Antalya, Turkey
Dec 29 - Jan 14 2013 .   Report by: James Dalgarno


Click on a photo to see a bigger version; click again for an even bigger version.

It is three days to New Year and the beginning of 2013. Sunshine and warmth is a distant memory and the Scottish summits are storm bound but we are packing shorts and t-shirts for a trip to Turkey. Antalya is already a popular destination for the beach tourist. Only a few miles inland where the mountains rise up there lies tier after tier of perfect limestone. A short distance away nestles the village of Gayikbayiri where we stayed at Nancy's apartments.

Callan's trip logistics were hugely complex. We were Bryan, James, Alan Eric, Callan Scott and Maddy, in order of appearance arriving from Newcastle, Manchester, Glasgow and Bergen. And all too soon departing in a different order and not necessarily back to the same airport. Bryan and I were out on the first week. After we had explored the lie of the land we set about a few introductory routes on sunny sector Gismo. This is the most accessible sector with reasonable grading. Unfortunately the weather turned for a few days, with heavy rain and mist. Glad we weren't camping! Many do, and it looked miserable. December and January are the wettest months, although generally quite warm. This is in contrast to May through September when it can be unbearably hot, climbing can only be done in the shade and it almost never rains.

During the damp days we found many caves in which we could climb. Sectors Magra, Left Cave and Trebanna were particularly good. The huge caves at Trebanna were spectacular but intimidating. At least, in the wet, quality climbing could be enjoyed on the moderately graded first pitch of two pitch routes. Commonly the second pitch would soar across the cave roof ending just outside the lip and would grade at the wrong side of 7.

Bryan and I saw in the new year with Nancy at an organised dinner at a local campsite. The highlight being a visit from Santa Clause (the proprietor) putting on a show of zeybek dancing.

When the weather improved the limestone dried quickly. We left the caves and explored other sectors of which there are many, Ottoman was a favourite. Alan Eric and Callan joined us and Bryan left. We maintained the easy daily rhythm, a chilly walk from the village down to the orange cliffs (where it always felt much warmer) working the routes in strong sunshine, retiring to a campsite bar and dining at the fish restaurant on the walk home after dark. An inexpensive hire car saved our feet the walk to further sectors, took us to the local town for provisions and further afield for dinner. In contrast to the cool chic (with drum &bass soundtrack) campsite bars, local cafes in nearby villages appear somewhat spartan, although their food was good and owners very friendly.

During the second week Callan climbed his first 7a, and added two more. Maddy made a brave twilight ascent to retrieve gear, in the rain, of 'Lycian Highway'. This climb, when it starts to overhang at 20 metres features a bridging move across a kind of tube to a hanging pinnacle. Good value for a 5+. Maddy doesn't enjoy exposed climbs.

All in all we climbed on at least nine sectors. The bits we missed were more distant and harder. The area has been developed in recent times and although perhaps not as closely bolted as Kalymnos most routes are well equipped. A few lower-offs need chain rather than tat to connect the bolts. Grades feel fairly stiff but it is clearly a Mecca for those leading 6b-7a.

On the last day after a few routes we took in the open air market and enjoyed the local specialty, a stuffed pancake called 'golzeme' which like the climbing was not to be missed.