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On my last run in Turkey this morning, I noticed an abnormally high tide and rolling sea. Tidal changes here are typically limited, since only the Strait of Gibraltar connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. When I returned home, my twitter feed informed me of just another daily earthquake, this one a mere 3.8M about 50 kilometers off the coast. On our first night in Antalya, a 5.8M sea-quake caused the walls to sway ever so unnervingly. As a Colorado resident, I’m more informed about bear encounters than earthquake preparation, so ever since that first night, I’ve eagerly followed @kandilli_info for the latest earthquake reports. Needless to say, we survived Turkey without needing to DROP, COVER, and HOLD as recommended.
We’re wrapping up our month in Turkey, and earthquakes pale in comparison to the other excitements around here. Our friends Chris and Heather Weidner, also from Boulder, joined Jon and I for the past month, and the comfort of support, laughter, and tasty meals from friends have revived our travel spirits. After seven months away from home, I’m starting to feel a bit worn down. I miss my parents, my mom’s lasagna, my climbing girlfriends (and their dogs, ahem, Zala), and good climbing conditions. Fortunately, we found all these things in Turkey (except Mom and Dad).
[RUINS OF ASPENDOS, JON GLASSBERG (LT11) PHOTO]
[HEATHER WEIDNER AND ONE OF HER MANY FRIENDS]
I love climbing with other women, but it’s not easy to find female partners. Girls can be catty, competitive, and just not that fun to be around at the cliff (myself included, at times). I have my gaggle of girls back home that I love climbing with, but finding new partners that you really click with is a rare occasion. I didn’t know Heather before we picked she and Chris up from the airport in early January, but I immediately felt as though we were destined to be friends. Heather is easy going, she laughs (a lot), she has a keen eye for the cutest puppy within miles, and oddly enough, she smiles even while she is climbing. Now, that last part I haven’t figured out yet. But in just one month, Heather has demonstrated how to value each day, treat each person and animal with kindness, and have fun all the time. Also, she is never afraid of falling. Those are qualities I want to learn from and be around. Chris is equally enthusiastic and awesome, but he’s not a lady and this paragraph is about how cool ladies are.
[CHRIS AND HEATHER ATOP TAHTALI]
Before Chris and Heather arrived, Jon and I spent a week in Olympos, a smaller climbing area just down the coast from Antalya. I imagine Olympos as a bustling tourist haven in the summer, but the winter months offer vacant streets, vacant tree house resorts, vacant beaches, and perfect climbing conditions. We spent our time at Cennet, a vertical, technical wall right on the sea. Working a crux or trying to rest while listening to crashing waves is quite magical. Thanks to the ambiance, I finished an incredibly sharp (yet extremely soft) 8b+/5.14a called Gangster and Jon climbed a beautiful right arching crack called Pussy Wagon (5.13b/c). Content with our achievements, we chose to migrate up to Geyikbayiri, the primary sport crag of Turkey, with our new Swedish friends, Martin and Johan (you guys are the greatest!)
The usual scene went down at Geyikbayiri, where I chose to project one route and Jon sent all the others. Chris and I took down Sarpedon (8b+/5.14a) within a few days, which to be brutally honest is the worst 5.14 I’ve ever done, as up close the rock is crumbly and most of the holds are broken leftovers. However, it’s still a fun and interesting route with unique moves such as the wrist wrenching undercling + toehook lower crux (which Chris stealthily knee barred through) and a thumbdercling + mono undercling upper crux. In between lays slightly crumbly rock and a giant no hands rest hole, which is certainly avoidable but makes for an unfortunate eliminate. Regardless, Sarpedon felt particularly hard for me.
[SARPEDON, (8B+/5.14A), PHOTOS BY JON GLASSBERG (LT11)]
Meanwhile, Heather strategically chose her battles and displayed exemplary roof and kneebar skills on Ikarus (5.13c/8a+) and Freedom is a Battle (5.13c/8a+). Heather exhibits an impressive style of climbing in which she appears relaxed even when trying hard (that’s where the smiling bit comes in). Despite Jon’s distaste for limestone (I know, we don’t understand either), he accumulated a long tick list with seemingly little effort, including Olympos Games (8b/5.13d) and Loosing My Religion (8b/5.13d). Jon and I also finished a few area favorites, including a personal flash of Turkish Airways (5.13c/8a+ but probably more like hard 5.13a) with Jon’s beta and a desperate onsight of Parallel Universe (5.13a/7c+) before Jon found a line of jugs directly right of the “crux”.
In general, I wasn’t entirely impressed with the climbing at Geyikbayiri, as most routes are squeezed so closely together that you can clip a different line of bolts in either direction. However, the array of features here is quite stunning and the column like caves of the Trebenna crag are a site to see. Chris pointed out that perhaps I like “in-ies” (pockets and crimps) better than “out-ies” (tufas and stalactites). This is an interesting classification of rock and a fair analysis of my route preferences, thank you Chris.
[HEATHER ON THE SEND OF IKARUS (8A+/5.13C, JON GLASSBERG (LT11) PHOTO]
[THE INTRICATE COLUMN CAVES OF TREBENNA IN GEYIKBAYIRI. JON GLASSBERG (LT11) PHOTOS]
I’m sad to leave our little family in Turkey, the french toast rest days, the oranges, fresh pomegranate juice, public cat house, and old ladies in flower pants, but it’s time for South America! I’m eager to brush up on my Spanish, eat some empanadas, stand in two hemispheres at once, and explore the rock of Ecuador. Bye Eurasia, it’s been a good six months but we’re headed back to our side of the world! Hello convenient time zones!