Monday, November 26, 2012

Adventure Monday: Turkey

After countless breakfasts, lunches, dinners and even dreams, this summer the time finally came to remove the photo off the kitchen wall.

Here's an outstanding account of an off-the-beaten-track adventure in the mountains of Turkey, not a place generally associated with high-end alpinism. My favorite part is how well it conveyed the games climbers play in their heads dreaming of ascents. Most of these go unfinished. It's much easier to spy a line up a rock face than it is to make it a reality, especially in far off lands. But without such visions our sport would not exist. Occasionally we live our dreams, and this is a tale of one of those times. Be sure and click through to the photos at the bottom. There are still many amazing remote areas left to be explored. For those of us with an inkling of adventurous spirit, it's guaranteed to set your mind in motion.

The story of the new route on Cima Vay Vay dates back to 2005. It was then that Larcher first heard about the great wall of splendid limestone from his friend Recep Ince - the alpinist and owner of the campiste that has always been the base for climbing expeditions in this mountain chain. Ince knows these mountains like the back of his hand, far better than anyone else and a year later the first "contact" came about. "I set off with Recep" explained Larcher "and after walking for two long days, having climbed over numerous passes, following no path at all and with only a rough map which ended 2/3 of the way there, we finally reached the Barazama waterfalls. We bivied ad the foot of the majestic Vay Vay amphitheatre and managed to photograph the face in the fleeting early morning light... At home I hung this photo up in my kitchen and I knew that, sooner or later, its time would come."

And there, at 3000m, is another clue as to why someone can be so in love with such cumbersome toils. For they were awaited by "an idyllic place, a hectare of happiness, a place of tranquillity amid the moraine. It was our small, provisional paradise: a perfectly trimmed lawn ideal for our tents, a snowfield to the side which acted as a fridge, a crystal clear lake fed by a stream, two boulders which provided shade on rest days, both in the morning and in the afternoon..." And, what is more, this was all located directly opposite Vay Vay, that authentic sheet of rock, 1 km wide, 600 meters high and even with glacier at its base. Marvelous!

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