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Join our Women in the Wadi climbing retreat this November 2nd to 8th 2022 in Geyikbayiri.
Contact me for information about our upcoming women’s only climbing retreats. If you would like more information about the sport, you can read my brief introduction to climbing.
June 2021, I called my climbing partner in crime (Amira) to bring over our equipment from Egypt to finally taste some of Turkey’s rock climbing paradise. Not the best time of year since Geyikbayiri was heating up, albeit still cooler than our beloved Sinai sector. We climbed early mornings and late afternoons each day. All things considered, it was bliss with no one else around aside from local legends Metin Yılmaz and Gökay Bıyık, plus the particularly wonderful Aysle (owner of our camp).
Sooner or later it turned deeper into summer so we also ventured towards Olympos to cool off in the water after our rock climbing sessions. Then, as if it couldn’t get any better we were informed about a secret spot recently bolted with an unforgettable view not far from Butterfly Valley (which I’ll still keep a secret for now as promised).
CLIMBING IN GEYIKBAYIRI
Geyikbayiri is an enormous rock climbing sector, enclosed by a towering limestone rock face. A small village that sits within vast forest greens located in Antalya (Turkey); undeniably a rock climbers paradise. The area was first discovered by Metin Yılmaz in 2000, who started setting up routes with Öztürk Kayıkcı that same year. Now, local climbers and foreign route setters are continuing to develop the sectors. And on the positive side, you are free to access all approaches within this national park. The local government has been very tolerant, so without reservation respect the environment and seek local advice when needed so that this doesn’t change.
ROCK CLIMBING SECTOR
It is becoming a world famous climbing destination that includes not only a 1.5km long main crag but indeed others too. Offering over 1000 routes in more than 20 sectors, with grades varying between 5a to 9a. You can find both easy and harder routes located close to each other whilst rock climbing in Geyikbayiri. Its limestone withholds many features that provide different styles of climbing; including slabs and faces, with small crimps and pockets, to overhanging roofs and tufas. There are some 2-pitch routes too but the majority are single pitch climbs. I was in awe as I leafed through the guidebook’s pages. Gotta love a fresh guidebook!
Your routes are well equipped with two bolt anchor points and glued bolts which are checked often. Needless to say my fingers needed adjusting to the sharp holds as a climber familiar with Egypt’s smooth granite. Yet now I am totally converted to climbing abrading limestone over glossy granite any day!
This valley is pretty compact, consequently all of its rock climbing is within walking distance. You are unlikely to miss the crags since they have visible trails leading you there.
Our bungalows at Peak Guesthouse neighboured Barbarossa, Toki and Mevlana climbing sectors. Subsequently, with this convenience we set about conquering these routes most of our days. Our favourite being Barbarossa (5c+ 20m) as it uniquely leads you through a beautiful tunnel feature to lean out as you reach towards the anchor.
We also made the drive to Citidi, a steep 10 minute walk to soaring faces, bomber overhangs and roofs.
With hot summers and fairly warm winters, the recommended time to visit Geyikbayiri for rock climbing is from September until June. You can expect some rain from December to January but it’s sunny around 300 days of the year. You can mostly climb in your t-shirt but belayers should bring something warm for those cooler temperatures. Not to mention January and February are the coldest months of the year.
We ended up climbing during the off-season, so I must point out that many of the camps were closed. Then again, we may not have come across our wonderful stay at Peak Guesthouses with Aysle and her fairytale bungalows overlooking this magical landscape. We were lucky to meet Metin there too. Nonetheless, there are loads of places to stay in Geyikbayiri during the season.
You can also stay in town near Konyalti if you have rented a car but in the end I think it is nicer to stay at the camps just a stone’s throw away from your routes.
Here’s a list of some of the climbing camps:
OTHER ROCK CLIMBING SECTORS
Nicknamed by the locals as “mini Ceuse” because of its long stalactites and mainly overhanging difficult routes. Justifyingly no surprise that most of the routes are graded from 7b to 9a. At this point, lots of scope for development here still. The best time to climb is from June to December since the crag faces east and is at an altitude of 1,000m.
About 2000m, high up in the mountains, inland of Geyikbayiri is a limestone bouldering area waiting to be developed. A nice place to also escape the summer heat too. I wish I had known at the time!
We really enjoyed climbing here; close to the beach (plus ruins) with good vibes. It’s about a 1.5hrs drive from Geyikbayiri. You can climb over 300 routes across all grades here from 4 to 8c+. In any case, generally vertical and technical climbs. Plus, if you are into deep water solo (DWS) there is a chance to access these by boat.
FAQS About Rock Climbing Geyikbayiri
To help you prepare for your trip, I’ll now answer the most common questions about climbing here.
How do I get there?
You can get low cost flights to Antalya, situated 25km (45mins) from rock climbing in Geikbayiri. Then it is relatively easy to arrange a transfer or rent a car to get to your accommodation or take a bus (2 to 3 hours) for around €3. Take any bus from the airport to the central bus station, from there it’s bus 516 or 521 to Geyikbayiri.
The most reliable way to have access online is it to buy a local SIM card (I use Turkcell).
Purchase the guidebook called ‘A Rock Climbing Guidebook for Antalya’, written by Ozturk Kayikci. It includes all the main crags in the Antalya area: Geyikbayiri, Citdibi, Olympos, Cirali and Kaputas plus the deep water solo area in Adrasan. Book sales support opening new routes. You can buy it at most camps for around €30. You can also download the 2021 Update (pdf) for sectors: Citdibi, Koridor, Michi and Echoes Right, Top Alani.
With numerous routes over 30m, you are recommended to take an 80m rope but a 60m or 70m is often enough. Pack around 16-20 quickdraws, including all your other personal equipment as well. Metin also offers gear rental if you need some.