Rock Climbing in Aladaglar
There are 3 main sport Climbing areas in Aladaglar.
1. Kazıklı Ali Canyon
Kazıklı Canyon lies in the southern part of the Aladaglar. The Canyon that you see on your right when going to Sarımemetler from Martı Village is Kazıklı Canyon. Kazıklı Canyon means valley with the poles. Around one hundred years ago a villager by the name of Ali drove wooden poles into the cracks of the rocks in the valley and used these to climb up to the hives of wild bees and helped himself to their honey. This is how the valley received its name. If you look closely at the cracks in the rocks you can still see remains of those poles sticking out of the rock today.
The rock in Kazıklı Canyon is conglomerate.Full of big pockets, mono fingerholds and big overhangs. This valley is a true paradise for rock climbers.
The first routes where opened by Süleyman Vardal, Zeynep Tantekin and Recep Ince in 2003. At this date there are over 350 routes in the canyon.
2. Cımbar Valley
Cımbar Valley houses the first bolted routes in Aladağlar and in Turkey, put up with great efforts of Pascal Duverney and Dennis Condevaux. No new routes were added after those which were put up in 1993 – 1996, until Zeynep Tantekin and Recep İnce has settled in the region in 2002 and started equipping new routes.
The rock structure is limestone, and technical sports climbing is commonly practiced.
The routes are very solid, unlike conglomerate rocks. There are not many negative routes, most of them are surface / slap routes, which require technical climbing and a good deal of balance. There are over 100 sport climbing routes and over 30 multi-pitch bolted routes.
Some routes are known to go up to 300 meters long.
Being very close to the road, routes start from 1 min. walking distance from the vehicles and spread all over the valley. Cımbar Valley is also a popular spot for hikers and birders, so extra care should be taken for falling rocks while climbing on mulpi-pitch routes, since someone might be walking inside the valley.
Most of the routes are under shade in the afternoon, so in the heat of the summer while the humidity is low, climbing is very pleasant.
3. Pınarbaşı Canyon
First bolted routes in Pınarbaşı canyon was set up by French mountain guides Denis Condaveux and Pascal Duverney in 1993. The duo has set up 3 sports climbing routes and 1 bolted alpine route. After that, there was no significant climbing activity in the canyon, until Maurizio Oviglia and Recep İnce have set up over 20 traditional and bolted sports routes in june 2012.
Pınarbaşı Canyon is a promising climbing spot that has notable potential for traditional, sports and alpine (multi-pitch) routes. The canyon has limestone structure and common practices are technical and crack climbing. You will feel your body become as one with the rocks.
There is no restriction for new traditional routes, but please do not set up new bolted routes without consulting us first.
We usually anchor one or two bolts on the top of the traditional route for descending.
The canyon is narrow and there is a risk of falling rocks because of the birds on top, so be sure to use helmets at all times. It may be chilly even in the hot summer season, so make warm clothing available with you.
Despite being a short canyon of 200 – 300 m. it is a climbers paradise. The spot is very promising with the potential for traditional climbing. There are no limits here for those who wish to improve their skills in crack climbing or surface climbing.
The History of Mountaineering and Climbing in Aladağlar
The Aladağlar were first visited by researchers and travelers in the early 1900’s. The first person to visit the area and wander into the valleys was the Austrian Geologist Franz Schaffer. Schaffer was not here to climb the mountains, but to do scientific research; therefore the only peak he climbed was the top of Alaca. Back home he told of this area as a “undiscovered territory with endless peaks” and this prompted Dr. George Künne, Dr. Wilhelm Martin and his wife Marianne to visit the area and climb Demirkazık in the company of the brave villager Veli Çavuş from Karamuk village. Veli Çavuş was the first local to climb the highest peak of the region and we guess he must have been very proud of his accomplishment. Dr. George Künne, Dr. Wilhelm Martin and his wife Marianne left their guide and went to Emli valley. From there they climbed Kaldı (3736 m) and Alaca (3588 m).
In 1938 Walter Pleunigg, Siegfried Tritthart, Hermann Heide and Josef Pucher, all members of the German – Austrian Alpine club visited the region and climbed 30 summits, 25 of them had never been climbed before. This team did the first ascents of peaks like Küçük Demirkazık, Koca Sarp, Beşparmak, Çağılın Başı, Yıldız Başı.
Meanwhile, in 1939 the Turkish Mountaineering Federation was formed under the leadership and presidency of Latif Osman Çakıgil.
In the summer of 1943 two English mountaineers, H. Peck and Robin Hodgkin climbed Demirkazık by a new route. The duo climbed the mountain from the south-western side through what is still called the Hodgkim-Peck way today.
During the 1950’s the Aladağlar gained popularity under Turkish, Austrian, German and Italian climbers.
In 1953 a Turkish – Austrian climbing expedition was undertaken and the Turkish members of this group; Ersin Alok, Muvaffak Uyanık, Rasim Akın and Selehattin Dipçin climbed Demirkazık, Kaldı, Küçük Demirkazık, Lorut and Emler.
In 1955 the area was visited by mountaineers from Trieste in Italy. Bruno Crepaz, Nino Corsi, Walter Mejak and Gregorio Invrea climbed in the Trosan area and did over 20 new ascents including Vay Vay.
In 1970 almost all of the peaks of the Aladaglar had been climbed. The greatest success in 1972 was the first ascent of the north face of Demirkazık by the Australian Joe Friend and the New Zealander Rick Jamieson. The first Turkish team to repeat the ascent where Recep Çatak and Ömer Tüzel in 1980.
In 1988 the first Turkish and third general ascent of Parmakkaya was realized by Emre Altoparlak and David Smeatson. The entire route was successfully lead climbed by Emre Altoparlak.
During the 1990’s the Aladağlar where visited by many Turkish climbers and harder routes where attempted. One of these climbs was the successful solo attempt of the Demirkazık north face by Ertuğrul Melikoğlu. The climb was completed in two days.
In 1993 two French mountain guides Denis Condevaux and Pascal Duverney came to the Aladağlar and opened alpine sport routes and sport climbing routes in Cimbar strait, Yelatan wall and Kavurga. These where Turkey’s first alpine sport and sport climbing routes.
In 1994, the same duo opened an alpine sport route on the north-eastern face of Parmakkaya. From there they continued to Güvercinlik valley where they equipped another two alpine sport routes. The first of these routes is on the western face of the Güvercinlik III tower, the second one is on the eastern face of Mount Yeniçeri.
In 2004 two Swiss climbers, Francesco Pellanda and Giovanni Quirici along with the Turkish climber Mümin Karabaş opened an Alpine sport route on the southern face of Okşartepe called “Elmaslar içinde – Diamonds on the inside.”
2005 marked a new era in the Aladağlar. Three Italian climbers, Rolando Larcher, Maurizio Oviglia and Michele Paissan opened the regions hardest route: “Üç muz – three bananas”, 8a max. on the east face of Demirkazık.
From there the team moved through Emli Valley and onto Parmakkaya where they opened a second Alpine sport route: “Mezza Luna Nascente” 7c.
In June 2006, Helmut Gargiter and Paul Trenkwalder opened a third alpine sport route on Parmakkaya. In August of that same year Italian climbers from Trieste, Marco Sterni and Mauro Florit opened three new traditional routes in Güvercinlik valley. During that same period Rolando Larcher and Maurizio Oviglia opened a new Alpine sport route on the face of Güvercinlik I : “Come to Dervish”.
In June 2007 Marco Sterni, Mauro Florit, Umberto Lavazzo and Massimo Sacchi
opened the first Alpine sport route on the west face of Kızılın Başı. That same summer Maurizio Oviglia and Recep Ince opened two more Alpine sport routes; on the western wall of Yelatan and at Teke Pınarı.
In october 2012 Stéphanie Bodet and Arnaud Petit came to Aladağlar to repeat these routes.
These modern routes that are being developed in the Aladağlar since the beginning of 2000 will continue to provide
inspiration for many climbers. Our greatest wish is that these routes will continue to be developed by people who are sensitive to our local ethics… Our motto is; better to have a few good routes than many bad ones…
Source: Ömer B. Tüzel “The Ala Dag” Cicerone press. This book provides a lot of information about the Aladağlar