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THYME FRAGMENT HEIGHT
2000 / MARCH
The first glimpse of a mountain is a memorable moment. Even if you have often looked at its photograph, as of a far-off beloved, the magic and pleasure of the moment when you encounter it in reality is quite different. Perhaps it is this sense of excitement that distinguishes mountaineers.
The Forestry Department buildings and the beautiful lake nearby gradually disappeared from sight as we walked along the earth track through the world's largest cedar forest. We were climbing steadily higher and our bags were heavy. The air was cool.We had spent the night in a pleasant hotel in Elmali, slept well, and eaten a good breakfast. We had nothing to complain about. All we wanted now was to get our first sight of Kizlarsivrisi, the highest peak in the western Toros range. For that we had to reach the open pastures beyond the forest, which despite all its charms seemed claustrophobic.
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THYME FRAGMENT HEIGHT
2000 / MARCH

Finally the trees on both sides of the path thinned, and the mountain suddenly appeared in view directly ahead. The view was a Swiss postcard classic. Faced with that unreal flawlessness all we could do was utter exclamations.
The peak which rose into the sky was a perfect pyramid. We discussed our route on the basis of the information we had gathered beforehand, resolving finally to approach from due west and after climbing a little, continue up the south face. However, on the northwest face I could see such superb short routes, that I walked on entranced. Almost certainly no one had ever tried those.

Until recent years the 3086 metre Kizlarsivrisi had not attracted much attention from mountaineers. With scores of peaks over 3500 metres in height clustered in the Aladag Mountains of central Anatolia, for instance, why should anyone want to bother with this modest isolated peak?

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THYME FRAGMENT HEIGHT
2000 / MARCH
What was more, it was possible for anyone with a reasonable sense of balance to walk up the south face without ever putting hand to rock. That was why some mountaineers dismissed Kizlarsivrisi as being a hike not a climb. But so what! Knowing all this in no way tarnished the joy I felt at seeing this mountain for the first time, nor did it diminish the thrill of discovery.

The following day we would find a route up a mountain we had never climbed before. Although 3000 metres might not seem much, for those of us who have spent our lives at sea level it is a height not easy to reach in one day. What is more, even the world's easiest mountain can present serious problems if heavy cloud reduces visibility to 20 metres.
We set up camp next to a spring at 2000 metres and settled down to watch the view.
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THYME FRAGMENT HEIGHT
2000 / MARCH

As the sun gradually sank on the western horizon the air took on that dry chill which we had missed so badly.Inhabitants of Ankara and other places on Turkey's high plateaus will not understand why we should miss it. But those familiar with the damp chill of seaside towns will know what I mean.

Instead of seeping into your bones, the sharp cold of high altitudes is invigorating. Early the following day we began our climb. At first everything went well, but towards noon the sky suddenly clouded over. First the peak disappeared from sight, and then everything but our immediate surroundings. We carried on for a while longer through white nothingness, but at 2800 metres (if our altimeters were to be believed) we turned back.

This did not count, we assured one another. We would be back again.

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