Winter in Sweden usually lasts too long and is very cold. This year’s was particulary awful: cold and wet, no snow, not fun at all. Natasza and I decided to escape this unfriendly climate and seek some better weather even just for a week. The plan was to go on a climbing trip : climbing at the local gym is fun and great for training but the real deal is to climb outdoors. After a bit of research we decided we wanted to go to Turkey. South Turkey to be more accurate. According to climb-europe.com there are several crags there that are worth travelling all the way from Northern Europe. After some flight cancelations and other unpleasant adventures, we eventually landed in Antalya which is a massive city that lies on the shores of the Mediterranean sea, surrounded by nice mountains emerging from the water. Looking at the map and some pictures of the area makes it pretty obvious that Antalya is a great destination for rock climbing. There are several areas within 50 kilometers from Antalya. The main crag is situated in the rural village of Geyikbayiri with more than 900 bolted routes.
Minutes away from the walls lie two camp sites. Our first choice was Josito but unfortunately all the bungalows were booked long before I even first heard about the place. Josito is very popular, climbers from many different countries gather in the dinner room at night in a great atmosphere. The only other option for us (we really wanted a bungalow this time) was Kezban’s Guest House (just next door to Josito) owned by a local climber by the name of Senol.
Senol came at the airport to pick us up and drove us to Geyikbayiri. It was late at night when we reached the camp so we had no idea where we were and what was surrounding us. The next morning we got stocked to see the crag right in front of our little house, litteraly seconds away from where we slept. Some early birds were already climbing in the big caves and on the walls. The background wasn’t bad either : a massive mountain lies on the other side offering an even more dramatic view. Heaven ! That’s how we felt.
After a quick breakfast we ran to the crag and unpacked our climbing gear for the next few days.
To make it short we loved our stay in Geyikbayiri. One week is maybe too short, we were really sad to leave as we thought it was too early. The rock is great, although super sharp sometimes. The atmosphere at the camp is amazing, don’t miss the dinner at Josito, great value for money and tasty cuisine. I’m looking forward to going back, spending more time and maybe exploring other crags such as Olympos which looks absolutely amazing.
Random bits :
-The routes are usually from 20 to 30 meters high, so a 70m rope is a must. Due to the lenght of the routes 12 to 16 quickdraws are needed.
-We were there in late February and the weather was just perfect for climbing : not to hot and not cold at all (15-20°C during the day, nights are cold).
-There’s a nice bazaar on Sundays in a village 6km from the crag, it’s super easy to hitchhike there. We met a nice turkish guy who stopped his old pickup for us on our way in and an incredible Syrian family who drove us back to Geyikbayiri.
-Routes go from (french grade) 4 up to 8C+ (and maybe more), so whatever skilled you are –or not-, you’ll find something for you.
-There are just few multi-pitch routes, we did one of them and we loooved it.
-Carry some tape, it can really save your hands ! I got plenty of bad cuts all over both mine.
– Don’t waste your time in Antalya, it’s huge, and the old town looks like a fake old city for tourists. We didn’t like it at all. Unless you are fond of such touristic places, we think spending time in the countryside and chill out is smarter for a rest day.
Our camera failed on the first day, so we used our Iphones to take some pics…