Kirkgozler Chasm

During our recent expedition to Turkey, whilst prospecting in the hills behind the Kirkgozler resurgence, one of our parties found a previously unknown shaft which has since become known as the Kirkgozler Chasm.

The Chasm is situated about twenty minutes scramble up the hill to the west of the resurgence, and takes the form of a large oval depression which tapers down steeply into a vertical shaft. A short scramble down the East side of the shaft leads to a small ledge below which the shaft becomes vertical for about forty metres before belling out. All that could be seen looking down the shaft from this point was a large black hole and no sign of any bottom. Stones dropped from here took about seven and a half seconds to hit the bottom!

Two LC&CC members, Karl Lunt aid Pete Hall together with myself started to rig the shaft the next day using SRT. A tree and a bolt used as belays from the ledge led shortly to a bolt V hang and a forty metre pitch, which took us to the point where the shaft started to bell out.. Another V hang and a free hanging changeover then led to a superb free hanging 135 metre pitch. Landing at the bottom of the big pitch we found ourselves in a chamber with a slightly conical floor measuring some 35 by 45 metres. Leading off this chamber was a short pitch to the head of a steeply sloping chamber which ended in mud banks and gravel fill with no apparent way on. A climb down a hole, found up on the side of this chamber led into a steeply descending rift which eventually pinched cut. This proved to be the deepest part of the system. Total depth to this point was about 25 metres.

Although I have described the descent of the system as a continuous operation, the rigging was carried out on two days separated by a week. This was due to a grave shortage of rope! After the first day frantic phone calls were made to England in the early hours of a Sunday morning in an effort to track down Pete Hesketh, another LC&CC member who was due to fly out to join us on the following Tuesday. He was finally, tracked down, sleeping off a heavy session on a living room floor somewhere in Manchester!
Pete duly arrived in Antalya carrying 200 metres of rope, his tin whistle and very little else.
The chasm proved to be the highlight of the trip. The 26 minutes it took to ascend the shaft is an experience that will stay with me for a long time ( nearly as long as the memory of the descent using a worn Petzl Stop C which very nearly didnít).

Phil Luff.

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