On Friday morning I left Antalya by bus to spend the weekend climbing in Karakaya with Ateş and Pınar. The journey started with a ride from home in the bucket of Kürşat’s cargo bicycle. He had no trouble navigating the narrow neighbourhood streets carrying both me and my large backpack. I think the bike is a Turkish knockoff of a Dutch design, but unfortunately the Turkish company went bankrupt. There’s not enough demand for these things in Turkey.
It was a six-hour bus ride to Sivrihisar where I stocked up on food, filled my water bottles, and took a dolmuş on the main road toward Eskişehir. I was dropped on the highway, a 2-3 km walk to the village and the camping area. There’s a small yeşillik (park-like area with trees) next to the crags that is great for camping. I was surprised to be the only one camping there on a Friday night. Unlike in Antalya, it was cool enough to get a comfortable sleep.
In the morning Ateş, Pınar, and 4-5 others showed up. The rocks at Karakaya are granite outcrops. It was the first time I’ve climbed granite since leaving Colorado three years ago, and I absolutely loved it. The moves sometimes felt just like in Boulder Canyon or RMNP. There were hand jams and liebacks unlike anything I’ve done on the limestone in Turkey (all the climbing around Antalya and even in Aladağlar is on limestone).
We did a number of bolted routes that weekend, but there are also trad climbs at Karakaya. I’d like to come back with my trad gear. The camping is comfortable (though there was no water when we were there) so it’d be an easy place to spend a few days.
We lived in Karakaya for two years 1964-1966. We were in the Peace Corps. At that time workers came to the village to cut cobblestones from the rocks. There is a tomb in the face of one rock. I see you took a picture of it. I am glad there is a campground there. Did you meet any one who lived in the village? I am sure it is much changed. We made on trip back in 1995, and many of the people we knew had moved to Eskisehir. It is nice to know that the rocks are appreciated
Thank you for the message. Wow, Peace Corps in Karakaya in the ’60s! You’re probably about my parents’ age. I wasn’t born then. It was certainly a different world. It’s funny to even think of Peace Corps in Turkey now, an upper middle income country! As with much of the world, Turkey has greatly urbanized with the majority of village populations still falling and urban centers growing. There are few people in Karakaya anymore. You saw that in 1995. It’s even more the case now. I don’t think we met anyone from the village. I don’t even remember seeing anyone, but it’s been six years since I’ve been there.
I wouldn’t say there’s a campground there so much as there’s a place to camp. There wasn’t even water very close. In 2012 Maurits van den Bosch Kaag, a Dutch man who used to live in Ankara and now lives in Geyikbayırı, published a small climbing guide book for Karakaya. There’s interest in the area but not a lot.