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The Awe and Beauty of the Kaçkars


A common occurence for us here in Turkey is that there seems to be a lack in communications when we are planning on heading out to the mountains. What seemed like it was going to be an easy journey to the Kackars turned out to be a rather humuorous one. Instead of simply joining up with a fellow buddy who lives here in Erzurum and taking his car out to the Kackars we found out the day before that he actually had no car. Finally, we made the plan to head to the otogar where a bus would then take us and our friend to our destination. Well, that didn’t happen.

After having a ride set up to take us to the otogar, our friend told us that we would be joining another group that was also heading out to the mountains. So after saying goodbye to our ride to the otogar, the three of us hauled all of our luggage and skis for about 10 minutes and met up with the driver who would then be taking us to Yaylalar, where the hostel is. Finally, after loading the bus with our new friends, some folks from France, we made our way out of Erzurum and onto the highway that would lead us to our destination. After about four stops to entertain the French tourists and after feeling green and dizzy driving up the crazy small, rocky, windy, mountain road we finally made it to a lovely pension with the most incredible owner. Oh I miss that guy! We will be back in April to trek!

Ok so first off I must say that our time ice climbing in Eastern Turkey and now ski touring in the Kackars have been the best trips yet in Turkey! Maybe it has to do with the fact that I love the cold and love snow, but it might also have to do with the fact that I love the remote mountain villages you pass through, and absolutely love the Kackar mountain range! In fact, if Nick and I (who share different last names) ever have children we might just take on a new last name for all of us and that name will be Kackar! Yup, that is how much we loved skiing in this area.

Now this winter season has been a rather dry one so Nick and I didn’t get to experience the crazy load of snow that the Kackars usually provide for us powder lovers; however, it has been the BEST snow we have touched all season, so we were stoked to spend five days skiing!

I could go off about each and every single day and every epic ride down however, I will let the pictures do the talking and simply say.


Oh wait let me say one more thing! The best part of ski touring in the Kackars is you can do multiple beyond multiple day trips and return every evening to the warm pension, which has the most incredible, genuine, hospitable owner who cooks up some mean dinners! Yup, that was a huge highlight! Of course winter camping definitely has its perks but let’s all be honest, heading into a warm, cozy home after a cold day of skiing is an incredible feeling! And you are more inclined to stay for a week or even a few weeks! Yup, there is endless terrain to be skied, so you could fill up a month with skiing!

There is a house at the base of the Kackars that says Yaylalar (the name of the village at the base) is Heaven on Earth. They got that right! It totally is heaven on earth and Nick and I cannot wait to head back there in April and take our friends out on a trekking tour!

Get out and play hard,

Colleen Putnam or one day Colleen Kackar (oh yeah that looks good)!