I just came back from a 12 days trip to Geyikbayiri, turkey so I just want to share some info. I overall had a time of my life. The trip was far better than expected (not sure how possible). I didn’t want to leave but here I am back at work but before I open my emails and reply to clients, I want to write a bit. I know there are details on climbing here on guidebooks and other websites but I didn’t find any source that gives you a nice rundown. I hope that this guide can become useful for anyone planning to visit this super awesome climbing area in the future.
Geyikbayiri is a small village in Antalya, Turkey. But for climbers the name probably refers to the sport climbing mecca that is down the road from the village. You won’t find much to do in the village itself but there are nice restaurants and markets in the town of Akdamlar which is 10 mins drive down the road. You can get to Geyikbayiri climbing area by flying to Antalya airport from Istanbul. To get to the climbing area, you can take the bus No. 521, 512 from otogar (bus station) from Antalya city which runs every 40 mins I think and bus no. 521 actually drops you on the main road in front of Josito / Kezban’s camps.
The climbing area is along a narrow road and the crags are situated above and below the roads. Magara, Ottoman, Anatolia, Poseidon, Sakrit and other upper walls are lined up above the road while Alabalink, Trebenna East & West, Cave Left & Right, Yilan as well as Josito and Kezban’s camps are below the main road and accessible by a nice dirt road.
BEST TIME TO GO
You can climb here year round but it’s hot between April – October and it doesn’t help that most walls beside a few are south facing which means that they are baked in the sun all day. This makes it a fall, winter, spring climbing area with November-January being the most popular months. However, it does get very very cold in winter with potential for snow. I hear from locals that the best months to go are Oct-November and March-April. However, i was here in April, and it is already too hot to climb at most walls when the sky is clear.
Most climbers stay at one of the many camps in the climbing area. Most camps are within 5-30 mins walk from a climbing wall. From my experience, you can minimize your walking distance by picking where you stay and which wall you most likely want to frequent. However, you can also stay in the city of Antalya and commute by car daily. Guesthouses and camps in the climbing area are very nice and comfortable but they are not hotels. I will talk about 3 camps that I have personal experience with.
JO.SI.TO and KEZBAN’S
Josito and Kezban’s are the most popular and they are located near Trebenna West/ East, Yilan, Cave walls on the dirt road below the main road. These two camps are literally next to each other and guests of both camps hangout together. I found Josito to be a more fully operational camp with a restaurant providing breakfast and dinner daily while Kezban didn’t run a food service when I was there. Josito makes one of the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in my life and you cannot miss it. Pizza night is every Wednesday and saturday. Dinner is 8euro and breakfast is around 4-5euro. Both camps have kitchen, bungalow (cabins) and tent sites. Noted that Kezban’s offer a sharing cooking stove in their kitchen but Josito gives each camper their own portable cooking stove. While I overall like the setting and landscape of Kezban’s better, Josito is more modern and better kept. From these two sites you will within 5 mins walk to Trebenna East/West and literally a stone throw from the caves, yilan, Turkish Standard, Heart areas. These walls are great especially for climbers in the lower grades. It is important to note that April to October is very hot and most walls beside Trebenna, Ruzgarli Bahce are south facing which mean that they are in the sun all day from sunrise until around 4-5pm. This makes Josito/Kezban’s the preferred choice in the hotter months so you will be close to Trebenna which is always in the shade.
This is a nice looking camp but I didn’t spend anytime here. The camp is at the base of Ottoman, Mevlana, Poseidon, Echoes which are south facing and almost always in the sun. This makes this camp a good choice if you want to climb in the sun (during cold months). But if it gets hot, you’re looking at a 30mins uphill walk to trebenna and other walls.
This has been my favorite sport climbing area so far but to be fair I haven’t climbed much outside of the U.S. and Southeast Asia so not sure how it is compared to Spain and France. Nonetheless, the climbing is really good and offers every style that limestone sport crags can offer. The bolts are still new as some of the first routes were bolted in the early 2000’s. The ethic of bolting here I find to be very safe, so it is a great place to come and push yourself! The quality of climbing in such a small area makes this a really fantastic climbing holiday spot. You won’t spend much money commuting as all walls are walkable. Food in the local towns are very affordable and weekend markets are great places to shop for produce.
Truth is that I enjoyed everyday that I spent there and almost every climb that I got on. However, the really exceptional walls are Sakrit, Trebenna, and Magara so make sure you don’t miss these!
Here are some routes that you should get on in Geyikbayiri:
Ten Years Anniversary (7a) – Magara
Selamin Aleykum (7c) – Magara
Elbe (7c) – Anatolia
Rocket Man (6c+) – Cave (Left)
Turkish Standard (6b+) – Turkish Standard
Sun Express (7a) – Turkish Standard
Path Finder (6a) – Turkish Standard
Greek Gift (7b) – Trebenna West
Freedom Is a Battle (7a) – Trebenna West
Diplomabeit (7b) – Trebenna West
Ya Sabir (6b) – Poseidon
Big Blind (7a) – Sakrit
Zalia (7a+) – Sakrit
Inner Smile (7b+) – Sakrit ***if you can climb this grade, don’t miss it***
Saxafon (6b+) – Sakrit
LIFE AT GEYIKBAYIRI
Life of a climber here may not differ much from other crags. Most climbers tend to cook their own food with the stoves provided by the camps. Markets are on Sundays so it is like a cultural event that most climbers will take Sunday off from climbing to do some grocery shopping. Market is in the town of Akdamlar which is about 10 mins drive from Josito / Kezban’s camp. It is a small strip of businesses with restaurants and convenient stores. On a typical day, this road is near dead but on Sunday it becomes a hot tourist spot even among Turkishs for breakfasts and shopping. It is quite exciting and you should check it out.
Socializing happens at the bar of Josito or the common areas of Kezban’s. Climbers come together, exchange their beta and send psychs. The area feels very welcoming and I feel like there are climbers of all levels traveling here.
Hitch Hiking is a common life routine and almost encourage. If you need to go up and down the canyon, feel free to stand on the side and wait to be picked up. Maybe learn some Turkish keywords to help with navigation but within a day you will get your bearing.
The town of Antalya is also a nice cultural and tourist spot. On a rest day, you can catch a bus no. 512 from the stop in Akdamlar to Antalya old town. It is about 2.5 Lira a person and the bus comes every 40 mins or so.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
It is cold during winter months (Dec-Feb) but climbing in the sun is possible
Best time to go is early fall (Oct-Nov) and spring (March-May). Nov being the busiest month and the slackline festival is in February which is also popular
Most walls are in the sun as they are south facing. If you don’t like climbing in the sun, then choose to go during the colder months.
Trebenna West is never in the sun
Trebenna East is in the sun in the morning
Anatolia is in the shade until 12pm
Sakrit middle cave is in the shade from around 1pm but the belayer will be hot.
Magara is climbable in the shade from around noon (some routes in the cave only)
Poseidon cave is largely in the shade from 1-2pm (in the cave only) and right side get shade later in afternoon
Ruzgarli Bahce is in the shade most of the day
Most walls will be in the shade around 5-6pm which will gives you 2 hours to send your project before sun sets at 8pm (spring and fall).
Don’t be discourage by some very hard “easy” climbs. I found some 6A, 6B to be a bit stiff while 7’s are softer / fairer graded.
On the weekends (sat/sun), the Gozleme lady opens her shop near the top of the climbing area toward the town of Geyikbayiri. From Josito Camp walk up the road and the shops/market with spring fountain will be on your right. This is a great place to get dinner after climbing.
The lower walls (turkish standard, cave, yilan, heart) are shaded in the morning until around 10am for those of you early risers.
Even if it’s 30c in the sun, bring a jacket to the shaded wall because it does gets cold
I love climbing and staying here. I wish I could spend more time. I was in Antalya for 12 days and it wasn’t enough but I got to taste a little of everything. The climbing excellent and I got to meet so many awesome people. The only think that I will do different is possibly to visit in the fall around Oct-Nov as it will be cooler so I can climb at the south facing walls more comfortably and also there won’t be any wet routes. Also I will try to bring more grocery bags and food boxes because you shop for food alot here and the plastic was a bit out of control.
I really recommend all sport climbers to go check out geyikbayiri.