on Ararat. Blue skies and a full moon are in the forecast, so things are looking good.

More to come soon!

-Jake Norton is an Everest climber, guide, photographer, writer, and motivational speaker from Colorado.

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