The Cilo-Sat Mountains, within the Southeastern Hakkari province, are the Eastern extension of the Toros (Taurus) mountain chain, which stretches from West to East along Turkey’s Southern boundaries. This range of mountains in fact forms the Westernmost section of the Himalayan mountain belt. At 4136 meters, the Uludoruk (Resko) summit is the highest in the Cilo mountains; Catalkaya (Samdi), which rises to 3794 meters, crowns the Sat mountains. Resembling the Alps in both general appearance and glacier topography, the Cilo-Sat mountains are the areas in Turkey most affected by glaciers. The high altitudes of the mountains testify to the effects of glacial formation and water erosion. Of the ten uniquely shaped glaciers, the largest, Izbirak, measures five kilometers in length, 500-600 meters in width and reaches 100 meters in depth.
A wide arid expanse stretches across the Southern bases of the mountain range. The highlands, in contrast, receive plentiful precipitation during the winter months. In between crests and summits, green and fertile valleys dotted with rural settlements, enjoy a temperate climate that makes them ideal for vine and fruit agriculture.
Above the low valleys, alpine meadows blanket the mountain slopes at altitudes between 2000 and 3100 meters. Herds of domestic animals, which graze in these pastures, make up the primary economic activity of the region.
Trips and Climbs
Arduous and elevated summits, high glaciers, glacial rivers and fast moving streams combine to make the Cilo-Sat mountains both a fascinating geographic and geological site of world-wide importance. The best time for summer excursions is during June, July, August and September. For winter climbing, February and March are the most suitable months.
To reach the Cilo-Sat mountains, travel to Van from Ankara by road, rail or air and then follow the 245-km long highway to Hakkari. Serpil village offers one route for an ascent of Uludoruk; another route Westside of Cilo, is Dezkoy.
A vast yayla culture has evolved on the Cilo and Sat mountains, and the summer migration of the colorfully clad local population to the high grazing pastures is a wonderful sight. Mountain glaciers, swiftly running rivers brimming with fish and beautiful glacier lakes are a few of the area’s natural wonders.