DEMIRKAZIK AND PARMAKKAYA

Posted on: December 1, 2005


Rolando “Rolly” Larcher on the first ascent of Uc Muz (8a, 650m) on the 700-meter east face of Demirkazik (3756m) in the Ala Daglar Range, Southern Anatolia, Turkey. Larcher, Michele Paissan and Maurizio Oviglia established Uc Muz ground up, then established Mezza Luna Nascente (7c, 270m), on the striking obelisk Parmakkaya (2800m). [Photo] Maurizio Oviglia

Sometimes in jazz, three people from completely different backgrounds join forces to form a trio with the aim of playing a specific type of music. In 2003 Rolando "Rolly" Larcher, Michele Paissan and I spent twenty-five days together on the walls of Taghia creating a route that, according to Arnaud Petit (the only repeat ascensionist), was one of the best he had ever climbed. Two years had passed since then, and all of us had been absorbed by separate projects. But after I gave a slideshow on Taghia in Turin, Renzo Barbie, a passionate ski-mountaineer, approached me and confided, "I know of a place like Taghia in Turkey...." Our climbing trio is interested in setting up modern hard routes, in unknown areas, where you have to locate an objective, perhaps without knowing what the rock will be like or whether there will be any rock at all: i.e., in improvisation. The three of us didn't hesitate to regroup to look for new forms of expression.

At the start of July, we landed in Ankara. We spent the first days exploring the width and breadth of the Ala Daglar Range in Southern Anatolia—until, there it was, the wall of our dreams! We established base camp at 2900 meters and reached the foot of the wall, but, damn it, there were no holds. The main summit of another wall, the 700-meter east face of Demirkazik, towered directly above base camp. We decided this wall was our best option.

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At times rocks whistled down; the environment resembled that of higher altitudes. It was certainly nothing like a crag! But the weather was splendid and often cloudless. It was very hot in the sun and very cold in the shade; we switched from t-shirts to down jackets in less than fifteen minutes.

After ten days we'd finished and freed our route, Uc Muz (8a maximum, 7b obligatory, 650m), reaching the summit at 5 p.m. on a fantastically clear and colorful day. Standing on the 3756-meter summit of Demirkazik, we truly felt as if the world were at our feet.

With two Turkish climbers, Recep and Zeynep Ince, we then decided to repeat the much-feared French Route on the slender obelisk Parmakkaya (2800m). Only three repeats had been made on this route in ten years. The difficulties reach 7b, and we had to proceed carefully for the entire route to avoid twenty-meter falls.... We managed to onsight the route nevertheless.

But on the way, Rolly stopped a bit too often to gaze around him. As if entranced, he became obsessed with the beauty of the obelisk and decided he couldn't leave without opening a new route. Two fourteen-hour days of storm brought us to Parmakkaya's summit, having established Mezza Luna Nascente (7c, 7a+ obligatory, 270m) on the east face, swinging leads and freeing the pitches the same day. Some of the pockets were still filled with hail. Perhaps this was improvisation... or perhaps it was only the exaggerated desire to play music, and continue to do so even when the concert was over and the audience had long since gone home.

Maurizio Oviglia, Cagliari, Italy



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