Mediterranean Limestone — Antalya, Turkey
Posted by sibylle in Europe (Sunday February 3, 2008 at 9:05 pm)

Guest posted by Chad Davis

Last year, my wife and I spent 5 months in Turkey. The following post describes some of the best sport climbing we’ve ever seen. The area is called Geyikbayiri ( forget pronouncing it correctly ) and is situated a few miles inland from Antalya, a Meditteranean coastal city. If you’ve ever considered going to Greece, Antalya is a much cheaper option, and the climbing is perhaps even better. I’ll make some other guest posts on climbing in Turkey over the next few months.

Steep pocketsGeyikbayiri ( Deer Mountain ) featurs perfect, highly featured limestone. This must be some of the best climbing on the planet. Even if you don’t like sport climbing, it would be hard not to like this stuff. The routes commonly run over the 40 meter mark. And its typically overhanging ( negative ) the entire way. There are basically two kinds of routes: vertical to slightly overhung grey rock offering mind numbing technical challenges, and the whacky steep stuff. The grey technical routes climb over grey limestone that has been eroded into a rough ( frequently sharp ) relief map of micro holds. The problem is that its impossible to discern a good hold from a bad hold until you’ve touched all of them, each touch removing a bit of skin. Frequently, there are not any good holds, but the rock has enough texture to keep you attached even after your tips are shredded and your forearms pumped. Onsighting one of these 45 meter technical atrocities is like slowly bleeding to death from oozing tips. Oh, and your feet hurt too. I absolutely love it.the author

While some are averse to suffering, everyone likes huge holds and clean falls off. The whackily steep routes, probably the most exciting to American climbers, offer wild collonades ( those fin things that run up the rock ), tufas, stalactites, and a variety of faintly erotic calcite decorations. These routes are super pumpy with plenty of large size holds that challange creativity more than finger strength. In picture below and to the right, check out the long collonades to the right of the climber. These climbs use nothing but the collonade. Its something new to learn, but after a few weeks it clicks.French Woman Sends Collondades

Stylistically, this is European sport climbing. This means everyone is redpointing. A frequent day at the crag involves a warm up pitch or two, or maybe just swinging your arms wildly for the Russians, followed by a leisurely assault on a single route. But first you have to get the draws up. Some folks don’t even pretend to try to onsight anything. They totally dog the thing. The clear and unapologetic goal is hang the draws with the least expenditure of energy. After clipping a single draw to the chains, they lower and rest for half an hour before trying to redpoint it. If they fail, they lower, rest for half an hour and try again. Usually, they fail endlessly because the routes are ridiculously hard.

Mary on Huge Curtain-adeBut endless failed redpoint attempts mesh perfectly with smoking ciggies at the base. Waiting for the route to go in the shade also warrants ciggies at the base. Rest days call for a fair number of ciggies as well. Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen so many ciggies at the base of a limestone crag since I ran into Jim Bridwell at Wild Iris some years ago. Jim was wearing lycra even. But that’s another story.

6 comments for Mediterranean Limestone — Antalya, Turkey »

  1. Chad, that’s funny:
    “Onsighting one of these 45 meter technical atrocities is like slowly bleeding to death from oozing tips. Oh, and your feet hurt too. I absolutely love it.”

    There is a lot of skiing on Sibylle blog.
    So oozing tips and your feet hurt too reminds me of skiing at Mary Jane here in Winter Park, Colorado:
    No Pain, No Jane!
    I love it! :)

    Comment by Bruno Haché — February 25, 2008 @ 11:16 pm

  2. Not being a climber, I can’t related to all of this, but I have to say that the colors of those awesome cliffs are stunning.

    Comment by Claire Walter — August 21, 2008 @ 11:21 am

  3. awesome. Greece is a much cheaper option, and the climbing is perhaps even better.

    Comment by travel video — January 1, 2009 @ 5:59 am

  4. Actually, Turkey is cheaper than Kalymnos, Greece. Chad told me he thinks Antalya is better than Kalymnos. Kalymnos is certainly much better known, and a bigger tourist resort - hence more expensive camping, etc.

    Comment by sibylle — January 3, 2009 @ 7:36 am

  5. Greece cheaper than Turkey? Interesting idea. I can tell you that you can obtain luxe camping, within minutes of the climbing at Geyikbayiri, for about 3 Eu. a day. And eating can be as cheap as 1 Eu a day if you are a true dirtbag.

    As for the climbing quality, I suspect it’s all about the same. The Greek Islands are actually off the coast of Turkey, so most of the Greek climbing destiinations are with in 100 km of the Turkish destinations.

    Comment by chad — January 3, 2009 @ 12:53 pm

  6. YO CHAD Turkey is rad… hey man its jorma i’ve been trying to get ahold of you for years (Moab) bro.. just saying email me dude im up in ogden, ut now

    Comment by jorma hayes — September 13, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

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