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.


the_absconder said...

monsterous badassery and I'm not jealous. Thanks for the invite and do keep me on your list of potential co-conspirators for future trips. And come visit AK again!

peacelovehappiness, -ben

Olu Deniz Beach Holidays Lover said...

Just one word i can say, WOW nice pics, just outstanding work...Thanks for sharing..!!!