Armenian Hard Man

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the first-ever indoor climbing competition–a beginners’ comp for local Armenian Mountaineering and Hiking Federation members. The honorable guest, main speaker, and judge was Aghvan Chatinyan.

Chatinyan is known as the “Armenian Hard Man” and at 84, he lives up to it. His list of life accomplishments is long to say the least. The greatest feat, according to many Armenian locals, was edging out Soviet climber Mikhael Khergiani in the 1952 climbing comp in Arzni, Armenia. The only place this was documented was a newspaper called the “Communist.” Chatinyan brought the original to the comp. Mkhitar Mkhitaryan (the founder of Up The Rocks) introduced me to the Hard Man. Chatinyan was very excited to meet an American climber and duly proceeded to present me with the pin that he received in 1981 after winning the first official Armenian climbing comp that was held in Noravanq canyon. It was truly an honor to receive a gift from a mountaineering legend from such an important event in Armenia’s climbing history. You can read more here on Aghvan Chatinyan


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