To the summit of Güllük Dağı, Termessos

Termessos is one of my favorite ruined cities in Turkey.  It has a beautiful setting in the mountains above Antalya.  I’ve been at least five times — only once by bicycle — and have blogged about it before.  This was the first time, however, I climbed Güllük Dağı.  That’s the steep mountain that you can’t help looking at when you’re sitting in the theater.  Here it is behind me in a photo taken almost five years ago:

DSCN5003 by bryandkeith on flickr

This is the view we got of the mountain as we were walking up to the summit a couple weeks ago:
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An overnight to Tastaratacağı and Çalbalı

The hardest thing about this one-night backpacking trip with Özgür and Burak was remembering the name of the first peak we summited: Tastaratacağı.  Çalbalı’s a little easier, but maybe that’s because I’ve climbed it before.

We drove up to Hisarçandır and then took the dirt road that heads up to Sarı Çınar, the summit with the large antenna on top.  In the forest there’s a marked intersection with a sign indicating Üçsöğüt Yaylası is to the left.  It’s not.  We went right and then left onto a smaller road at an unmarked intersection higher up.  We followed that road most of the way to Üçsöğüt Yaylası until the going gets too rough for a normal car.

From where we parked our car to the summit of Tastaratacağı took less then two hours, even carrying our big packs.  I was surprised as I’d heard that access to Tastaratacağı was rather difficult.  It turns out that the difficult thing is getting to the bottom of Tastaratacağı.  There are a couple 900m trad routes up the steep east face of the mountain.  Getting to the start of those routes takes some effort apparently.

Here are some views from Tastaratacağı’s jagged summit:

That's Çalbalı in the center by bryandkeith on flickr
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Turkey’s far southeast: Sümbül Dağı, Hakkari

I’ve been putting off writing this blog because my camera went kaput just as we were starting up the mountain so I have no photos of what was the reason to travel to Hakkari: climbing Sümbül Dağı.  Of course, my climbing partners took photos, and I’ve posted some here, but I was somewhat disappointed with their photos.

Hakkari is Turkey’s most southeastern province, bordering both Iraq and Iran.  Due to security issues, there are sometimes travel restrictions in place, and indeed when we were here, we weren’t allowed to travel to Yüksekova and needed special permission from the jandarma to climb Sümbül Dağı.  I believe the road between Hakkari and Şırnak was also off-limits at the time.

As far as the climb, well, the last 500m vertical was a fun wide couloir climb, all on snow.  We should have great photos, but it seems folks may have been a bit nervous on the steep snow to take many photos.  The views from the summit of the mountains to the east toward Iran and to the south toward Iraq were fantastic, yet the only summit photos that anyone took were looking west toward the city of Hakkari. 🙁

Here are Naci Abi and Deniz, signing the summit register with the provincial capital below:

90dea3a1-bd9b-46c3-8174-6538f10c7ffc_1 by bryandkeith on flickr

and the only photo of the fun, long couloir:
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Bozcaada, Assos, Adatepe, Bergama: a three-day bus tour

I’ve been putting off writing this blog because I felt like it’d end up being pretty negative.  Ferda’s friend, Şebnem, does lots of these weekend bus tours.  She convinced Ferda to come on this tour last spring, and Ferda, in turn, convinced me.  It was a three-day tour, spending two nights at a comfortable hotel in Altınoluk.

The tour itinerary went something like this: Bozcaada and Assos on day one; Kaz Dağı and Adatepe on day two; Cunda Adası, Ayvalık, and Bergama on day three.  Since I’m such a big fan of Roman ruins, I was most looking forward to Bergama (aka Pergamon).  Additionally there’s an old church in Ayvalık that I wanted to visit, and I had heard nice things about the small historic village of Assos.

Certainly the tour wasn’t a complete disappointment, but we could have used our three days in the area much more efficiently.  The worst waste of time was on the third day spending so long at dirty Cunda Adası where there’s really nothing to see (our guide ate breakfast here, but the rest of us had eaten at the hotel), followed by an hour at a viewpoint (Şeytan Sofrası) where 10 minutes for a photo would have been more than enough.  In the end our guide decided we didn’t have time to stop in Ayvalık that day.  Oh, by then I was pissed.

But, wait, I didn’t want this to be so negative.

We started with an overnight bus from Antalya to Geyikli where the ferries leave for Bozcaada.  How Condé Nast readers chose this island as the world’s second most beautiful remains a mystery to me.  We spent a couple hours to visit the fortress and wander around the cute center.  I’ve only been to a few islands in the Aegean. Chios is far and away my favorite.

DSC08760 by bryandkeith on flickr
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Ihlara to Antalya via the Konya Plains, by bicycle

Another short bicycle tour in Turkey.  It only took 10 days to cycle from Ihlara to Antalya.  The unusual thing about this tour was just how flat it was: ~8000m of climbing in 700km.  That doesn’t sound so flat so we have to put those numbers in context.  That’s the same climbing:distance ratio as our trip from Hamburg to Stockholm this summer and lower than any other trip I’ve done in Turkey.  I guess you’d have to tour in Holland or Bangladesh to get a much flatter tour than this one.

I started by heading south out of Ihlara straight toward the picturesque volcano, Hasan Dağı.  I ended up skirting the northern and western flanks of the mountain, enjoying the views from different angles.

20171113_142825_1 by bryandkeith on flickr
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