Antalya’s version of the Boulder Bolder takes place in early March. Most people do the 10k, but there are 20k and 42k options as well. This year seemed like perfect temperature for running — cloudy and cool. I watched.
I didn’t know in advance what the route was so I was a bit surprised to find thousands of runners coming by in the morning just a block from my house. Yep, just like in Boulder. I wonder where all these runners are hiding the rest of the year. I don’t often see anyone running in Antalya even though there are super parks strung out along the coast that seem like they’d be great for running.
Most of the people I knew who participated in Runtalya were friends from Ankara. Banu, Deniz, Pınar, Ateş, and Sabiha all came, and with them was Asya who I hadn’t met before. Asya speaks very good Turkish. She’s been living in Ankara for four years, but the surprising thing to me was that she’s never taken a class. She has studied extensively and intensively on her own — oh, self-motivated! She’s Russian so like me doesn’t have the advantage of previous knowledge of an Altaic language.
Posted in Turkey
I’ve been studying Turkish again for the last six weeks. It keeps me pretty cooped up during the week, but I got out a couple weeks ago for a winter ascent of Turkey’s 5th highest peak. Erciyes is just slightly lower than Kaçkar Dağı which I climbed about 18 months ago when Sage and I were pedalling around the eastern Black Sea region.
I was the only one to climb Kaçkar on that beautiful July morning. On this cold Sunday morning in February over 50 people summited Erciyes. It was a bit of a disaster. Mostly what bothered me was the extremely slow pace which certainly could have meant not summiting (or worse) if the weather had turned sour. However, our route wasn’t technical, and even in a blizzard it would be hard to get really lost.
We took the gondola up from the very crowded ski area on Saturday afternoon, walked a couple hours to a comfortable camp in the snow, and walked up to the top the next morning. I don’t know what’s normal at the ski area, but part of the reason it was so crowded could have been because only a couple of the many lifts and runs were open. They don’t have enough snow this year to open any more of the mountain.
A couple weekends ago I had the chance to spend a few hours on Saturday morning exploring the center of Kayseri. I hadn’t played tourist for a while so it was kind of fun. Most of our group hung out drinking çay, but Ayla, Sinan, and I wandered around taking photos of old buildings.
Kayseri is a fairly big (about the size of Antalya; ~1,000,000 people) industrial city in the center of Turkey. The skyline is dominated to the south by the volcano Mount Ericyes, the real reason our motley crew of mountaineers came to Kayseri.
I suppose the main tourist site is the museum complex inside the old city walls. However, that is closed for restoration work until May so we couldn’t enter. We did enter the old covered pazar which has been turned into a fairly uninteresting clothes market. Here an attractive young shopkeeper is doing some friendly bargaining with Leyla over the price of a scarf.
Geyikbayırı is no secret. The sport climbing guidebook I have (4th edition, published 2011) lists 618 bolted routes in Geyikbayırı. There’s not a new edition yet, but there’s a supplement that I’ve seen floating around, listing corrections, and, I don’t know, another 50-100 new routes. Climbers come from all over the world to climb the limestone at Geyikbayırı. On Christmas Day I even met two couples from Boulder. It only took us a few minutes to find some mutual friends. Mostly, however, it’s Germans, Russians, and Turks that I meet at the crags.
I’ve now been climbing at Geyikbayırı more times than I can count, and I have to admit that I’ve done more sport climbing in Antalya than I did in over 20 years living in Boulder. It’s not that there’s no trad climbing in Antalya. However, there are many more developed sport routes than trad routes. Also, when I first got to Antalya, I didn’t have any of my climbing equipment, and few people here have the equipment to climb trad. I’m starting to do more now.
There are all levels of difficulty, but it’s impressive the number of routes in the V-VI range (5.5-5.10 YDS), perhaps 130. Since it’s bolted, I’ve been talked into leading a few VIIs as well…
Back in October I helped out at a rock climbing festival with TODOSK by setting up some top ropes, belaying, and teaching people how to tie in and belay. It was of course Turkish style with a break in the middle of the day for a big lunch and tea.
A couple months ago I met Seb(astian), a German who came to Antalya to start a photovoltaic company with his business partner, Olaf. Olaf is the one with heaps of PV experience. Seb loves to talk, meet people, smile. His job — not surprisingly — is the marketing. He’s good at networking so it’s not such a surprise that he met me. In the couple months he’s lived in Antalya I bet he’s met more foreigners than I have in the many months I’ve been here since first arriving in February 2012.
Seb is (barely) starting to learn Turkish and certainly isn’t afraid of talking and making mistakes. After climbing a couple days ago (which ostensibly is what this post is about) we stopped at the bakery on the way back to town. He had been there a number of times before and asked me how to say “what’s your name?” before we entered. At the counter was a cute young head-scarved Turkish woman with a smile that’s still sparkling in my memory. Seb chose his baked goods and then of course had to ask me again. “Senin adın ne?” I told him again, easily overheard by the woman. He smiled and repeated the phrase to the woman. She smiled and answered. Hahaha, fun to see the enthusiasm to learn.
Our main goal of that day wasn’t actually the bakery. Seb and I have climbed a number of times on the bolts at Geyikbayırı, but we wanted to get out trad climbing that day. We followed the guidebook directions to the rocks above Hurma, a place neither of us had climbed before. The book had photos of what looked like a stellar route, Etli Döner. We found it easily, perhaps a 10 minute walk from the paved road.
Sure enough, from the ground it did look stellar, but, uh-oh, we were both shocked to see bolts on the route. There are over 600 bolted routes at Geyikbayırı. What are they doing bolting easily-protected climbs in other areas? The two routes here were first-climbed less than five years ago. In Yılmaz’ trad climbing book, published even more recently, they’re listed as trad climbs — bring stoppers and friends (cams in Colorado lingo)… Major disappointment.