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Ascent of Suphan Dagi on 2011-07-26

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Ken Jones
Bob Packard
Adrian Rayner
Andrew Tibbetts
Richard Tibbetts
Ian Charters
Pauline Charters
Wayne Herrick
Date:Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Suphan Dagi
    Location:Turkey
    Elevation:4058 m / 13314 ft

Ascent Trip Report

Tue 26 July. We climbed this 2 days after Kesis. We stayed the previous evening at the (nameless) mountaineers hotel on the main highway junction at N38.79891 E42.73946, at Edilcevaz.

To avoid the heat and because we were travelling afterwards, we made an alpine start: breakfast 0230, depart 0330, trail head 0430. To reach the trailhead, turn NW off the main D965 highway at N38.87321 E42.97679, turn L in a village (Aydinlar?) at N38.89038 E42.93690; follow the good dirt road to N38.91864 E42.91259. Here there is a sharp l turn onto an obscure track which heads up the hillside. It is just a pair of wheel ruts. Our driver got his ford transit minibus up it ok but an ordinary car may not make it all the way; also it is not easy to follow in the dark.

We parked at N38.91690 E42.89089, 2535m, and headed uphill, initially keeping a gully on our l then crossing it at N38.92170 E42.88653. We headed uphill more or less in the direction of the summit, crossing to the L side of a main gully at N38.92381 E42.87120. We then kept this on our R all the way to the skyline. As we climbed, we watched the sun rise behind us over lake Van, then a large flock of sheep and goats joined us for a while, with their herdsmen and donkeys. The main part of the ascent ended at a shoulder (bouldery knoll) N38.92335 E42.84475, 3748m. From here (see GPS track) the route heads towards a distant rounded snowy summit, crossing a small snow gully then descending 30m to a snow field which is then ascended to a stony saddle, N38.92354 E42.82725, 3876m.

During this ascent the summit, a steep bouldery cone, is on the R and once the saddle is reached, it can be climbed directly, by a fairly faint trail, mostly bouldery with some scree. The first summit reached, at N38.92640 E42.82759, has a Turkish flag and a metal box with a register which we duly signed. The whole summit area is approx 1x1 km, bouldery and has many summits, of which two are potential contenders along with the register summit, and we visited them first, over the course of 2 hours which included lunch. The NE summit (N38.93112 E42.83421) has a tall cairn. The NW summit (N38.93171 E42.82712) includes a shelter cairn. As far as we could tell from the hand level, these two summits are identical in elevation within a foot, while the SE cairn with the register is higher (by 2m according to my hand levelling). There is also an "official" cairned summit within the triangle formed by the three summits but this is clearly lower than any of them. We left the register summit at 1300 just as another group was arriving (they had apparently ascended from the south). The saved GPS track follows our descent route, which took a slightly more easterly line on the main part of the descent, initially on good scree then trended back leftwards on rubbly ground, then crossed numerous shallow gullies.

It was nice to follow a different route down, although it would have been nicer if this had been explained to the group; also the local guide went so fast that the group split at one point. Not the best guiding I have experienced; however the plates of melon waiting for us at the van were extremely welcome!

We were down by 1630. Our long day finished with a 3 hour drive to Dogubeyazit: we were to commence our 3 day Ararat ascent the following day, and paused 20 miles short of the town to view the classic snow topped cone of the big mountain.

Suphan photos
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1661 m / 5456 ft
    Elevation Loss:1661 m / 5456 ft
    Distance:16 km / 9.9 mi
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Guide
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1622 m / 5325 ft
    Extra Loss:99 m / 328 ft
    Distance:9 km / 5.6 mi
    Route:East face
    Trailhead:From SE  2535 m / 8317 ft
    Time Up:8 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1562 m / 5128 ft
    Extra Gain:39 m / 131 ft
    Distance:7 km / 4.3 mi
    Route:East face
    Trailhead:From SE  2535 m / 8317 ft
    Time Down:3 Hours 30 Minutes



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