Natioal Association for Armenian Studies and Research
395 Concord Ave.
Belmont, MA 02478
Phone: 617-489-1610
E-Mail: [email protected]
Contact: Marc A. Mamigonian


A Boston-area couple's historic ascent to the peak of Mt. Ararat and
the history of efforts to scale the mountain will be the subject of an
illustrated lecture on Thursday evening, September 9, at 7:30 p.m., at
the Egavian Hall of Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Church, 70
Jefferson Street, Providence, RI. The event will be co-sponsored by
NAASR and the Armenian Historical Association of Rhode Island.

Legendary Mountain a Symbol to Armenians

In July 2003, the husband and wife team of Philip Ketchian and Elsa
Ronningstam-Ketchian undertook a pilgrimage up to the snowy peak of
Mt. Ararat, a mountain cloaked in mist and steeped in legend. Nearly
17,000 feet in height, forbidding and beautiful, it looms over the
landscape, beckoning the adventurer up its slopes.

Mt. Ararat, in Eastern Turkey just over the border with Armenia, had
been only recently reopened for climbing after being closed for many
years by the Turkish government. The couple responded to the
challenge and signed up with a British expedition to participate in
its inaugural trip up the rocky peak. Ararat occupies a special place
in world history, religion, and legend. Also known as Masis, for
Armenians everywhere it is the most important symbol of national
identity and of their ancient homeland.

In the Footsteps of Earlier Adventurers

Following in the steps of such 19th-century pioneers as Parrot, Bryce,
Lynch, and Abovian, the Ketchians surmounted the hurdles of permits,
scorching heat, and frigid windy conditions to make their way up to
the majestic summit. This lecture will provide a unique opportunity
to hear a first-hand account of a journey that most have only dreamed
of undertaking.

The couple has climbed extensively together in the United States,
Spain, Switzerland, and Armenia. They reside in Belmont,
Massachusetts. Philip Ketchian is a physicist and has written a
comprehensive series of studies of the environment in Armenia and
articles on his hikes in the Armenian mountains. Elsa
Ronningstam-Ketchian is an Associate Clinical Psychologist at McLean
Hospital and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.