Trip Report
Turkey! Ancient Ruins and Sport Climbing

by RP3
Sunday January 13, 2013 7:54pm
December was here and we wanted to go somewhere new. One of my regular climbing partners grew up in Istanbul. She had always told me about how amazing the climbing was in her home country. Robin (my girlfriend) and I have been living on opposite coasts while we finish up our respective educations. We thought: lets me up in TURKEY! It turned out that my flight there from Chapel Hill, NC was only a few hundred dollars more than a flight to California!!! So we pulled the trigger and went.

Our trip was to be as follows: 3 days in Istanbul, 6 days in Geyikbayiri, 6 days in Olympos. Geyikbayiri is located in the hills above the southern city of Antalya. Olympos is located on the coast ~100 km south of Geyikbayiri.

I will let the pictures so most of the talking, but I must say, it was a fantastic trip. We met many interesting people, ate fantastic food, and checked out some fascinating ruins. Turkey has been the crossroads of civilizations for 3,500 years and ruins are EVERYWHERE.

I had a little more time for the trip then Robin, so I flew in a couple of days ahead of her. I spent a couple of days wandering around, but saved the real sights to share with her. The pictures start just after we met up.

We met up on the Asian side of the Bosporus.
We met up on the Asian side of the Bosporus.
Credit: RP3
We went to the Blue Mosque...built during a 7 year period in the early...
We went to the Blue Mosque...built during a 7 year period in the early 1400's!
Credit: RP3

We got to watch midday prayer inside the Blue Mosque, which was one of the more magical experiences of either of our lives. I was raised Jewish, and it absolutely amazed me how similar the services are to each other. Why cant we all just get along!

Inside the Blue Mosque...no paintings, only spectacular calligraphy an...
Inside the Blue Mosque...no paintings, only spectacular calligraphy and geometric mosaics!
Credit: RP3
Inside the Hagia Sopia, built by the Byzantines 1,500 years ago. The S...
Inside the Hagia Sopia, built by the Byzantines 1,500 years ago. The Statue of Liberty could so jumping jacks in here!
Credit: RP3
Humans are amazing! This place took our breath away
Humans are amazing! This place took our breath away
Credit: RP3
Smoking nargile and playing dice in a tea shop
Smoking nargile and playing dice in a tea shop
Credit: RP3
The mosque of Sulyman the Magnificent
The mosque of Sulyman the Magnificent
Credit: RP3

Istanbul was cool, but we are mountain folk. So we were pretty psyched to get on our way down south. We took a 45 minute long Turkish Airways flight to the city of Antalya.

All of this is limestone! It is like a limestone Red Rocks!
All of this is limestone! It is like a limestone Red Rocks!
Credit: RP3

Getting from the airport to the little town in the mountains was kinda difficult. Especially since we spoke no Turkish (aside from: "Thank you", "Please", "What is your name", "Beer", and "Goodbye"). After witing at a street corner for ~5 hours, we caught one of the 2-3 daily buses up to Geyikbayiri. We stayed at a climber's camp run by a childhood friend of my Turkish climbing partner.

We woke up in sport climbing paradise:

This cliff is named "Sarkit"
This cliff is named "Sarkit"
Credit: RP3
Credit: RP3

The rock took some getting used to. I had never climbed on limestone. It was SEVERELY overhung tufa climbing....which is basically the opposite of my style. Fortunately it is bolted with mathematical precision, so you could push yourself as hard as you wanted to. Nevertheless, I needed to seriously recalibrate myself!

Robin on some 6b+
Robin on some 6b+
Credit: RP3
Robin killin it on a 7a
Robin killin it on a 7a
Credit: RP3
Robin lowering off a climb. All of these climbs are STEEP!
Robin lowering off a climb. All of these climbs are STEEP!
Credit: RP3
Robin of a 6c+, Nirvana
Robin of a 6c+, Nirvana
Credit: RP3
Me resting on a fantastic kneebar on some 7a
Me resting on a fantastic kneebar on some 7a
Credit: RP3
Classic limestone rest: planting your butt against a stelagtite!
Classic limestone rest: planting your butt against a stelagtite!
Credit: RP3
Robin on some fantastic, 35m 7a
Robin on some fantastic, 35m 7a
Credit: RP3
Limestone glory!
Limestone glory!
Credit: RP3
Another classic limestone rest: crawling into a hole
Another classic limestone rest: crawling into a hole
Credit: RP3

After 4 days of these shenanigans, we were DESTROYED, so we took a rest day.

The climber's garden in morning light
The climber's garden in morning light
Credit: RP3
Drinking tea and playing chess
Drinking tea and playing chess
Credit: RP3

We caught a ride with a couple of Spaniards to Olympos. On the way we stopped at the ruins of the 2,000 year old Lycian city of Phaselis.

Aquaduct supplying the city
Aquaduct supplying the city
Credit: RP3
The harbor at Phaselis
The harbor at Phaselis
Credit: RP3
The amphitheater at Phaselis
The amphitheater at Phaselis
Credit: RP3


We got to Olympos and it started to rain! 4 days of rain! Fortunately there was plenty to do: climb in a cave, explore the 2,500 year of ruins of Olympos, visit the tomb of St. Nicholas, and see the flame of the Chimera.

The Cave is on the bottom left. The climbing was kinda lame, but the f...
The Cave is on the bottom left. The climbing was kinda lame, but the formation was pretty neat!
Credit: RP3
A bridge that connescted one side of Olympos to the other...2,000 year...
A bridge that connescted one side of Olympos to the other...2,000 years ago!
Credit: RP3
The ancient city of Olympos from the beach. Note the ramparts construc...
The ancient city of Olympos from the beach. Note the ramparts constructed along the ridge line in the middle.
Credit: RP3
Some cool grafiti
Some cool grafiti
Credit: RP3

We visited the "Flame of the Chimera", one of the wonders of the ancient world. It is a natural gas seep up through this spectacular band of fault breccia. We met some Turks who were cooking food on them!

Flames of the Chimera
Flames of the Chimera
Credit: RP3
Credit: RP3

The next day, we went to the city of Myra. Myra is located ~80 km south and west of Olympos. It began to look like the rain may stop! We were getting pretty psyched!

Random beach on the way to Myra
Random beach on the way to Myra
Credit: RP3
The tombs at Myra, carved out of the limestone!
The tombs at Myra, carved out of the limestone!
Credit: RP3
The amphitheater of Myra. Gladiator battles happened here!
The amphitheater of Myra. Gladiator battles happened here!
Credit: RP3

We briefly stopped by the tomb of St Nicholas. Apparently St. Nick was a Byzantine monk who gave gifts to kids. Pretty different from the image of St nick most people know...

Stature of St Nick...a Turk!
Stature of St Nick...a Turk!
Credit: RP3

FINALLY! The rain stopped! We went to a crag we had been eyeing for a while. It is called "Cennet" - Turkish for "Heaven". Dead vertical limestone glory over the Mediterranean. We got to climb here for 2 days before we had to leave.

You had to hike through this 16th century Genoese fort to get to the c...
You had to hike through this 16th century Genoese fort to get to the crag!
Credit: RP3
"Cennet" - "Heaven"
"Cennet" - "Heaven"
Credit: RP3
The area classic moderate: Angel 5c
The area classic moderate: Angel 5c
Credit: RP3
Some 7a+
Some 7a+
Credit: RP3
The water below Cennet in the setting sun.
The water below Cennet in the setting sun.
Credit: RP3

We got to meet a couple of climbers from Dresden who climb on those sandstone towers where you are not allowed to used metal protection. They showed us their "textile friend"

Textile friend
Textile friend
Credit: RP3
Tower climber and his rack
Tower climber and his rack
Credit: RP3

The next day was our last day, and my birthday...so we had to go big!
"Lycian Way" My first 7b+
"Lycian Way" My first 7b+
Credit: RP3
Credit: RP3
Drinking beer on the beach at the end of the day
Drinking beer on the beach at the end of the day
Credit: RP3

Then we had to go home! We had a 14 hour layover in Istanbul, so we went downtown and hit the spice market and the clubs!

Credit: RP3
Credit: RP3

Overall, it was a fantastic time. A way cheaper and more interesting alternative to the other European destinations. 2 thumbs up!

Tushuker Ederem! Hosh Cha Khal!

Credit: RP3
Credit: RP3

(Now everyone can get back to guns, boobs, aliens, and worrying about who is a fascist)

  Trip Report Views: 1,701
RP3
About the Author
RP3 is a big wall climber from El Portal/Chapel Hill.

Comments
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jan 13, 2013 - 08:33pm PT
Cool pics! Turkey is awesome.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Jan 13, 2013 - 08:46pm PT
Thanks. You two look like really fun people too.
RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
Author's Reply  Jan 13, 2013 - 08:50pm PT
Thanks Peter! We like to think so. At least we amuse ourselves....
mrtropy

Trad climber
Nor Cal
  Jan 13, 2013 - 08:51pm PT
Thanks looks like great fun
Hoots

climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
  Jan 13, 2013 - 09:02pm PT
Sweet TR Rog! Both you and Robin looked like you had a blast!
MH2

climber
  Jan 13, 2013 - 09:18pm PT
Good show. I climbed with a guy from Turkey a couple weeks ago who talked about great seaside/beachside limestone and how Europeans often visited but not many North Americans. Now I'll get back to asking Tony, etc.
harryhotdog

Social climber
north vancouver, B.C.
  Jan 13, 2013 - 09:18pm PT
Nice TR and great to see things other than climbing even though the climbing looked inviting. So much history!
gstock

climber
Yosemite Valley
  Jan 13, 2013 - 10:45pm PT
Awesome Roger! Looks like you two had an amazing time.

Before you graduate, I'm gonna have Allen test you on stalactite versus stalagmite!

Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jan 13, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
What Haan said, and I'm a little jealous, too.

Good for you quys.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Jan 13, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
Beautiful! Makes me wanna go there! Thanks for the TR.
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
  Jan 13, 2013 - 11:02pm PT
I like the textile friend, too; simple/high tech!
martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
  Jan 13, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
Great TR! I love Turkey. Want to do some bike touring there someday. Thanks again.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jan 13, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
very nice trip, you SIR are a LUCKY man!!!
Thanks for making my day!!!!
tinker b

climber
the commonwealth
  Jan 13, 2013 - 11:59pm PT
yeah roger,
thanks for sharing. the tombs carved out of limestone were bad ass. it looked like you and robin had a good time. i had you voice in my head as i read it.
j
RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
Author's Reply  Jan 14, 2013 - 08:32am PT
Wait up Greg...

I'm gonna have to cite wikipedia on this one...stelagtites come from above!

Thanks for the well wishes...if anyone ever wants Turkey beta, get in touch! We cant wait to go back...
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Jan 14, 2013 - 09:12am PT
Enjoyed that!
snakefoot

climber
Nor Cal
  Jan 14, 2013 - 10:48am PT
fantastic!
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
  Jan 14, 2013 - 11:05am PT
My kind of trip! I love traveling and I love climbing, so to me the best climbing partners are those who also want to take the time to see the sites! Thanks for sharing some highlights from a part of the world that is high on my list to see.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
  Jan 14, 2013 - 11:10am PT
Nice!
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
  Jan 14, 2013 - 11:14am PT
Really enjoyed the report. I had a wonderful 2 weeks in Geyikbayiri a few years ago. Enjoyed the climbing, the people, the food and the sights. I also love ancient ruins, and visited the nearby sight of Terremessos--very impressive. The only negative was the heat. We were there in Oct. and much of the crag was too hot to climb for much of the day. What time of year were you there?
caughtinside

Social climber
Oakland, CA
  Jan 14, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
Rad dude. Thanks for posting.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jan 14, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
Wow, great report from a far away land. That stone looks amazing. I want!
John Duffield

Mountain climber
New York
  Jan 14, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
Stunning.
dave

climber
Earth
  Jan 14, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
Nice> My wife in I were in Greece about 5 years ago. We really wanted to go to Turkey, now I think we will sometime.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Jan 14, 2013 - 01:34pm PT
Limestone rocks and so does Robin!
Your TR's top-notch!
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
  Jan 14, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Another wow. What a great trip in such an interesting location.
J. Werlin

Social climber
Cedaredge, CO
  Jan 14, 2013 - 02:24pm PT
great TR--many thanks.
this just in

climber
north fork
  Jan 14, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
What a great looking trip. That history makes our country seem so new and makes you think how small we are in the scope of time. Thanks for the great TR.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jan 14, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
Complete international awesomeness!

+10!

So great when we get more than just a few climbing pix on one of these TR's.

MORE!!!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jan 14, 2013 - 02:46pm PT
Not your typical supertopo trip report! Thank you for sharing, seems like you two had a blast!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Jan 14, 2013 - 02:47pm PT
Cool trip.
roy

Social climber
NZ -> SB,CA -> Zurich
  Jan 14, 2013 - 03:18pm PT
What a great trip. I've only been once and found that Turkey is a fantastic place. Very friendly people and amazing rock.

Cheers, Roy
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jan 14, 2013 - 03:30pm PT
Thank you very much for exploring off the beaten track and giving us such a wonderful set of pictures and a great trip report. My mother (still living and still possessing her faculties) was born a subject of the Ottoman Empire in 1912 in the city of Kharpert (adjacent to the modern village of Harput) in eastern Turkey (traditional western Armenia). Although she and the rest of her family were imprisoned in 1915, and her father (my grandfather) killed, she was saved from the death marches, and stayed in Kharpert until the massacres of 1923, when she and her family fled to Beirut.

If for no other reason than that, I have always wanted to visit Turkey but, alas, my visits have been limited to Google Earth. In addition, though, I have read several books on the Byzantine Empire, and I find Constantinople to present a fascinating contrast to the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages. Add to that the fact that all of the Turkish people I've met have been interesting and friendly, and you can imagine my enthusiasm as I read your report and looked at your pictures.

Thanks again for such a tantalizing taste of a very fascinating place.

John
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Jan 14, 2013 - 04:35pm PT
Nice TR. Turkey is wonderful in so many ways, perhaps most surprisingly to me was how good the food was. Yum
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
  Jan 14, 2013 - 05:24pm PT
Yay!! Real climbing content!!!!
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Jan 14, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
Great TR!!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jan 14, 2013 - 06:57pm PT
Really cool looking place.
moosedrool

climber
lost, far away from Poland
  Jan 14, 2013 - 07:25pm PT
No boobs, guns, politics? A bit disappointing, but not bad :)

Very nice TR! Thank you!
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  Jan 14, 2013 - 08:43pm PT
What an excellent trip report! I love the mix of travelogue and climbing photos. And it's great to see someone having fun in the sun, on the rock. You and your sweetie look like a great team.
Thanks! Phyl
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Jan 14, 2013 - 09:09pm PT
I really enjoyed your TR. It brought back a lot of memories of Turkey, one of my all time favorite places to visit.

Thanks

lars
TMJesse

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
  Jan 14, 2013 - 11:25pm PT
Really happy to get a glimpse of what looked like a fantastic adventure! Thank you!
Rankin

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
  Jan 14, 2013 - 11:57pm PT
That's the stuff!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jan 15, 2013 - 12:07am PT
Way to get medieval. Amazing looking place. Thanks for the great trip report.
ryankelly

Trad climber
el portal
  Jan 15, 2013 - 12:26am PT
Yeah Roger! Yeah Robin!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jan 15, 2013 - 01:39am PT
Love the Textile camming unit!!

Looks fun
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
  Jan 15, 2013 - 02:07am PT
Ahh, so you did decide to post it… Nice TR. Those amphitheaters are kinda cool.

Greg is correct. Stalactite – think “c” as in ceiling. Stalagmite – think “g” as in ground.
cuvvy

Sport climber
arkansas
  Jan 15, 2013 - 02:21am PT
Looks like a neat adventure. some day. Some day.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Jan 15, 2013 - 02:23am PT
Thanks for taking the time to post this great trip report!

Turkey is on my "drop-dead" agenda!

Everyone I know, that has gone there, has had a great time!
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
  Jan 15, 2013 - 03:19am PT
Beautiful...
Great TR ! TFPU

Hey is the shot of the 'smoking in the tea house'... that's not the 'Pudding Shop' in Istanbul perchance is it ?

There is so much cool rock in Turkiye
I remember some great looking granite in the sou east.

Thanks for the mega memory jog...

Again TFPU.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
  Jan 15, 2013 - 07:10am PT
I too am a fan of the scenery and history that Turkey has to offer.
Thanks for bringing it all back so vividly.
Adamame

climber
Santa Cruz
  Jan 15, 2013 - 03:51pm PT
Looks like some good fun and awesome history immersion. I miss the contagious enthusiasm that the two of you exude. It's got me psyched to head to Europe in a few months.
revert510

Sport climber
Springfield, VA
  Jan 15, 2013 - 05:54pm PT
Brilliant TR, loved it. Istanbul is a fantastic place to vist, but now I know I missed most of the fun. Great photos!
RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
Author's Reply  Jan 15, 2013 - 07:17pm PT
Thanks, everyone for the kudos!

Greg/Bryan - What we have there is a misspelling. I wrote "stelaGtite" When I meant to write "stelaCtite"....either way, dont tell Allen ;)

We were there this past holiday season...it was perfect climbing in the sun. Although, there was not as much sun as we hoped. It did rain for 5 days straight! It is definitely a good time of year to visit as long as the rain gods are nice to you.

However, we concluded that we probably did not miss out on all that much climbing because our (mostly my) skin could not take that much pulling on sharp-as-a-knife limestone!
Michelle

Social climber
1187 Hunterwasser
  Jan 15, 2013 - 07:38pm PT
super cool!
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
  Jan 22, 2013 - 09:22am PT
bump
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Go