TURKISH DELIGHT: NEW LIMESTONE WALLS IN TURKEY

Posted on: December 11, 2006


Ala Daglar Mountains, Turkey. The west face of Lower Guvercinlik (3000m), known locally as the Tranga Tower. Marked is the new route Come to Dervish (5.12b, 5.11d obl., 600m, Larcher-Oviglia, 2006). The wall to the right (southwest face) is thought to have been climbed by a party from the Czech Repubilic. [Photo] Maurizio Oviglia

During the first half of August a strong Italian team put up four major new routes in Turkey's Guvercinlik region, home to the famous free standing obelisk of Parmakkaya (2800m). Rolando Larcher and Maurizio Oviglia had already visited this area of the Ala Daglar mountains in southern Anatolia during 2005, putting up fine new routes on the east face of Demirkazik (3756m) and Parmakkaya itself. This year they returned to the Emli Valley with Mauro Florit and Marco Sterni, and while the latter concentrated on creating potential classic, less demanding routes, Larcher and Oviglia set about the west face of Lower Guvercinlik (3000m), known locally as Tranga Tower due to its resemblance to the famous Karakoram monolith, Trango.

Working ground up through impressive temperatures (it was nearly 30 degrees C on the summit and one day the thermometer hit 56 degrees C in the town of Adana), Larcher and Oviglia climbed the 600-meter face over the 3rd, 5th and 7th, more or less starting in the same place as an attempt two years earlier by the Swiss, Giovanni Quirici, who retreated 30 meters off the ground. In the company of local activist, Recep Ince, they returned on the 10th for the redpoint. The 13-pitch Come to Dervish (5.12b, 5.11d obl.) was hard and sustained on the first two-thirds of the wall, and protected by 65 bolts and plenty of natural threads (thin Kevlar slings are de rigour for this sort of terrain). Not surprisingly, with Larcher on the team some sections are quite runout.

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Rolando Larcher pulling through the crux pitch (5.12b) of the new route Come to Dervish on the west face of Turkey's Tranga Tower. [Photo] Maurizio Oviglia

Meanwhile Florit and Sterni had been enjoying themselves on several of the higher summits, taking GPS reading to supplement existing maps. On the east face of Yeniceri Dagi (3073m) the pair put up Ocio Muli (5.10b, 210m) on good quality limestone, though difficult to protect. Over the next two days, the 4th and 5th, the pair created Italian Classic (5.10b, 600m) on the west face of Middle Guvercinlik (3185m). This ca. 12-pitch route on beautiful rock required one hand-drilled bolt belay and reached a summit probably unclimbed prior to their visit. Then on the 8th, Florit and Sterni climbed Remembering 1955 (5.10b, 500m) on the west face of Upper Guvercinlik (3183m), another fine nine-pitch climb on superb rock. For the last two days of their holiday, all four braved the heat of the Kazikli Valley to put up several sport routes to 5.13a.



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