|Expedition on mount Alamkouh(4850m), Iran|
|Written by Mkhitar Mkitaryan|
|Sunday, 07 September 2008|
There we met our guide Hossein Hizomkaron on Sourik’s initiative . He was one of the best Iranian Big Wall climbers and Sourik’s climbing friend.“He don’t know any English word but I won’t get worried if he is with you, I prefer him rather than English Speaking climbers who have experience of decades” said Sourik. Indeed, after we got assured in that when seeing the climbers’ attitude towards Hossein agha in Alamkouh’s second camp and Polehab rocks. He was 46 years old, hard man cut from the rocks, with a low screaming voice like he was ill, inspiring safeness that any climber would climb with him any hard crag of the world without hesitating.
On the 15 of Aug early in the morning we set off and as we needed to get some stuff from Ararat Marzavan(sport center that Iranian government gave to Armenian diaspora and the Armenians living in that center feel themselves quite home) we went there and had an indoor rock climbing in the gym.
After that, on the way we found ourselves in a traffic jam as it was a weekend and a lot of people from Tehran were going to Kaspian beach which is the same way to Mt Alamkouh but about 30km farther.
For having a little break Sourik stopped the bus beside a miraculous village Polehab (The bridge to the dream) located on the right side of the road and Chalus river. On the left side of the road where famous Polehab’s rocks (more than 200m high)are situated. We started enjoying the climbers on the rocks from down which was near the Chalus river where we were resting. We didn’t intend to climb up the rocks as Sourik hurried us to set off unless the police closed one of the routes because of the heavy traffic.
While we were starting , the police cars passed announcing the drivers that that way was closed till midnight…
So we had a lot of time and went to the rocks. There Sourik and Hossein met some climbers they knew. Sourik introduced us to a young couple Zohre and Ali from Karaj town. We were amazed with Zohre and other girls climbing, some of them as well Zohre had a Big wall experience. While we were there Zhohre was leading on the routes H - 5.11d, Shirin - 5.11b and Sisakht - 5.10b.And though she started climbing in the morning she lstill seemed pretty fit.
We get to our motel in the village about at 3am and packed all our equipment to start the way up the Alamkou’s second camp(4200m) early in morning. So, tired of the way, we decided to take a nap for at least some two hours.
16 of Aug: Sourik took non climbing part of the group to the sea and we along with Hossein and Arayik (who was our only negotiator between Hossein and us) started our way to the second camp. It was an interesting day through the path located between the hills , crags and near the cheerful Alamchal glacier spring Sarzaberud to the first camp(3800m) then second. The road was crowded with mountaineering teams and we met there some guys we knew . At About 6p.m. we got to the second crowded camp situated on Alamchal glacier, set the tents and started enjoying the Alamkouh’s wall, also getting ready for the next day climbing- that was German flank-5.9.
17 of Aug: At 8.30am the group started approaching the route. Except us there were also 2 groups going through the same route and Hossein encouraged us to be the first on the route, not to fall behind them and to be exposed by the rock fall.
It was a funny scrambling up, and we really enjoyed the route. The main problem was the communication with Hossein agha. Every time he wanted to tell us something we had to wait till Arayik would come near to translate. At 2,30pm we were on the top.
There we met the Iranian team who got to the top by the Rudbaraq-sarchalbara route led by Navid Azimi,18 year old. He climbed French route – A1 5.11b two years ago and the Poland 52 – A3 5.9 two weeks ago. They happened to be quite friendly people and the way down to the camp with them was a real fun and pleasure.
In the evening , already at the camp, a very importanat question for some of us was going to be solved us -the discussion was to be about French route. It seemed only me and Andranik wanted to do it (having only one- day rest, cause we hadn't slept enough more than 5 days travelling by bus so we needed some rest before working).
Hossein agha worried about the problem of communication as Arayik didn’t want to climb the French route. ''if it happens so that we climb the route without any problems, I won’t have anything to tell them , but if something goes wrong, it will be a big problem especially on the traverse part where the partners can't see each other and need to shout to tell something to the other' Said Hossein agha.
As to the idea of Andranik and me to climb without Hossein ,.it was a little venturesome as on the first part of the route there are some unfinished routes the bolts and pitons of which can confuse the climbers who never climbed French route and they can have a problem by spending much time and energy on wrong routes.
Under such circumstances we considered wise to postpone French route though it was very hard for me to make my mind, but ,anyway, i considered it wise encouraging Hossein agha 'you have got a year to be ready for French route and Poland52 in next August''.
In the morning of 18 Aug we left the village and at night we got to the house near the beach at Tonekabon city where our friends settled . The next two days Sourik along with Fereidoun Forghani organized a nice time at the beach and also in the woods at night.
Probably this story will have its continuation after a year ...