If you’re passing through Doğubayazit, İshak Paşa Sarayı really is a must stop. I wrote a very little about it once before when Sage and I bicycled through this region about six years ago. The photos I’m posting here today are from my second visit when the excuse to come to Doğubayazit was to climb Mt. Ararat.
İshak Paşa Sarayı is the palace on the hill above Doğubayazit. Here’s what it looks like from above and below:
I’ve written before about bicycling around the rim of Güver Uçurumu, and my last post was about trad climbing at Kapuz Boğazı at the bottom of the Güver Uçurumu. On this trip we decided to descend Güver Uçurumu Canyon directly. It’d be possible and fun to follow the canyon all the way to Kapuz Boğazı, but you really need a dedicated driver to do that feasibly. There’s no trail, and the road goes way around so even a bicycle shuttle would be rather inconvenient.
There were three of us this day, and none of us had done this route before. Bekir and I had descended Ahmetler Canyon together. We expected Güver Uçurumu to be much, much easier than that. Well, it was easier than Ahmetler, but the Güver Uçurumu descent was more challenging and took longer than we expected.
The troubles started just finding the start of the route. We ended up parking the car at Yukarı Karaman Mezarlığı which worked out fine. However, I’m pretty sure there are better (closer) places to leave the car. We weren’t far from the start of the route, but we walked quite a bit up on the rim of the canyon at the end of the trip to get back to the car. As we started walking down the canyon, we expected to see the initial descent on our right. Indeed it was, but even having been there before and keeping an eye out for the start, we managed to walk right past it!
We did this August, and there was no water flowing into the initial descent. It’d be fun to do the route again when the start would be rappelling 50m down next to a waterfall. We found the rappel bolts and were glad to have an extra 10m of cord to safely reach those bolts. They’re well on the edge of the cliff. I tied two 50m ropes together, threw one down, and was surprised that it didn’t hit the water in the pool at the bottom. I knotted the end of the second rope and then pulled the first rope back up to put a knot in that end as well. “Wasn’t the rappel supposed to be 50m?” we wondered.
Down I went, and sure enough with rope stretch 50m ropes are definitely long enough.
We started by rappelling into this pool:
Kapuz Boğazı is the name given to the area where the Güver Uçurumu Canyon widens out after the water is constricted in a narrow gorge. You can reach from below easily by road via Aşağı Karaman Köyü. I’ve come both by car and by bicycle. The only way I know of to get there from the top would be floating in the stream. There’s a small dam right at the mouth of the canyon so there’s not much current at the end of that trip. The water’s quite cold even in August.
According to the climbing guidebook (which calls this area Kapuzbaşı), there are 11 trad routes in the area shown in this photo:
The routes are on the two pinnacles and in the crack that’s (barely) visible behind and to the left of the pinnacle on the right. Seb and I started with a 70m VI+ route to get to the top of the pinnacle on the right. Here’s Seb making his way up to the summit:
Ferda used to love going to Olimpos. She took me a number of times in the first year we were together. But that was before she had spent any time in Çıralı. It was two years ago when Ferda and I were planning on going to Olimpos for a week for swimming and climbing. Fatma wanted to join us for the first couple days, but she asked that we go to Çıralı instead. After she left, we could easily walk to Olimpos and spend the rest of our week there. Sure, we said, sounds reasonable.
Well, we found nice camping in the orange orchard at Sahil Pansiyon in Çıralı and ended up spending 10 days there. We’ve been back at least twice since then (no more Olimpos for us!), and certainly I’m ready to go again.
You go climbing in the morning, swimming in the afternoon, and have a bbq in the evening. There’s a market across the street from the camping and a few shops and restaurants a five-minute walk away in the center of the village if you need anything more, like, say, a one-meter long pide.
Ferda and I first climbed in Kaynaklar in April 2015. We showed up during a festival weekend and stayed for a few days after to enjoy the climbing when it wasn’t so crowded. We liked Kaynaklar so much that we came back a year later, brought a few friends, and stayed 10 days.
Before our first visit, we looked around for a guidebook at the mountaineering shops in İzmir with no luck. “It’s the festival weekend. Just head up to the crags,” they said, “and you’ll find books for sale.” Festival? Yes. Books for sale? No. However, when we signed up for the festival (free), we were given t-shirts and an ice climbing guide book for Erzurum! I asked a friendly-looking guy if I could look at his guidebook and take a couple photos. Of course, he said. Turns out he’s the cousin of the guidebook author. He didn’t have any extra books, but once he got home, he sent us a copy of the book for free! Yep, that’s how things work in Turkey.
For how many days I’ve spent in Kaynaklar, I have very few photos. Camping (free) is generally in terraced olive orchards — beautiful old gnarled trees — near a small stream. Unfortunately, there’s too much trash from the weekend picnickers, and this is the main reason that we haven’t been back. There are 175 bolted routes in the guidebook I have, but I know they’ve started bolting entire new crags since that book was published. I ran into a bat in a hole on one route and an owl’s nest on another. I think they’ve tried some seasonal wildlife closures on some routes, but I’m not sure how well that’s worked.
The village of Kaynaklar is centered around a beautiful huge old sycamore. There are frequent dolmuş service to Buca and plenty of shops. It’s only a 10-15 minute walk from the camping to the village so it’s easy to resupply food and beer. There’s clean drinking water at a çeşme on the way. The climbing starts another 10-15 minute walk above the camping. It’s a fun, easy, and economical place to visit.