Skiing road trip last stop: Niğde

In hindsight when Seb and I left Nemrut Dağı we should have driven southwest via Adıyaman and Adana. At the time, however, our tentative plan had been to spend the last weekend of our ski trip at Erciyes (near Kayseri) and Hasan Dağı (near Aksaray). In their effort to contain the rising number of covid hospitalizations, Turkey announced a weekend curfew. We needed either to get back to Antalya before the lockdown, stay and ski two days at the Erciyes ski resort which we understood was still open during the lockdown, or find a backcountry ski spot for the weekend. Of course, I pushed for the latter. We ended up skiing two days in Ulukışla district (ilçe) in southern Niğde province (il). It was an excellent choice.

On the way south we stopped at the ancient city of Tyana (Kemerhisar, Bor, Niğde) where the most exciting thing to see is definitely the remains of the Roman aquaduct.

IMG_20210402_143242 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210402_144504 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210402_142500 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210402_143544 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210402_144113 by bryandkeith on flickr

There was a steep pass to cross to get to the village of Maden. Then the road climbed again and deteriorated, and we were certainly happy to be there before dark navigating the messy road while it was snowing lightly.

IMG_20210402_163806 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210402_173300 by bryandkeith on flickr

What a surprise to wake up to such a nice view in the morning. Here’s that view in the afternoon when the light was better:

IMG_20210403_163617_9 by bryandkeith on flickr

And what a fantastic day of skiing. We ended up climbing up to a little above 3200m, the highest elevation of our four-week ski trip. It was just under 1300m of climbing, almost the same as we climbed on the very first day of the trip near Köklü, Erzincan. Those two days were the two biggest climbs of the trip (but not by much).

IMG_20210403_104024 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210403_104028 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210403_123314 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210403_150612 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210403_124724 by bryandkeith on flickr

The summit was still another 150m above us, but it wasn’t obvious that there was a safe route to continue up. Even so, we’d been at it over six hours and wouldn’t have reached the top before our turnaround time. We took our skins off and started the long descent.

IMG_20210403_152515 by bryandkeith on flickr

The snow was excellent — fresh, winter powder for about the first half of the descent.

IMG_20210403_152702 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210403_152918 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210403_153116 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210403_153914 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210403_153952 by bryandkeith on flickr

By the bottom, not surprisingly, it was getting kind of slushy.

IMG_20210403_155222 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210403_161125 by bryandkeith on flickr

It was the beginning of April at this point, clearly getting to the end of the season. Here’s what our tents looked like shortly after putting them up the day before:

IMG_20210402_190446 by bryandkeith on flickr

and here they are 24 hours later:

IMG_20210403_163313 by bryandkeith on flickr

From skiing weather to bicycle touring weather… there must be a message in there!

For our last skiing day of the trip and of the season we drove around to Meydan Yaylası where we had what I guess we could call a warm down day.

IMG_20210404_084337 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210404_092737 by bryandkeith on flickr

We were still on the north slopes of the same mountain, just a little farther west.

Could that be Karanfil Dağı, a little separated and south of the main Aladağlar range? by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210404_125015 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210404_125020 by bryandkeith on flickr

On this day we were able to reach the ridge and get a fine view to the south. This spot is only about 5km WNW of Medetsiz, the highest point in this range.

The summit was still over 300m higher and about 2km east along the ridge.  We turned around here. by bryandkeith on flickr
These peaks are apparently unnamed, but the main trail to Medetsiz (from Meydan Yaylası) comes up this valley from the right and goes through the obvious pass in the center of the photo.  From the pass the trial continues climbing to the right but on the  by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210404_131935 by bryandkeith on flickr

Nice scenery. I suppose I could call this post “Bolkar Dağları mountain eye candy” again?

The ski down was definitely sloppier than the day before, but it was a great last day of the season.

Seb has much more tolerance for cross fall line skiing than I do.  You can see that I skied down, then cut a traverse, so I could continue down the fall line again. by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210404_141100 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20210404_151512 by bryandkeith on flickr
bolkar_uluk%C4%B1%C5%9Fla by bryandkeith on flickr
bolkar_uluk%C4%B1%C5%9Fla_zoomout by bryandkeith on flickr

The only thing left to do to make the trip a complete success was to get Seb’s 40-year-old car back to Antalya.

The following morning we made it to the village of Çakırbağ, a little passed the provincial capital of Karaman. There we phoned Mustafa, the first listing Seb found when he googled “tow trucks in Karaman”. About 20 minutes later, Mustafa’s younger brother, Mehmet, showed up and took us the rest of the way to Antalya.

IMG_20210405_103700 by bryandkeith on flickr

Successful trip indeed.

Still inspired by Cathy and Curt, here is the trip by numbers:

  • 32 days of the trip
  • 21 skiing days
  • 17 “backcountry” (i.e. non-lift served) skiing days
  • 9 nights in the tent
  • 16469 total elevation gained on backcountry days (m)
  • 969 average elevation gained on backcountry days (m)
  • 1299 most elevation gained in one backcountry day (m; Köklü, Erzincan)
  • 3215 highest elevation (m amsl; Maden, Ulukışla, Niğde)

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2 Responses to Skiing road trip last stop: Niğde

  1. Jennie says:

    Incredible!

  2. Mike Painter says:

    What a fun adventure!

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