In Pictures: The Breathtaking Volcanic Geghama Mountains of Armenia

The Geghama Mountains are one of the Caucasus’s most unique natural landscapes. Situated in central Armenia between Lake Sevan and the Ararat plain, this volcanic field of lava domes and cinder cones is almost otherworldly in its appearance, and entirely unlike anywhere else in the Caucasus we’ve explored.

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to have American outdoor photographer and filmmaker extraordinaire Dave Katz join the expedition for an exploration of these mountains, including an ascent of the highest peak in the region, Azhdahak. Our aim was to shoot material for a short film about the expedition, which is now in post-production and will be appearing on a small screen near you very soon!

In the meantime rather than attempt to describe the unique environment of the Geghama Mountains in words, I’ve decided for this blog post to let Dave’s pictures (and photospheres) do the talking…

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

20160820-093653-GeghamaFilmmaking-Tom-Nexus 6P-0013

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

20160819-125443-GeghamaFilmmaking-Tom-Nexus 6P-0011

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

Land Rover, TransCaucasian Expedition, Armenia

Taking the trail through this region will be tricky. The elevations are high enough that the north-facing slopes can see patches of snow lingering all year round. For most hikers, the season is very short.

Having said that, with some clever trail design and by leaving the highest peaks as optional side-routes, it should be possible to create a route through the Geghama range that will be accessible to all during the 2-3 months of high summer.

Intrepid hikers who don’t mind trudging through a bit of snow will be able to access the range outside of this time, but it seems likely that an alternative lowland route will need to be developed for many of those who want to hike the trail off-season.

Big thanks to Gevorg Gasparyan at Arevi Tour for providing us with detailed information on vehicle access routes to this region – and of course to Dave for making time to join us for this leg of the Transcaucasian Expedition.