On cold November 22, with Dani and Lucia I finally went to the Granite Circus, which they had discovered a year ago.
I was amazed with the view of the surrounding granite crags and slabs, could never imagine that there is such in Armenia.. Dani had been keeping an eye on the outstanding ridge for a first ascent. By his description, the it should be just scrambling, but we got excited by the fact that we have a chance of “climbing” too! However, this short and safe alpine climbing route, with the hardest pitch of 5.8 at the very beginning, is the place to take the beginners for their first steps.
Saying “safe” I mean along all the way on the ridge you have some 40-100m high cliffs from the sides, where you can make short rappels in case of retreat, or very quick access by support/rescue groups in case your kids start to cry. But “safe” does not mean it’s really safe, because there are lots of loose rocks and holds, and the protection is very poor.
The ridge has two teeth, before the first one (pitch 3) the belayer on the comb of the boulder, and the anchor is behind, 2m lower. You may traverse the first tooth from the left. The second tooth, where you start the pitch 4, is a nice slab with “symbolic” protection (shallow crack where you can hardly locate two lobes of small size cams). If you prefer safety you can traverse the second tooth from the left, it’s also an interesting way, with better protection but less fun.
When you reach the top of the ridge, before the very last two large teeth, on the left bellow you can find spiked in the ground blocks. Just walk down to those and use an anchor for rappelling around 25m. Then you can walk down by the culuar either to walk to the summit 3100. For the approach it’s nicer to take over the ridge in the middle of the valley. It’s about 500m long and 150m up scrambling grade-I.
The First Ascent was performed “Leave no trace style”.