Turkish Limestone

Turkish Limestone
Photo Tony Archie Kim

by Jeremy van der Riet

We arrived in Antalya on the 14th. Or was it the 15th of January 2023? The supposed 8-hour night bus from Istanbul had ended up becoming a 12-hour, sleepless blur, that deposited us in the inky grey morning, at the Antalya regional bus station of another new city. Antalya is a popular coastal holiday destination in the south of Turkey. It was also the gateway to our climbing objective, the nearby area in the mountains above the city, centred around the small town of Geyikbayiri. I reminded myself to probably fly from Istanbul next time.
Severely sleep deprived and bleary eyed, we made our way through the dark streets, to try find our bus stop. Using offline google maps and screenshots of the bus timetable from the previous day when we last had Wi-Fi, we attempted to find our next bus. A recurring feature of this trip was the ever-present dirtbag budget. In this case we had decided not to buy sim cards and make do, just like they did in the old days (according to my dad). This nevertheless led to us missing the first bus and getting on the wrong bus, something we only learned two hours later when we were heading in the wrong direction.
Quickly jumping out, we managed to hitchhike (another novel and recuring feature of the trip) the rest of the way to JoSito. JoSito is one of many accommodation options in the valley, and is a very popular, pleasant and well-run campsite/self-catering establishment, as it lies situated in the long valley on the winding road up towards the town of Geyikbayiri, flanked on either side by kilometres of limestone cliffs. We set up our tents, almost beneath the cliffs, and towering further behind the cliffs, loomed more impressive snow-capped peaks, and presented a spectacular view to wake up to from my tent.
I had learned of the incredible climbing destination that was Geyikbayiri in the south of Turkey while looking for places that would allow good winter climbing.

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