Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Antalya Turkey 2011

Just got back from a week in sunny southern Turkey climbing on the beautiful tufa-dripping
limestone cliffs of Geyikbayiri.

Located a short drive inland from the airport in Antalya, the road winds up into the hills, arriving a little unexpectedly into a beautiful forested landscape. Two climber's campsites (Josito and the Climber's Garden) provide semi-rustic dwellings for your stay.

The cliffs are literally a stones throw away, which provides a grand evening's entertainment of watching climbers lobbing off various projects from the safety of the porch of your bungalow.

The area has 500+ routes and counting - there's something for everyone - from fun fours and fives to jaw-dropping sevens and eights. If you are operating in the F5 - F7a (like me!) then there is more than enough to keep you entertained for a lifetime, but arguably the easier stuff is more limited and I might be tempted to look elsewhere - El Chorro? Saying that if you are looking for a relaxing holiday and want to visit some hamams, ruins and beaches as well as climb then this is definitely the place for you. Did I mention the food?

We combined our visit with a trip down the coast to Cirali near Olympos about an hour or so drive away by hire car. We swam in the sea - beautifully clear and warm to boot - and lounged on the pebble beach soaking up some well needed rays. We also joined the throng of people heading up the hillside into the darkness to see the Chimera which turned out to be well worth the effort. A source of natural gases escaping from the ground combust upon contact with the air to produce flames. The myth, according to Lonely Planet bible, has it the original olympic torch was first lit here.

The area also has some good rock climbing and some pretty roman ruins like a small version of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, where trees and dolmens vie for attention.

Back to the important stuff: the climbing. I've been mostly hitting Spain recently so Turkey made a pleasant change and it had quality by the bucket-hold load.

As with many limestone destinations there was a good mix of the grey pocketed fingery style, as well as the over hanging orange juggy stuff. I took a 70m Edelweiss laser rope and 20 draws which was ample. If anything its slightly over-bolted in places and I found myself skipping the odd bolt - but better that than too few!

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