Ascent of Kizilkaya on 2011-07-19

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Recep Ince
Andrew Tibbetts
Date:Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
    Elevation:12359 ft / 3767 m

Ascent Trip Report

A hard scramble / easy climb, steep and loose. As Kizilkaya becomes better known as the true summit, the loose rock should be cleared and the route better marked and perhaps protected.

We had arrived the previous evening after summitting Hasan Dagi. We stayed in two 4-bed chalets at Aladaglar Camping, N37.82410 E35.05086, 1475m, Çamardi, owned by Recep Ince, our guide.

Summit location: this was discussed at some length. The Aladaglar map on summitpost shows the N summit Demirkazik at 3756m, the middle peak Engin Tepe (aka Emler) at 3723m and the S peak Kizilkaya at 3725m. A wall map in the campsite cafe was similar this and also showed another summit at 3734m several km further S. However an older 1:100k map showed Kizilkaya as higher and Recep said there had been a recent GPS survey which put Kizilkaya 11m higher - unknown how precise the survey had been. We had 2 days available and Recep agreed to take up a scouting party with Bob's hand level to check out the route and see if we could decide which summit was higher. Surprisingly Recep himself hadn't yet climbed Kizilkaya.

After a 6 a.m. breakfast, Andrew and I set out with Recep in his 4x4, taking a rough track which finished high on an alpine meadow at N37.81476 E35.10929, 2296m. A trail continues, contouring across a flowery slope into a rocky valley where it joins a wider trail from a campsite. We follow the trail up the valley, through a narrow gorge into a wide stony valley above. Here we pass a group of 4 young folk who were heading for Emler peak. The trail continues zig zagging up a scree slope. On the slope above we hear the weird calls of Caspian snowcock: we are told this is a good place to find these sought-after birds although they can be hard to get a view of. A faint fork is reached at N37.79718 E35.14573, 3165m, with a scree trail leading R towards a high saddle. Halfway up, the trail runs out and there are a few small crags to climb: easy scrambling but with plenty of loose rock - care needed.

We arrive at the saddle, N37.79303 E35.15187, 3483m, and study the SW face of our mountain - a vertical-looking ledge system, rather loose viewed through binoculars, with a prominent needle below the summit. The route initially traverses R, descending slightly; we then scramble up a series of slabs, fairly steep and rubbly. We then zigzag up a series of steep ledges, often stopping to look for the best route. There are a few cairns but not enough to reliably follow (Recep builds a few more). At last we pass R below the needle and after a few more ledges we reach the ridge a few metres R of the summit, with a short walk to the highest point, N37.79678 E35.15687. The cairn has a summit register buried among the stones: the most recent entry was about 10 days ago.

The view from the tiny summit to the surrounding peaks and ridges is superb. Emler is clearly lower but Demirkazik looks higher. My handheld GPS reads 3768m initially then settles at 3774 - higher than the expected Demirkazik elevation. I unpack Bob Packard's hand level. This suggests we are at least 10m higher than Demirkazik and a lot higher than Emler and the southern summit xxx. Later that evening we learn from a friend of Recep that the GPS survey was military and the official elevation is 3767m: we have indeed bagged the Ultra.

After half an hour we descend. We initially follow the ridge E for a few metres then follow a ledge W to find a long sling looped round a projection. Recep reties this to remove a damaged length then adds a piton and sling as backup. We abseil most of a 50m rope length to another anchor then abseil another full rope length. This has got us down the steepest section but there is still a lot of work to do, zigzagging and downclimbing, extreme care needed as the ledges are strewn with loose stones and many of the holds are not trustworthy. The final 50m is a descent of the steep scree gully we had ascended next to. There are a few rock steps and slabs to look out for, so this section also requires care. Finally we reverse the earlier easy traverse and are back at the 3483m saddle, 3h30 after we had left it.

We have time in hand so Recep suggests we climb the SW top N37.79079 E35.14680, 3560m, P77 GPSr, which is an easy walk from the saddle. This is a fantastic viewpoint for Kizilkaya and Emler. Kizilkaya looks almost unclimbable from here!

The descent to the car takes about 1h30, mostly scree running.

The consensus is that the peak is not suitable for a group ascent. Fortunately there is another Ultra, Medetsiz, 60km to the S and we negotiated for Recep to take us there the following day.

Timings: trailhead 0720, saddle 1030, summit 1210-1245, saddle 1415, SW summit 1430-1500, trailhead 1625.

Hasan and Kizilkaya photos

GPS track to follow.

Logistics: we were a group of 8 on an Ultra bagging trip arranged through Anatolian Adventures. They arranged accommodation, transport and a local mountain guide.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5079 ft / 1547 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5079 ft / 1548 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.3 mi / 15 km
    Grade/Class:YDS 4
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Rope, Guide
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4826 ft / 1470 m
    Distance:4.3 mi / 7 km
    Route:from W; SW face
    Start Trailhead:above Çamardi  7533 ft / 2296 m
    Time:4 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5079 ft / 1548 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4826 ft / 1471 m; Extra: 253 ft / 77m
    Gain on way out:253 ft / 77 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Route:SW face
    End Trailhead:above Çamardi  7533 ft / 2296 m
    Time:3 Hours 40 Minutes

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