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Geyikbayiri, Geyik Sivrisi, Crazy Eye

The Geyikbayiri area is popular for sport climbing, but when Michael Pearson and I traveled there in July we had trad in mind. Our goal was the possibly unclimbed 600m northwest face of Geyik Sivrisi (Sivridag). This limestone face is about three hours’ walk south from the sport area. The mountain has two tiers separated by a large terrace. Our plan was to approach the terrace via a gully through the first tier. From here we could cherry-pick a good line up the upper tier.

We set off at 2:30 a.m. on July 8 with five liters of water each and a streamlined rack. The gully leading to the terrace soon became technical, and we had to pitch the final part. We found a lone bolt before the technical pitch, evidence that another party had belayed or bailed at this point. The 55m pitch above was tricky and had very little gear (E1 5b). After this it took an hour to get to the base of the main face.

The rock above was mostly solid limestone, with occasional loose sections. The crux second pitch afforded some nice climbing (English 5b), but gear was not great. We reached the summit at 5:30 p.m. after a total of nine pitches (500m of climbing) plus the pitch in the gully, and called our new route Crazy Eye. After Michael scribbled in the summit book we began our descent.

The mountain has a marked footpath down the southeast side, but since we were camped on the opposite side we tried the northeast ridge. This provided some exposed scrambling and we abseiled in two places. We were benighted on the terrace, and the safest way down seemed to be abseiling the familiar gully we had climbed earlier in the day. This took three hours, and the walk to the campsite another four. Our overworked minds played tricks on us, seeing snakes, spiders, and scorpions in our head torch shadows—there also were an alarming number of genuine scorpion sightings. We arrived at camp at 2 a.m. after an exhausting 24-hour assault on the mountain. I would like to thank the Irvine Fund, for without their support we penniless students would not have been able have such a great adventure.

Ian Faulkner, Oxford University Mountaineering Club