Suphan Dagi

  • Suphan Dagi
  • 4058 m
  • Primary factor 2189 m
  • 3rd. highest in Turkey
  • Location: North 38.92633, East 042.82760 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2
  • Climbed September 2. 2021.


How to get there:
The town of Adilcevaz, located on the north shore of lake Van (and just south of the mountain), is the point of reference. The local mountaineering club offers accommodation in a small hotel, located directly on your left after turning into Adilcevaz from the highway. The location is N38.79891 E42.73946.
It is rather unfortunate, but the local authorities represented by a unit of the Turkish army, strictly prohibits any climb without a permit suphan.htmlthat includes a local guide. There are reports that they receive information from the small village near the trailhead and that they actively try to enforce the policy. A guide (recommended) that may be contacted is "Neco", his whatsapp number is +90-5066981425
In order to reach the trailhead, continue east on the highway about 24 kilometer. Turn left at location 38.87321, 42.97679. This road serves a small village, Aydinlar. In Aydinlar, turn left onto a dirt road at location 38.91864, 42.91259. This (4WD) roaad serves an antenna on a local hilltop. Turn left again at location 38.91864, 42.91259, then continue to a flat (parking) area at location 38.91684, 042.89573. This is the trailhead, elevation about 2490 meter.
Route description:
In the beginning, there is really no well defined trail, only lots of possible paths that run between small clusters of vegetation. One should head uphill. Higher, you will notice a big gully/small valley on your left. The route shall follow this until a natural point where one may cross without any loss of elevation. If in daylight, you will clearly see a big gully/valley that extends up the slope of the volcano. This is a key element of reference. (See pic.) Continue essentially to the base of the gully at location N38.92388, E042.87102, elevation about 2930 meter. The best route for ascending now climbs up the ridge on the left side of this gully, while the best descent route (scree/sand run) comes down on the right side.
Continue up on a pretty good trail with switch-backs. When you reach more level ground, the route will head left and even descend a bit in ordrer to access the final slope. A pretty distinct "valley" runs along what looks like the left side of the mountain when viewed while approching. The area is full of rocks with some patches of terrain that are easier to walk, here and there. It likely pays to descend a bit more than what immediately looks good, since the terrain then may be slightly easier. Proceed that way, then ascend the slope that will put you immediately to the right side of the summit. Higher up, the slope will ease and eventually one should turn left and scramble up the last few meter to the summit.
I had a substantial drive the day before in order to move from Elbistan to the town of Adilcevaz. Somewhat alarming, there were several recent reports about an unfriendly Turkish army unit that kept chasing climbers off the mountain. Moreover, people in the local village, near the trailhead, had a reputation for calling the military and report on people that wanted to climb. This is of course, a very unfortunate situation as it will reduce tourism and hurt the local economy.
I decided to deal with this issue by first contacting the best known local mountaineer and key member of the local mountaineering club. His name is Adam Rose. He was on Ararat, but quickly put me in touch with Nejdet Bozkurt (nickname Neco). Neco was not in town, but decided to help. He already had am agreement to take 3 people to the summit on September 3rd. Thus, he wanted to have me join this group. That would put me one day behind my schedule, I therefore told him that my first priority would be to to climb on September 2nd. Neco then told me that he could join me for a climb if we could start very early the following night. Many thanks for being so flexible.
I arrived in Adilcevaz in the early afternoon, a smart decision given all the red tape that existed here. The local care-keeper of the mountaineering hotel, Cesim Abiye, followed me to the military headquarter in town, trying to obtain a permit for a solo climb. This was not surprisingly, not successful. I checked in and planned for an early start. Upon return, I would stay another night before driving towards the Kackar mountains.
I got up at 0200, met with Neco and then we drove my car to the trailhead. Thus, we left already at 0250, quite early by my standards. We had a pretty strong wind, the gusts strong enough to push you a bit around. Otherwise, a clear night with brillant stars. The ascent proceeded as planned. We made a brief stop to enjoy a very nice sunrise at 0539. By then, we were already on the flat plateau having finished the main part of the ascent, but still facing about 300 meter vertical gain on the final slope to the summit.
We arrived at the top at 0700, it was still windy. However, one could find a good shelter very close to the cairn. I signed the summit register and took a few pictures. A rest was appropriate. We left and started back down at 0730. Retracing our route (mostly), down to the plateau, we next headed across more left. Descending into and crossing the upper part of the big gully, we used the trail that is near perfect for descending. Volcanic sand is nice for descending, the only problem being that the wind was strong enough to blow this fine sand into my eyes. I should have used my sun glasses more quickly to get better protection. We were back at my car by 1015, due to an early start, I now had all afternoon available.
Neco called back down to Cesim and asked him to go find 4 cans of cold beer. This was quite welcome, my first cold beer since arriving in Turkey. I spent the afternoon relaxing, then buying a few items for the drive next day and a nice dinner at a local restaurant in town. The next day, I left early for a long drive to the Kackar mountains in the north-east of Turkey.