It’s snowing, cold, grey and it’s winter? You could either book a flight to Phra Nang or choose a destination thats much closer to europe, like Geyikbayiri, some 30km away from Antalya. Travelling at a time where everyone else is busy with christmas festivities and preparations, you usually find the best prices in terms of flights and hotels. Climbing in Geyikbayiri is definately a destination that won’t let you down.
The perfect winter getaway it should be..
With about 910 routes and more, you can be sure that 2 weeks won’t be enough to cover the area. This place is about 30km away from west Antalya. Getting there, you’ll find yourself suddenly in the midst of a multicultural climbers community, away from the city, numerous camps, great cheap food (esp. trouts) and 3 long massives of bolted sunlaid (and shady) crags waiting for you.
You will find routes with all kind of characters. Tiny pockets, tufas and overhangs, jugs and ledges, technical and endurant all in one wall. They are all generally long, and many routes do have now a second pitch where you may sometimes climb in one. You’ll be fine with a 70m rope, but 80m would be safer (tie a knot!) if you like hitting 2 pitches in a go. Both average and extreme climbers will find equally good, long sustained routes here, so no worries about climbing routes getting sparse. And if it does, Olympos and Akyalar are 2 other places which can also be reached for a days excursion out.
If weather conditions fall right you’ll be sunbathing at the crag with a bikini while the boys show off their biceps with a topless torso. Searching the web, I quickly found us a cheap flight with SunExpress and an excellent offer to a 5* hotel thats even cheaper than some of the guest houses in geyikbayri! With all that booked, we took off on a sunny December afternoon with big hopes and good mood.
Our rented combi was waiting for us in the Antalya international airport. A few minutes later, we were driving towards Antalya, and were welcomed with the poluted smoggy air. I later learned that the locals burnt their rubbish each evening, which caused the whole city to be really poluted. During the day, the air is dry and clear. We took off in the next morning after a hearty turkish breakfast buffet and headed to Geyikbayiri, with lady TomTom leading us to the crags. Melvana was the first sector we laid hands on. Reddish in colour, slightly overhanging with some thin tufas, it caught our attention immediately. The sun shone and it was really very hot. With almost no shade in Melvana, I quickly changed my pants to shorts to climatize down the body temperature. Some of the easier routes here were polished. But it was also one of the hottest sector from this massive. A newer route to the right of the sector made it up right. A beautiful 6c, “für Beate” (?) some 30m long. Awesome, but with a hard start off. Alaadin and Barbarossa offers easier routes, actually perfect for the first day and most of them over 30m long. “Jasmina” deserved 3 stars. To the right of Jasmina, another 2-3 new routes were found, probably graded around 6b / 6c both discussed to be also good.
Working it out
We found ourselves in sector Dragon the next day. This sector has a few trees where you could practially flee from the sun for a while. “Schachmat” 6b+ was our first warm up route. We climbed the 2 pitches in one go. Be really carefull when lowering off. A 70m rope is just sufficient to touch the toes to the ground. Bear in mind to tie a knot at the end of the rope. There were routes where you found everything in one route. Endurance, some tufas, ledges and technical moves in all the routes that you climb on. Banana Monster, 7a+ has a very hard finish, and Red Dragon, 7b+has been sparsly bolted in the beginning. But be careful when you climb here. We found a snake skin in one of the holes which meant that snakes can be found in the crags too!
We spent most of our time in Poseidon and Ottoman. All routes here were fantastic. Franz and Andi climbed somewhat like most of the routes and left us to clean them off. Uffff! The routes were not only sustained, but there were some tricky parts on the climbs as well. Tufas, overhangs, holes , ledges and some bouldery parts. I’ve found a project which I will someday return to. The sector gets in the shade in the afternoon, which makes climbing here the whole day bearable. Infact I was surprised how soon the sun disappeared behind the opposite mountain top and left us shivering at 3.30pm. The guys would say “The perfect temperature for climbing”. Muscles and limbs were all pumped when we ended our climbing day. Anatolia was the last sector we visited, before the vacation ended. Long, steep and small little holds with tricky, sharp moves, again it was a sector with a differant character. I am amazed how many differant types of climbing you can actually find in a stretch.
We missed out climbing on the walls right above the Josito Camp and the famed Trebanna sector. There was still so much to do and see… a shame the trip ended off in a bitter note. But we will be back, holding in our minds great times and memories of this place, for a perfect winter getaway.
Some information of the area:
freshly pressed “Sportclimbing in Antalya” von Ötztürk Kayici from Sept. 2011 with over 900 routes to date.
Attire / Gear:
70 – 80m ropes (for climbing 2 pitches in a go)
Helmets (?) At some sectors, when goats passes the crags above, stone falls are evident. Take care and watch your head.
Gear up for summer wear, as well as a warm e.g. primaloft jacket for the colder nights.
Best Time to go:
The best time for this climbing location is October to April, but believe me…. even December was a little too warm to climb on certain days. The day temperatures goes up to around 18°c and when the sun disappears at 3:30pm, it drops to around 12-14°c. The nights are cold with 3-4°c. December and January have the most rainfalls. With good weather conditions and thick skin, I’ve infact spotted some people who swam in the sea at this time! (water: 19°c)
There are a few options. You could either hire a car or if you’re putting up in one of the camps, get picked up from the airport. Geyikbayiri is about 45km from the airport. There are many car rental booths at the Antalya International Airport which is opened till midnight. Local rentals are by far means cheaper, but you’ll have to check which insurance they offer. We took a car with an all inclusive paid insurance.
Driving in Antalya is an experience. There’s absolutely no obedience to red traffic light or lanes. Evereybody drives as they please. So drive defensively. The roads are generally good, signs are almost to european standards. Once out of the city, you’ll also feel that the videogame is over. I brought my own GPS device to help get us around fast. After 2-3 days of usage, I was glad to say that I did not need it any further.
Getting around in Antalya city with a taxi is fairly cheap. Costs 3-4 TL within a short distance. To the airport from a hotel in Kaleici costed 20 EUR. If the taxis have a meter, thats easy. But if there is none, better you ask for the prices first than to get a surprise at the end.
If you are putting up at one of the camps or guesthouses, you may want a pick up straight from the airport, for a few euros. Bear in mind that once at your camp, there will be little possiblity to get around unless you hire a mountain bike, hitch hike or take a bus which starts off at the next town some 6km downhill. Accessing the climbing areas is not a problem from the camps. The sectors are all just behind/next to the camps.
Camps in Geyikbayiri:
range of bungalows with/without shower, camp grounds. They are famed for their big meal portions be it breakfast or dinner.
Peak Climbing House :
range of differant kinds of bungalows, some very new. It’s the first camp ground you see just below sector Melvana
range of differant bungalows, next to the main road at about the height of sector Anatolia.
Hotels in Antalya:
There are a few international hotels to choose from. Try looking for a hotel on the west of Antalya, in Konyaalti. Driving would then take a mere 25-30mins from there without any bigger traffic problems.
If you want to experience staying in an authentic but fully refurbished Konan House, try the boutique Hotel Alp Pasa right in the heart of Kaleici (old town). They have standard to luxurious boutique rooms to satisfy each taste, as well as a wonderful patio in the sun to have your breakfast.
For a good choice of hotels with discount prices, visit Hotel in Antalya for more information
Where to eat:
Bear in mind, Antalya is a muslim country. You will hardly find any pork or a large choice of alcohol in the menü. It is tradition to drink a cup of turkish cay or coffee after a meal. The tea washes the fats away which you have consumed during your meal. Geyikbayiri has a few restaurants where you could eat heartily for just about 8-12 eur per Person. This usually consists of starters and salads, main meal and turkish tea/coffee at the end. Pinar Abalik restaurant serves fantastic trout (fish cooked in clay pans or grilled) and meats.
If you have a rented car, you can go to Akdamlar, who has also a few smaller restaurants to offer. Don’t miss the market on Sunday, where you could actually buy almost everything, from local goods (oranges, olives, goat milk in coke bottles!…) to textiles.
Heading further to the direction of Antalya on the main road, there’s the ASet restaurant (Kasap et Mangal = butcher meat grill) on your right, after a bridge. Meat freshly slaughtered (mutton or chicken) can be ordered in kgs and then grilled on your own on the table. It’s definately worth a try and terribly fun. (Molla Yusuf Mh. Hurriyet Cd. No 453, Cakirlar Yolu Üzeri, Tel.: +9 (0)242 227 66 86)
Eating at JosiTos is an experience too. But do reserve well in advance so that they know extra guests are coming.
Restaurants in Kaleici are expensive (prices like in the european cities!) and are prepared tastewise for the international guests. Just behind the Kaleici town, where the shopping malls start, you will find diverse turkish fast food stalls, all in a row, with “better” quality and prices. Nevertheless our best experience we had were in:
Ekici restaurant (fresh fish, right on the Antalya harbour. Looks touristy, but serves good quality fish and wine)
Ship Inn (in Konyaalti) from Pasta to Meats or fish. Many locals there. Good reviews from locals.
7 Mehmet (in Konyaalti) mixed experiences from differant people, and we’ve actually never made it there.
- Check out the old town in Antalya (Kaleici), situated on the right of the harbour. The narrow paved alleys forms Kaleici into a small labyrinth. Take a day off to walk around and take a typical turkish cay at a cafe overlooking the harbour. Catch a view of the Hadrians Gate or the Yivli Minaret. Big Shopping Malls are found behind the Hadrians Gate, you may find something to your taste.
- go swimming either at the beaches in Konyaalti or near Akyalar.
- Visit other climbing areas like Akyarlar (closed now in Dec.2011 due to road constructions) or Olympos
- Bouldering (in 2000m Feslikan Yaila, or at the seaside: Akyalar und at Büyü Kaya by Jositos)
- Hamam (get sparkling clean) or use the SPA facilities of your hotel
- Hike up to the 1715m high Geyiksevrisi
- go skiing in winter in Saklıkent (50km from Antalya)
- Don’t miss the Market in Akdamlar on Sundays. A local, colourful and bustling experience for foods, animals, textiles and goods. Behind the tents are usually some restaurants too.
- bum out on your hammock, and forget about the world
The official currency is the Turkish Lira. Infact in downtown Antalya, you get along well paying with euros in the restaurants, shops and in the bazaar. Money changers can be found near the clock tower, as well as many ATMs and Banks. Staying in the outskirts, it would be wiser to have some TL in your pockets.
The turkish people have no problem if you speak in english. Since there are about 7 mio (2010) tourists coming to Antalya each year, you’ll hear the merchants shouting out their goods in differant languages. German can also be understood in most restaurants in town. Nevertheless, it is always good to know a few words, just incase. And each word you say in turkish puts a smile on their faces. So make them smile :-)
Merhaba – hello!
Günaydın – good morning!
Hesap lütfen- the bill please!
Güle güle- bye
Ne Kadar?- how much?
teşekkür ederim – thank you
This post is dedicated to our dear friend Capitano Franz M.