Merhaba climbers! I’m back on Dutch soil! It’s nearly Christmas time and I’d like to share my holiday story with you.

2 days after the national competition I entered the airplane at Schiphol. I was hoping for some sunny weather during winter. It was an escape from cold Netherlands. I was thinking of Spain or Greece or Turkey. I picked the latter 😀 and I think it was a good decision.

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Photo: Geyik Bayiri – Sarkit

Nowadays you’ll need to register for a visa in advance. You can do that online here.

From Schiphol I flew to Istanbul and from there to Antalya. A flight from Amsterdam to Istanbul takes about 3 hours. From Istanbul to Antalya is just 1,5 hour. In Turkey I went to Geyik Bayiri, which is a familiar climbing spot 30 minutes away from Antalya. Many campsites offer a pickup service from the airport, which was quite convenient. You can arrange that in advance by contacting the campsite. I visited this place for a few weeks and was really looking forward to it!

The first day was a rainy and cold day when I arrived in Geyik Bayiri. It was my first restday. Speaking of restdays, I stayed 22 days and had 4 real rest days 😀

During my climbing days, I visited several crags in Geyik Bayiri: Sarkit, Trebenna, Dragon and Mevlana. When you stay in Geyik Bayiri, you won’t need a car. Within 20 minutes by foot you can visit these areas. For sunny hot days I’d recommend Trebenna. On cloudy/mid sunny days it’s good to visit Sarkit / Dragon. When it rains you can still climb in Mevlana. This area will stay dry for a long while. I also visited a new area Çidtibi and some local climbing areas which aren’t in the topo guide. For these area’s you’ll need a car and some motivated (+local) climbers.

I met some new climber friends in Jo.Si.To Guesthouse Camp. It’s the basecamp where I stayed for 3 weeks and where many Germans, Americans, Swiss and Dutch climbers met.

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Photo: Impression Jo.Si.To

Compared to Climbers Garden, which is 10 minutes further down the road, Jo.Si.To is ran by German expats and has nice hot showers and good value meals are served, whereas Climbers Garden has Dutch owners and has a slightly better wifi, warm common kitchen and a really good restaurant where the steak is superb. I ran into Jeroen Kuipers at Climbers Garden, it was good to catch up with you again!

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Anyway, I will stop comparing campsites and continue about my climbing adventures! During winter I was looking forward to climb in the sun. In advance I was checking the weather and it was between 10 – 15 degrees. I’m not fond of climbing when it’s too cold and can’t feel my fingers though. However, when it’s between 10 – 15 degrees in Turkey and the sun is shining, the conditions are perfect. In my opinion, 12 degrees + sun / cloudy is perfect to climb in a t-shirt! In the evening when the sun is gone, it can cool down fast.

I was super motivated and climbed 4 sometimes 5 days in a row before I had a real rest day. I used some active rest days as well, which means that I just visited Mevlana or Sarkit and climbed just 1 or 2 routes.

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Photo: Packing for a restday – Climbing Technology

It’s quite funny when you wake up in the morning. Most of the climbers won’t say:

heey goodmorning

but instead they’ll ask you:

Heey are you climbing today? Where will you go today?

During a real rest day, I visited a local market to do some groceries (Sunday).

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It is easy to hitchhike towards the local market. I got picked up by a lorry driver and a Turkish lady dropped me off at the campsite. It’s also nice to have some tea and ekmek (bread) there.

Every now and then it was also pouring rain, which means no one is able to climb.

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Photo: Weather forecast with a lot of rain in one week 🙁

Obliged rest day. All the rocks are so wet, it’s ridiculous to see waterfalls on the rocks.

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Photo: My yellow tent kept me dry

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Photo: Rental tent enjoyed the swimming pool

Even the campsite are flooded, there are rocks on the roads everywhere and the roads are sometimes over flooded. On such a rainy day, it’s nice to go to Antalya by car and visit a cinema 🙂

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Photo: Ordinary mall in Antalya

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Photo: Turkish delights

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Photo: Dinner out at Alabalik restaurant

Some extra information: A power failure can always happen in Geyik Bayiri, always bring a headlight with you. Antalya doesn’t have much climbing materials for sale or a climbing shop. It’s good to know this in advance so bring enough chalk with you.

At Jo.Si.To I met some climbers who were really nice. Daniel Schmid, Jürgen Bormann and Sven Albinus. It’s good to climb with Daniel, because he has the same height and therefore we could work together in same routes. Jürgen is one of the bolters in Geyik and knows a lot about the areas. Sven is nice and really fond of Mammut. I climbed with them most of the time and had oodles of fun together.

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We also met Tobias Haug (camp owner) and Duygu Yarsar – insanely strong and technical climbers – who took us to Çidtibi.

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Photo: Tobias & Duygu

When Tobias is behind the steering wheel, he can be a rally coureur 😉 you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat all the time. Çidtibi is about 20 minutes driving and has an altitude of 1000 meters. This world class crag is amazing! When it rains in Geyik Bayiri, it’s possible to climb in Çidtibi. It can be cold during winter, but nevertheless the climbing is so cool! The wall in the Canyon seems endless, super overhanging and contains a lot of perfect tufas. As some Germans say, these routes needs some ‘traffic’. It’s so new and feels like breadcrumbs which makes it nice for onsight climbing. Tobias has bolted a few lines there since 2002.

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Photo: Çidtibi – Having fun in the Canyon

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Photo: Çidtibi – Madame Bleue – 8a+

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Photo: Çidtibi – Madame Bleue – 8a+

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Photo: Çidtibi – Je suis cuite – 8a+

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I didn’t climb so many times as I wanted in Çidtibi. At some time it started to pour rain, that everything in Geyik Bayiri was impossible to climb. Even Çidtibi was all wet except for a few routes near the cave.

I also visited a super big cave on 1000 meters altitude. This cave isn’t mentioned in the new topoguide. It’s not easy to access, because you’ll need a car and hike up for 1 hour.

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Photo: Mega cave

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Photo: Panorama view from the cave

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Tobias recommended me a route which was in the cave. He bolted this line and it’s called Aaron – 8C, named after his son and such a steep line. I figured out the sequence and was able to make all the 60 moves until the end.

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Photo: Workout in Aaron – 8C

All I had to do is to link it together and hope it would stay dry for the next few days. Unfortunately the rain messed up my plan 🙁 and I’ll have to save this sweet line for my next climbing trip…

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After seeing and working in such a cool route I didn’t want to pick any other hard projects. So the rest of the time I enjoyed climbing around Geyik Bayiri since these 2 spots were wet. Probably next year it will be dry again. I do have to mention that the grades in general are quite easy graded, which feels good though. In my opinion, all the routes that I climbed up to 8a are a bit under graded. Perhaps I just love the 3D climbing style, which makes it a bit easier for me. Anyway, if you’re interested in my climbs, click here.

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Photo: View from Mevlana

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Photo: Restday in Mevlana

Saturday december 13th when Daniel, Jurgen and Sven left, I felt a bit upset. I climbed in Sarkit that day when it was nice and sunny. I had to find new belaying buddies.

A little highlight of the holiday I’d like to share with you is Donkey Jump. Duygu introduced me to this local crag Eşek Uçtu (Donkey Jump) which also isn’t in the topoguide. It’s like a 7 minutes drive from Jo.Si.To but still you’ll need a car though.

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Photo: Impression of Eşek Uçtu

In the morning the sun is warming up the wall, after 12 o’clock noon the wall will be in the shadow and it can become quite cold. The last 4 days I spent my time there and she showed me this line called Enjoy the Silence. This line contained every style. Starting on a vertical wall, roof climbing, overhang, sidepulls, knee bars, crimps, pocket and so on – in my opinion a steady 8B of 35 meters, it has more hard moves than Over The Top.

As my holiday came to an end I was getting pretty close on climbing this line. The day before I left Turkey, 4th climbing day in a row, I barely had skin left on my fingers. Unfortunately I couldn’t climb it and cleaned some quickdraws at the top. I knew I could climb this route, I just needed a good rest. I should come back well rested for this. That evening I went to Climbers Garden with Geiske and Will for a nice steak. We celebrated the end of the climbing holiday. During dinner Geiske suggested me to go climb in the morning and I should give it another try. I have nothing to lose. Why not? Well, because I don’t have a car and the next morning I should pack and leave to the airport at 11.00. But then again, why not??

After dinner I ran back to Jo.Si.To and asked Tobias and Duygu a favour.

Do you have plans the next morning, if not, would you please like to belay me one more time in Enjoy the Silence?

Duygu thought I was making a joke.

Come on, it’ll be your 5th climbing day in a row. Are you serious?

I nodded my head and said yes I’m serious. Tobias will have to work and it was all up to Duygu. She asked me 5 minutes to think it over and then walked to me.

Okay tomorrow morning you’ll be ready at 8.30 AM. 1 condition: promise me that you’ll climb the route.

My answer:

Yes of course! I will promise you that 😀

I was so happy and started to pack some luggage in advance.

The next morning I was up early to pack my tent and my luggage. During breakfast I started to wear my harness to save some time. At 8.45 AM Duygu showed up and we drove off to the rocks. The weather was 10 degrees. It was a bit humid and cloudy. I set my alarm to 10.30 to get back to Jo.Si.To.

I warmed up in Game of Thrones, until I got cold fingers and feet and felt a bit pumpy. Then the sun started to shine a little bit on the rocks. It kind of felt like a competition, climbing early in the morning. And then I looked at the route one more time, took some quickdraws with me to set the end of the route. Duygu played some music: Daft Punk – Lose yourself to Dance, while belaying me.

I started my climb, felt super and passed all the cruxes super solid. I nearly finished the route and knew I would send it and then suddenly a hold broke off! It was a tiny flake which was quite essential to climb the end of the route. I crimped this flake and now it was gone. I fell after 30 meters and couldn’t believe this. WHY?? I was so pissed! I’m so sorry for breaking off this hold though! I went back in the route to find another solution, instead of this flake, there was a super small crimp. It should be possible to use this mini crimp!

When I came down on the ground, it was 10.00 o’clock. Duygu said it was a super good run and thought I would send it. She looked on her phone and said I still have some time left…
I rested for 15 minutes and knew this would be my last climb of the holiday. Time was ticking. I knew I could climb all the cruxes. I felt super excited and really wanted to send it. I was ready to climb one more time. Music on: Daft Punk – Get Lucky. Everything went solid again, I enjoyed the view over Antalya as I was resting in my final attempt.

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Photo: View from Eşek Uçtu over Antalya

I told her I will be fast so we still have some time for a coffee at Jo.Si.To. I used Tobias’ and Duygu’s beta for some moves. From toehooks to heelhooks, drop knees, and knee bars. I was running in the crux and was a bit nervous about the small crimp. I kept my head cool and sent the route just on time! I will never forget this experience. It was 10.29 when I clipped the anchor and Enjoyed the Silence!!

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Photo: Just Enjoyed the Silence – 8b

I was so happy 😀 ! It was the perfect time and place to be and such a nice end of this holiday. Special thanks to Duygu for supporting me until the end!! We drove back to Jo.Si.To at 10.45 where I changed my clothes, enjoyed a latte macchiato with Duygu and packed my luggage into the bus to the airport. Goodbye Tobias, Duygu and the rest of Jo.Si.To! Thank you for the sweet time together.

Arriving at the airport, I couldn’t believe my holiday passed by so fast. I was also looking forward to my home again. And some rest during Christmas and spend time with family and friends.

Anyway for now, I hope you enjoyed my story and some day I hope you’ll visit Turkey too. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy & healthy 2015! Hopefully next year you’ll climb more than this year, stay motivated and injury free, improve and last but not least enjoy climbing!

One Response to “Sportsclimbing in Turkey”

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