Antalya - A Turkish Climbing Delightby Jack Geldard, Editor-UKC and Jost Hüttenhain Oct/2009
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"Beautiful scenery, amazing weather and fantastic routes all add up to make an ideal sun-rock venue"
Beautiful scenery, amazing weather and fantastic routes all add up to make an ideal sun-rock venue. The climbing at the main spot of Geyikbayiri is extremely accessible - falling within a 3km square area. That means if you're staying on the campsites you can park the car and forget about driving - with less than 15 minutes walk to any sector. There are enough routes in this one area to keep you occupied for a good few weeks, but if you feel a bout of wander-lust setting in, some coastal crags might fit the bill.
The crags have been developed recently with good quality 12mm stainless steel bolts. On most of the routes a 60m rope will be adequate, but there are some longer adventures dotted around, especially at Sarkit, which is the largest crag at the main area of Geyikbayiri, where a 70m rope can be useful. Some of the mega routes in this area require stopping half way down and re-threading the rope. The steeper routes tend to follow brilliant orange tufas of all sizes, giving varied, three dimensional climbing and lots of opportunities to rest with foot hooks and knee bars. The less steep routes follow perfect grey limestone on crimps and pockets, featuring delicate, technical and balancy moves.
Below is a quick introduction to the main venues:
The main climbing spot is Geyikbayiri which is the name of a nearby village. Geyikbayiri is a relatively young climbing area and was discovered by Öztürk Kayikci in 2000. Öztürk, as well as many local and foreign route-openers have developed an incredible climbing region. At the moment there are almost 300 routes of various difficulties and grades (Fr 4 to 8c). Routes up to Fr 4 grades are relatively few, but more exist between Fr 4 and Fr 6a+. Main difficulties are between Fr 6a+ to Fr 7c. There is a campsite less than 10 minute from the cliffs.
"...perfect warm climbing conditions, with most people climbing in t-shirts right through the winter."
Akyarlar is 25 minutes from the campsite at Geyikbayiri and is situated directly on the sea front. It is relatively small, (around 20 routes) but a nice climbing area situated in a beautiful bay. The rather steep rocky footpath down to the bay frightens most non-climbers, which means you normally have the whole bay for yourself. In summer it is the perfect place to climb, boulder, bathe and to hang out. With the first moves you are faced with boulder problems on rocks washed smooth and rounded by the sea, after that you'll find climbing on vertical walls.
Feslekan Yayla (yayla means meadow) lies at about 2000m above sea level and can be reached from the campsite at Geyikbayiri either by car (30 min), or by mountain bike (time depending on your stamina!). The bouldering area is surrounded by mountain pastures and even in summer, snow covered summits. The air is fresh and clear. Thousands of blocks, some knobby mountain pines and small Alpine huts make this area unique. The rock is compact and not too sharp, the gneiss-limestone mix resembles granite. There are boulders of all difficulties and variations.
When do I go?
The summers in Antalya are blisteringly hot and as most of the crags enjoy a sunny, Southern outlook then this time is best avoided. The rest of the year provides perfect warm climbing conditions, with most people climbing in t-shirts right through the winter .
How do I get there?
Low cost flights to Antalya airport are easy to find on the web, just Google "Flights Antalya". The airport is located 3km East of Antalya centre. It's possible to hire cars at the airport with several different companies - a quick web search throws up lots of results. For those not wanting to brave the Turkish roads JoSiTo camping offer an airport transfer service, see climbingcamp-antalya.com for details.
For some ideas of cheap flight providers try these:
From Antalya airport follow signs to Antalya, and get on the main D650 road heading West. You should see signs for Cakilar when you have travelled around 8km from Antalya centre. Travel through Cakilar and head for the village of Feslikan (signed). This road then leads to Akdamar, where a right turn at the market brings you on to the road up to the village of Geyikbairi. Feslikan is located around 10 km after Geyikbayiri, on the same road.
Geyikbayiri village is around 38km from the airport.
If you want to rent a car, the local car rental station ANTE (Tel: (0090)5435633203) gives special discounts to climbers and brings the cars to the camp or to the airport (depending on the season and the model 15-25 Euro/day). Travelsupermarket and carrentals.co.uk both offer competitive rates as well as advice on car hire in the area.
Where do I stay?
There are many accommodation options in the Antalya area, with cheap package holiday deals from the UK meaning that apartments by the coast can be booked for a low price. All the usual travel websites offer packages here and a quick web search will give hundreds of results. You could start with lastminute.com and thompson.
Most visiting climbers prefer to stay in the village of Geyibayiri itself and a few different options are available here. The JoSiTo campground offers many types of accommodation from low cost camping, private bungalows through to a luxury chalet. It also has the added bonus of being a stones throw from the climbing.
Another campground in the area is the Climbers Garden which also offers some bungalow accommodation.
Where can I buy gear?
Geyikbayiri is a small, quiet village selling fruit and basic food products. There isn't really much else on offer in the area, so making sure you're stocked up on essentials before you arrive is a good idea. The village of Akdamar has a large open air market and is about 10 minutes drive or 40 minutes walk down the valley from where the climbing is situated. There is a beautiful woodland path following the river from Trebenna to the village centre which is an ideal rest day activity.The campsites offer food and this is by far the most convenient option for the short term visitor. There is also a small cafe-shack on the road below the main crags that sells coffee and bread and a few very basic items. JoSiTo campground stock a small range of climbing equipment, including chalk.
What gear do I need?|
15 quickdraws and a 70m rope should suffice for most routes.
What else is there apart from the climbing?
Due to Turkeys amazing history, there are many archaeological excursions available in the surrounding areas. To experience an overview of Turkeys' worthiest destinations, tours can be found in local travel-guides.
Mountain biking: The Mountains rise directly from sea level to a height of almost 3000 metres, offering you routes through various vegetation and climatic regions. There are a few asphalt roads in the mountains thus allowing you an indefinite number of tours and trails of various difficulties. At the moment a guidebook is being put together with the most worthwhile routes.
Skiing/Ski tours: From the middle of January to the end of May the mountains over 1500m are taken over by winter weather with snow often over several metres in depth. Occasionally in April and May you can go skiing and swimming on the same day. Further information about snow conditions and tours can be found in local guides. Half an hour from Geyikbayiri you can find the ski town of ski town of Saklikent where you can enjoy the luxury of ski lifts.
Useful web links:
Which guidebook do I need?
The most up to date guidebook is A Rock Climbing Guide to Antalya(2009) which is available here.
UKC Articles, Oct 2009
Many thanks to UKClimbing.com users Alan Rubin, Jon Redshaw, Mel H and Rich Kirby for help with updating this article.