Ascent to Erciyes Dagi-lower pinnacle on 2011-07-22

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Ken Jones -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Adrian Rayner
Andrew Tibbetts
Richard Tibbetts
Ian Charters
Pauline Charters
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, July 22, 2011
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Ski Lift
Point Reached:Erciyes Dagi - lower pinnacle
    Elevation:12841 ft / 3913 m
    Remaining Elevation:10 ft / 3 m (0% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

A longish route with some easy snow. Note that the true summit is an approx 15m pinnacle ascended by a class 4 chimney with loose rock and a rope ladder of unknown vintage (looked ok). None of us made the highest point.

We climbed it from the east, 2 days after Medetsiz.

From Kayseri, follow brown tourist signs directing the way to Erciyes: these lead to a ski resort situated at a col (N38.54065 E35.52614, 2206m, lower teleferique station). It is necessary to first visit the military police at the S end of the resort. They kept our passports during the ascent; they may forbid climbing if conditions are considered unsuitable (they are the de facto mountain rescue service).

Viewed from the road, the E ridge has one obvious problem: a massive gendarme blocking the ridge at about 3650m. It can be avoided on the R but this involves snow at 45-60 degrees plus danger of rock fall from above. Our guide Recep Ince ( Aladaglar Camping ) was dubious whether he could get any of us to the summit but in the end 7 of us decided to "take a look".

The ascent is best started at the top station of the ski lift. This was not operating when we arrived but they were willing to start it up for our party. The cost of a round trip ticket was 28 lira. This got us up to 2771m (N38.53336 E35.49379): considerably lower than the 2970m elevation advertised but still a lot better than walking up from the road i.e. 2206m. From the top station, a trail heads uphill and crosses a wider track. Soon there are rocks placed across the trail and a fainter trail forks left at N38.53060 E35.48626, uphill, then levels off. A trail can now be seen zigzagging up the stony hillside: follow this onto the ridge then turn R and climb the steep ridge. The SE Top is reached (N38.52208 E35.45911, 3671m, P70m GPSr); then descend to a col.

We stopped at the 3600m col (N38.52578 E35.45553) for lunch and considered our options. Recep was unhappy with the steep snow traverse on the RHS of the ridge and went to see if it was feasible to bypass the big gendarme on the left instead. He motioned for us to follow. We crossed an awkward loose rocky slope then ascended a little to a gap R of an impressive pointed gendarme, at N38.52853 E35.44995, 3680m (cairn). From here we crossed through the gap, descended a little, crossed some boulders then made a long ascent on soft easy snow. The slope continued, alternating scree and snow, until we reached the ridge above the big gendarme. We looked down on the steep snow slope we had studied from the road: at least 60 degrees: we were glad we had not attempted it. An easy ascent led to the base of the summit, then more steep scree and snow led past a small cave (shrine) to the summit. This consists of two pinnacles. The first is lower, relatively easy to reach but very exposed (N38.53179 E35.44692, 3929m GPSr). The true summit is a loose-looking pinnacle approx 15m high, overtopping its neighbour by 2-3m - maybe more (GPS approx 25m higher than expected elevation). The ascent route is a chimney, reached by a short ledge above a 10m drop, i.e. much less exposed but still serious. The chimney looks potentially loose and there is a makeshift rope ladder (appearing to be in reasonable condition). By now we were short of time; Recep had no plans to take any of us up the summit pinnacle. I was tempted to scramble it but decided not to risk it.

We headed down on easy scree, avoiding the snow slope we had climbed, then headed back through the gap and across the loose rocky slope to regain the main trail which we followed back down the ridge, reaching the ski lift after the expected 6pm closing time. Luckily they were still busy with upward traffic and we got our ride down and were soon back down at the Van.

It was time to say farewell to Recep after 5 days. He headed back to Aladaglar and we were joined in Kayseri by Burak who was to look after us for the rest of our 2 week trip. We had a meal then drove overnight to Erzincan. We climbed Kesis Dagi 2 days later

Erciyes 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:4274 ft / 1301 m
    Extra Gain:262 ft / 79 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.5 mi / 12 km
    Route:east ridge
    Trailhead:Upper teleferique station  9091 ft / 2770 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 4
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Guide
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
(thunderstorm at end of hike)
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 15 Minutes

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