November 27, 2012

Rock Climbing in Turkey - The End

Iris making short work of a 7a+ at Geyik Bayiri

Well, as all things must, my time in Turkey came to an end. After seven weeks of flying and climbing and travel, I was ready to come home. I left Jositos at one in the morning and caught a four a.m. flight out of Antalya bound for Montreal. After four nights in the city, the jet lag and sub zero temps are still kicking my ass. 

During the past year, I became mildly obsessed with learning to fly and gave up all personal climbing. I devoted every spare minute to flying - or at least to sitting around, getting fat and waiting to fly. Needless to say, kicking back in a seat while toodling around in the air does not do great things for one's climbing. You may be able to defy gravity with some nylon overhead, but when it comes down to the pure form of man vs. gravity, it's a no-contest. So it was with an open mind and detached ego that I went in to this trip. Expecting little of myself in terms of grades and striving only to enjoy the time, the movement, the process, the people and the effort. Of course, this was a noble plan in theory but... I don't care how detached you might be, pumping out on too many 5.EZ's will still induce Hulk Moments in even the most Zen. 

The finishing moves on a 7a+ at the Sarkit sector.

Danish Iris strolling a 7a+ right above camp.

Going food shopping with the Canadian sisters Nico and Sisi.

Sisi got hungry before we found the grocery store.

Mikkel is the Danish Chris Sharma.

Pantomime is an unfortunate part of the climbing experience.

Ella and I hitched in to Antalya one day and got picked up by a a sweet woman who stopped every 2 minutes to show us the local plants, flowers and fruits. 

Playing tourist in Antalya's old city.

Spice pyramids.


The Swissy came out for a 5 day vacation to play around on Turkey's awesome stone!

A grim travel day...

Arriving at Geyik Bayiri on day 1.

Nico climbing at the Sarkit sector.

A whole nuther sort of adventure... Breakfast with Mom and Tones in Montreal.

November 16, 2012

From Flying in Olu Deniz to Climbing in Geyik Bayiri

Looking out from Babadag's 1900 meter launch on the last flight of the last day. Pretty magical until you actually entered the clouds. Then it was terrifying.

After 35 days, 90 flights and way too many Turkish Lira, the flying season at Olu Deniz, Turkey came to a quiet end and it was time to leave. Just like that. This was the first extended flying trip I have been on and it's a funny thing. After 15+ years of climbing and going on an annual fall pilgrimage, it felt strange to spend this time of year pursuing a different pursuit. Unfaithful? Not like I have any direct experience with this word, but yes, it felt that way and I constantly found myself explaining to people that I was still in to climbing and that this was just a temporary diversion. 

So once the flying season shut down, I took a 3 hour bus ride from Fethiye to Antalya, and then hitched to the Turkish limestone climbing mecca of Geyik Bayiri. This was no small feat with 3 wings, 2 flying harnesses and some climbing gear, but thanks to the Turkish hospitality, I made it without too much hassle. The local bus drivers were great about telling me when I needed to transfer buses and I never waited more than a minute when I put out the thumb. 

For the past week, I've been staying at Josito's - in the heart of the climbing. Some friends from Canada showed up a couple days ago and it's been awesome hanging with familiar faces. After barely doing any personal climbing for the past year, coming back to the climbing world has been good. I showed up alone in Geyik Bayiri, and found a bunch of welcoming and supportive partners. It reminded me that the climbing community is really cool that way - like a big and welcoming family spread out across the globe. And even though I hardly have the strength to climb a ladder, it is good for making me try hard - "Full Attack!" as the Germans are fond of saying.

Alas, here some parting shots from Olu Deniz and a few new ones from climbing in Geyik Bayiri.

Babadag's 1700 meter launch feels like you are hanging directly above the Med.

I learnt a lot from this sign.

And this sign.

Like a hawk... hunting for topless prey.

Playing with the Ozone Fazer 12 at Babadag's 1700 meter launch.

The Swissies are always precise with the launch.

One of my goals for the trip was to learn how to barrel roll my 16 meter and 12 meter wings. After 30+ flights on each wing (over water + with a reserve), I became comfortable with the maneuver (although I still wasn't trying it close too close to the ground). This photo is from a spiral / steep 360 that I often used to enter the roll. Being in an environment where everyone and their grandmothers were throwing infinite tumbles through the clouds, the barrel roll didn't seem like a big deal.

Jim B and Prince Ali enjoying a morning cappucino in between flights. The Prince managed to pull himself away from his beloved Wadiya in order to spend two weeks learning the art of flight from the area's numerous Turkish Champions.

The Prince and Princess at launch.

Busy skies and a busy lz during the Air Games. The congestion made for some interesting landings...

Ever since watching a video of a friend landing on a sandy beach in the Dominican Republic, I wanted to do the same. Although the sand isn't great for your wing, it's a pretty cool place to land (not to mention a forgiving place when you blow a swoop).

Spectators or moving targets?

Cody M forking over the $$$ to the Forestry Service for use of the road to launch. This cost 17 Lira per flight and made a flying trip to Olu Deniz a pricey affair. The impressive thing was that this fee was applied whether you chose to hike 3+ hours up the mountain or drive.

Turkish tandems are immune to the dangers of clouds.

Last men standing. Cody M and I spent 35 days lurking in the skies and streets of Olu Deniz. 

Cody and Simon looking for a hole.

Opting for different routes through the clouds.

Looking down at Olu Deniz and the Med.

It was cool watching the Swiss treat eachothers wings like trampolines.

Until next time...

Nico on a 6c+ at Sarkit

Sisi on an awesome 7a at Sarkit

Sisi and Nico hanging at the Climbers Garden.