My Destination is Tasmania

(see more entries for this location)

If you're inspired by Tasmania, you might also like to check out Melbourne, Gold Coast and Queenstown.

Climbing the Summit of Mount Ararat, Turkey

It's midnight and I awake to find myself 3700m up the side of Mount Ararat preparing for the most grueling climb of my life. I slip on my warmest clothes and meet my intrepid companions in a tent, where our Kurdish guides are preparing a meal. Excitement electrifies the darkness while we eat, strap on our crampons and head into the darkness. Our faces, lit only by headlamps, reveal a quiet determination as we zig-zag up the frozen mountainside.
Dawn approaches slowly as a blue haze, giving us hope of a morning to thaw our frozen fingers and toes. Although we cannot yet see the summit past the steep, rocky snowfields before us, the rising Sun gradually reveals the formidable shadow of the mountain on the Earth below us, like a silent movie. We press on, energized by its beauty, as the danger of falling off the mountainside keeps our senses focused.
We climb higher, the lack of oxygen weighs on our lungs, and we stop too frequently to heave for air while fighting the desire to collapse. Sitting down to rest exhausts our muscles and standing back up is a chore fraught with danger - just one misplaced step and we could slip to our deaths.
We wind our way over ridges of snow with our thoughts on the summit, only to have more steep slopes revealed to us. One of our group begins to vomit through sheer tiredness, as I assure him we are all going to make it.
Time slows. Bodies begin to give in to the high altitude, while our minds persevere through the thin air. One last ridge is conquered to reveal the summit as another mountain of snow. Excitement ripples through the group at the thought of reaching this seemingly unachievable goal; no matter how long it takes, we were going to make it to the top! It takes every bit of energy for me to photograph the final leg of our ascent as we trudge up the mountainside, our bodies like lead, our feet leaving deep, tired prints in the snow.
Finally, we begin to reach the top. The desperation in our minds and bodies begin to give way to happiness and anticipation. Just a few more weighted steps and I'll have reached the 5200m summit! The entire horizon of our green and timeless world bends around us as we near the pinnacle of our ambitions. Gradually, we reach the summit one by one. Some of us, delirious with exhaustion, collapse and hug the snow with a resounding gratefulness, while others hop around with newfound energy, snapping photos of the enchanting world around us.
Craggy mountain ranges and ancient lava flows spread out beneath us towards the sleepy border settlements of Iran and Turkey. As the golden rays of the morning Sun rouse the world from its slumber, I stand arm in arm with my companions and experience this moment with every fiber of my being.
Our very rocky camp at 3700m, just below the snow line. The formidable shadow of Mount Ararat is revealed as we climb.  Thrilled to be 5200m above the Earth on the summit of Mount Ararat.
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Keith Diamond

Keith Diamond

Currently located in:
Hobart, Australia.
About me in 140 characters or less

"I make lasting friendships wherever I go and inspire others with my adventurous spirit. I love extreme sports, dancing, food & photography."

A bit more about Keith:

"I draw the line at eating... Nothing, I'll try anything once"

"My most essential travel phrase is... Your finest beer please, barman!"

"My most memorable souvenir is... a bundle of drawings my Korean kindergarten students gave me on my last day teaching in South Korea. The pictures depicted how much they appreciated me, but also illustrated, in crayon-sized detail, my hairy arms! Every day when I entered the classroom, the kids would line up to rub my arms in amazement, calling me 'King Kong'. It makes me smile to to think how normality in one part of the world becomes something fun and exciting in another. Hairy arms - the kids will love them!"

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