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Ascent of Akbaba NW Top on 2011-07-23

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Ken Jones
Adrian Rayner
Andrew Tibbetts
Richard Tibbetts
Bob Packard
Ian Charters
Pauline Charters
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, July 23, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Akbaba NW Top
    Location:Turkey
    Elevation:3326 m / 10915 ft

Ascent Trip Report

We climbed this summit the day after our Erciyes Dagi attempt. It is 3km NW of Akbaba and was a stand-in summit, with a good view of the ultra. We had planned to climb Akbaba but it was considered too dangerous due to current PKK terrorist activity in the valley to the east which forms the normal approach.

From Erzincan a dirt road zigzags up to service ski lifts under construction. Our driver got our hired Ford transit up there ok although getting down after an afternoon rain shower proved more interesting. We parked at the lower station of the upper ski lift, N39.60724 E39.49464 2339m. Once construction is complete one would presumably take the ski lift to this point or for a shorter climb, to the top station of the upper lift.

Ignoring the zigzag road we walked directly uphill across beautiful flowery meadows. Some big cliffs appeared and we trended towards their upper (LH, eastern) end, topping out on a small plateau.
The guide took us to a distinctive rocky top to the north (N39.58336 E39.51348, elev not noted) across a minor saddle. It was a quite exposed summit with good views across to Akbaba and a spectacular drop-off SE to a stony cirque with nice views of several family parties of wild mountain goats. Unlike their domesticated cousins these are apparently fairly hard to see - our guide seems impressed anyway.

Meanwhile Bob had noticed that the little plateau had a cairn (N39.58093 E39.50665, 3285m) which was a little higher and more prominent than the rocky top. We visited this and enjoyed quite close views of a family of snow finches.

However the most prominent summit in this little group lay to the southeast, directly above its col to Akbaba so we headed across there (easy walk), noting a col of 3185m (N39.57604 E39.51005 GPS) suggesting the 3285m plateau summit has approx 100m prominence. The higher summit measured 3333m initially, drifting down to 3327 over the half hour we were there.

We had a good close view of Akbaba: its SW ridge looked feasible although it would involve a longish approach from a low trail head. We could see a good (but maybe not driveable) track ascending the valley SW from Kilickaya (village shown on Google Maps) - could follow this to saddle then up ridge, which looks like could be scree/boulders but clearly crag free. This route would like involve a very long day (a lot of ascent) or overnight camp.

On the descent we passed left (W) of the 3285m plateau summit on a good track which descended through some impressive rock scenery before joining up with the ski lift road. As we were leaving the high pasture an old shepherd came running over to us. I thought we might be about to discover the Turkish for "Get off my land", but it seems he was just after tobacco, which we didn't have.

Rain was threatening and our driver brought the minibus up to meet us. The rain duly arrived and the dirt road was quite slippery for the first part of the descent.

Although not even a P600m, this summit was a very nice day out, with good wildlife and a lovely selection of wild flowers. Nevertheless after two days of failed attempts on ultras we were keen to score on Kesis Dagi tomorrow.

Photos.

Elevation / Prominence: Summit N39.56446 E39.51038 3333m on arrival, soon settling to 3327m (Etrex Legend HCx, 30 mins, 3m horizontal accuracy). Google terrain view has col 2820 interpolated between 2800 and 2840.
Jonathan de Ferranti says: local 3" SRTM data (on which Google data are based) are complete and give a cell maximum of 3307m and saddle cell of 2835m.
Hence prominence say 3327 (GPS) - 2835 (SRTM) = 492m (SRTM could be missing some elev as summit is fairly small; prom saddle (just to S, to Akbaba) looks quite flat hence use SRTM). No clear pattern of agreement/disagreement between GPS and expected/mapped summit elevs for 6 Ultras visited during this but often quite close.
No name on Google Maps / Earth.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1185 m / 3897 ft
    Extra Gain:99 m / 328 ft
    Distance:20 km / 12.4 mi
    Route:NW ridge
    Trailhead:ski lift to NNW  2339 m / 7674 ft
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country
    Gear Used:
Guide
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
(some rain at very end of hike)
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 



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