Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Akbaba NW Top (3327m/10913ft) – 23 July

Today we should have been going to Akbaba but recent PKK activity caused the military to close the valley we wanted to use to climb Akbaba so to the NW Top we went after an an overnight stay in Erzincan. More new ski-slope hardware and associated “road” allowed the mini-bus driver to save us a great deal of climbing by driving almost as far up the mountain as he could. The “road” on the lower slopes has hard-core which is noisy and dusty but further up the hill mere mud suffices.

20110723-Turkey-3461Single track road with oncoming traffic

The lower slopes are grassy and although this soon becomes sparse there are wild flowers all the way up the hillside and across the summit plateau. The NW Top is the highest of three tops on a large flat area overlooking Akbaba itself.

 

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The summits lie above these cliffs and there is a long gentle grassy shoulder leading almost to the top of the cliffs, just out of picture.

20110723-Turkey-3488Grassy shoulder with ski lift visible on the right

20110723-Turkey-3504Looking back down towards the ski lift from the plateau

20110723-Turkey-3507Cliffs on the far side of the plateau (facing Akbaba)

20110723-Turkey-3510Pauline walking towards the third summit with the second in the distance

20110723-Turkey-3512The NW Top on the right with Akbaba beyond on the left

Below these cliffs we could hear the constant rumble of falling rocks and occasionally see a rock bouncing down the cliff face with bursts of dust and fragments accompanying each percussion. Suddenly one of the guides was very excited and signalling for silence – he could see a family of rare wild mountain goats crossing at the foot of the cliffs below us. Another family, perhaps two more, followed them and the cause of all the falling rocks was now obvious. They made their way to wherever they were going entirely unaware of their audience.

20110723-Turkey-3539Pauline on the NW Top looking towards Akbaba main summit

20110723-Turkey-4012Late afternoon clouds building spectacular structures

20110723-Turkey-4021View from the hotel in Erzincan

20110723-Turkey-4028Bakery in Erzincan

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