Antalya- a slice of sport climbing heaven.
Well here we are back in blightly, welcomed by the ubiquitous rain on the airport concourse but it’s not enough to dampen our spirits after a great week away.
To say we had nice weather would be an under statement; we had fantastic weather! It was clear blue skies and high temperatures nearly everyday, total vests and shorts weather. In fact it was too hot to climb in the sun at times but we tried not to complain and just hunt out a bit of shade.
The first couple of days I spent doing easier routes, getting used to the climbing and getting my body back into it. I did about 13 routes but nothing harder than f7b. It was lovely just climbing and getting mileage, such a nice environment. The climbing is varied from small sharp holds to steep tufas, depending on your mood and how your muscles are feeling.
The walk in was a bit hard core though, it took about 10 seconds to get to the crag from our cabin! Pure luxury…
I only had 5 (maybe an extra half day at the end depending on how we were going to get to the airport) days climbing. So I thought 2 on, 1 off, 3 on, would work, and it did.
On our rest day, Tim and I spent the day walking round all the climbing areas, checking out the good crags to go to. We didn’t manage to get to see much of the local culture, which was a shame but when we go again on a longer trip we’ll be able to sample a bit more of Turkish life. One of the good things about this climbing area is that you don’t need to get a hire car, which is a good money saver but you are a bit stranded at the camp- hitching and hiring a car for the day are options though.
Next day I thought I would try something harder. It was hard to know what to do with my 3 days left, get a project or just more mileage? I was just happy climbing, so just went with the flow.
There was a fantastic looking 7c+ that I had my eyes on, so I warmed up and felt pretty good and decided to give it a go.
I told Tim I would try to onsight it but would probably end up bolt to bolting it through the roof. Anyway, to my surprise I never had to get Tim to take until I reached the belay! I on sighted it quite easily. I felt like I was climbing and reading the rock well, a bit of a shocker. I had said to myself that I would’ve been pleased to onsight a f7b+ while I was away, so 7c+ was totally brill. I have to say though, that it did feel soft touch for the grade. But whatever the grade, it was nice to get up it.
After that over the next two days, I on sighted a load more f7’s including two more f7b+’s. I also tried another f7b+ that I fought super hard on and really pulled it out the bag but it all failed at the top, I just couldn’t find a hold to pull up on. It was a fantastic 33metre route that felt like a f7b+ to a rest then a f7c on top, amazing but harder than the 7c+ I on sighted. I think the grades vary depending on which crag you climb at- a bit odd but there you go.
I also tried an f8a, which I had liked the look of when we went on our rest day walk. It was third day on, so I knew I was tired but there you go. I warmed up on a great f6b+ and a 40 metre f7a+ at Sarkit then went to Magara for the f8a.
I dogged up it and it felt pretty damn hard, I’m not so strong at the moment and I noticed it on this but I left my drawers in and thought I would go up it once more, just to do some harder climbing on my last day.
So I had a long rest and then blasted back up it. To my shock I got to the last bolt and within millimeters of getting ‘the’ good hold. Wow! Even though I didn’t do it I didn’t mind, it was good to know I wasn’t that far off.
Also, it transpired that if I was keen, we’d be able to get a morning’s climbing in before going to the airport.
On our last night we ate at the main bar, as we had been cooking in the cabin with John and Pat. This definitely worked out to be way cheaper than eating with Josito every night. We were having breakfast there every morning which was really nice and they offer some great options. We hadn’t managed to get much shopping in but we scraped enough for evening meals and lunch but it was nice to wander down and get breakfast there and be sociable over a cappuccino.
My skin was very sore by the last day but I wanted to get a few last climbs in. So after brekkie we wandered up to the closest crag and I on sighted some routes I hadn’t managed to fit in, that were all good. A f6b, a f6c+ and a f7b+. A great way to end the trip.
I would thoroughly recommend this place as a holiday venue, especially for winter. I think the weather was unseasonably warm when we were there and we did get snow on the tops on our last night but the temperature didn’t drop too much. It is incredibly convenient and very good quality climbing, there seems to be enough for every grade of climber- except right at the top end.
It is very easy to spend quite a lot at the main bar on food and drinks and your bill at the end could come as a shock. Doing some self catering seemed to work quite well for us and we still ended up with a hefty whack to pay off.
So, all in all a great time was had and we would definitely go back again for some more winter sun.