Simu-Climbing – A guide technique to increase safety

Alpine guides often carry with them a ropeman to use to make simultaneous climbing a little more safe.  Climbers often climb simultaneously while on Alpine routes.  As a section may too unsafe to climb unroped, but a normal pitched climb (where one person climbs at a time whilst being belayed) is too slow.  So the climbers climb together, with one person leading attached together with a rope.  The lead climber placing protection to protect them, with the second climber removing the protection as he comes across it.  In this way the climbers attempt to protect themselves during the maneouver.  However it is potentially very serious should the second climber fall.  As this would pull the rope tight and probably pull the lead climber off as well.  Who will fall to twice the distance between himself and the last piece of protection he placed (assuming he is fortunate enough and that protection holds his fall)

Wild Country RopeMan MKII

When climbing simultaneously, the lead climber could use a ropeman to avoid being pulled off, if the person following falls.  When the lead climber comes across a strong anchor point, he attaches the ropeman to the rope and the anchor. It is attached so that the rope feeds through the ropeman easily in the direction the lead climber is going.  The ropeman will then automatically lock if the rope pulls in the opposite direction (which would happen if the second climber fell).  Weighing only 92 grams, and being so small it is a great piece of kit to put on the back of your harness incase you need it.

 

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Organising your gear with Gear-Pak

A great product for organising and protecting your gear. Clip your gear into the different loops to organise it has you wish. Then fold in the ends and roll it up.

Packs down to a smaller size than you would achieve normally, and your gear is protected.

Gear Pak - Packs down your gear, while also protecting it

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Geyikbayiri (Antalya)

The best developed sports climbing venue in Turkey. Fast becoming world famous. It is remarkable in that development only started in 2001. Like a snowball rolling the development is getting quicker and quicker as more people get involved. At present their are around 25 people setting routes in this area.

Antalya airport is only 38Km away, so enables short climbing holidays from Europe.

Climbing Info

There are over 490 routes at Geyikbayiri, from French 4- upwards. Though note that the climbing is undergraded. Meaning the routes generally feel harder than the grade states.

The routes are mostly single pitch, between 15m and 30m long. There are some multipitch routes up to 55m long.

Generally there is not much climbing for beginners. It being developed mainly by hard core rock climbers.

The rock is very sharp in places, and can easily tear your fingertips.

The area is being developed rapidly by a small group of climbers who have shown amazing dedication to this area. The latest information is provided on a database maintained by JoSiTo guest house.

The published climbing guide is ‘A rock climbing guide to Antalya’.

An overview of the area is given in Greece and The Middle East: Rock Climbing Atlas.

Getting to Geyikbayiri and away

There are direct flights to Antalya from many international airports, all year.

From inside Turkey it is easy to get to Antalya by bus. The intercity bus services in Turkey are fantastic.

To get from the airport or bus station to Geyikbayiri you can arrange a pick up from JoSiTo or Climbers Garden. They can also help you rent a car.

I recommend renting a car or a motorbike. As otherwise you will be a bit stuck otherwise. Although the climbing is walking distance from the accomodation it would be hard to see other places or get to the market without your own transport.

Accommodation

Two main options that are both located in the middle of the climbing area. Both owned and run by climbers who are actively developing the area.

At both locations you can stay in a bungelow or put your own tent up.

JoSiTo is the larger of the two, with many accomodation options and serviced facilities. There are no self catering facilities available.

Climbers Garden is rapidly developing. With a new cafe and updated toilet facilities. They also have a fully equiped kitchen that you can use to store your food and cook in. If you dont have a tent and want to camp they will even loan you a tent.

Both are great places to hang out and meet other climbers. You should book as far ahead as possible in order to secure your accomodation as they are becoming increasingly popular throughout the year.

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Climbing Harness

All rock climbing harnesses will perform their basic function. Which is to hold you onto the rope. Therefore this is not a criteria from which to select a climbing harness.

There are two types of climbing harness. Sit harness and full body harness.

A Childs Full Body Harness                                                                                   

A full body harness ensures that you are held upwards when your weight is on it.   It is used for small children normally.  It helping to prevent the person from inverting, or falling out of the harness.

A sit harness fits around the waist and hips. It is the type used by the vast majority of climbers.

Choosing a sit harness

As a sit harness will last around three years before it needs to be replaced you are better to buy your first harness that will suit all your needs for at least the next three years. This will probably include leading routes and possibly winter climbing.

In choosing a harness their are a number of aspects to consider:

Comfort. To make a harness more comfortable, padding is added in the waist band and leg loops. This will make the harness more comfortable to wear, make hanging from the rope more comfortable and reduce the pain from a fall.

However the more padding there is the heavier the harness is. So their is a balance to be had. However for the average climber the effect of the extra weight is minimal.

Try on the harnesses, if you can also be suspended from the harness to see where the pressure points are.

Leg loops. The leg loops can either be a fixed size loop of material, or be fitted with buckles allowing the size to be adjusted.

Having adjustable leg loops enables the harness to be adjusted for different climbers, to adjust for the thickness of clothing, and also when winter climbing it enables the harness to be fitted without removing boots and crampons.

However adjustable leg loops add weight to the harness, and also is another element that could come loose or fail.

Gear loops. The number, type and position of the gear loops vary by harness.

Unless you are going to be climbing big walls needing a lot of equipment, four or five gear loops is usually enough.

Type of gear loops is usually either cord or formed plastic. Cord is normally found on cheaper harnesses. Some people prefer them to formed plastic but most don’t. Gear bunches up more on the cord type gear loops.

The position of gear loops is personal preference.

Price. This is the least important consideration in chosing a harness. If you choose the wrong harness to save a little money, you may regret that decision by having a poorly performing piece of equipment that interferes with your climbing.

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Climbing in Turkey

Climbing in Turkey is relatively new.  It not being a very popular sport with the locals.  But there is so much available

I’ve spent months in Turkey going around the different climbing places that are under development.  Here is a map of all the places I have found.


View larger map

There is also a vast amount of potential for more.  Think of the amount of sports climbing in Spain, then consider that Turkey has around the same amount of concentration of climbing, but 50% bigger with more mountains.

Aladaglar

View of the Aladaglar

Then there is trad climbing and alpine climbing.   Turkey is mostly Mountaineous.  It has bigger mountains than you will see in the Alps.  The highest mountain being, Mt Ararat at 5137m high.

One of the best areas for Alpine style climbing is the Aladaglar range North of Adana.

 

 

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Climbing harder routes

Getting better at climbing takes perseverance and effort.  The more time and energy you can put into it the better you will get.

My advice is to progress at a safe pace.  Dont lead routes you find at the limit or stretching your abilities as a trad climb.  Better to climb many routes within your comfort zone than to always do routes where you are in danger of falling off.

Not only will the fear of falling be high, causing poor technique, but falling when trad climbing often causes injury. That will put you back in your goal to improve.   Also as grading of routes is so subjective, where one route is at your limit, another route with the same grade may be beyond your capability.

With enough practice you will find that the grade that is in your comfort zone will increase and you will naturally progress, as you find routes at a particular grade becoming too easy to get the same level of satisfaction.

For further advice on improving, try a book on the subject.

I used the book Performance Rockclimbing, which gives to the point exercises and methods to get better.

You can also download an ebook called Improve your climbing by three grades.

Alternatively RockFax have a guide to improving your climbing technique which you could also consider.

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Climbing Chalk and Chalk Bags

When you climb your hands sweat and cause you to lose friction with the surface you are climbing and make it more difficult to maintain contact and not fall off.

Chalk is used to keep your hands dry and maintain that friction. It is carried in a chalk bag fastened to the climbers waist.

Chalk comes in three forms. In a Chalk Ball, as a block or as a loose chalk powder.

A block is broken into lumps and put into the chalk bag, and loose chalk  just poured in.  But this tends to end up pouring out as the climber moves about, especially on descents when the chalk bag may get turned upside down.

That is why a Chalk Ball is recommended by myclimbingguide. It lasts longer, and does not spill everywhere.

Instead of chalk, it is necessary at some venues, such as Fontainebleau to use resin or liquid chalk. This avoids having the white marks that chalk leaves.

As well as the bag you will also need something to fasten it to your waist with.  A bit of string will do.  Or if you want something more purpose made then there are  climbing belts available.

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Bafa Golu Bouldering

A beautiful venue with endless bouldering available. It seems the mountain is just made of boulders piled ontop of each other. Created by an ancient Volcano.

Located near Didim and Ephesus in South West Turkey.  So near to popular summer holiday destinations.  See Climbing in Turkey for a map showing the location.

It is very popular for hiking, due to the beautiful scenery and the ancient ruins scattered around.

View of the Boulders around Bafa Golu

The boulders stretch on for Miles

The rock is very solid. It makes great bouldering. But on the bigger slabs there is little or no gear placements if you were thinking of trad climbing. There are no known sports climbs here.

There is no guide to the boulder problems in the area. Maybe one day.

Plenty of accomodation in the village, including camping and pensions.

It is far too hot to climb in the summer, as there’s little shade.

Scenery shot for Bafa Golu

Its a beautiful area

 

 

 

 

 

Golu means lake in Turkish.  So here’s a picture of the lake including some of the ancient ruins.  Nice sandy beach as well as a bonus.

View of the lake and ruins of Bafa Golu

View of the lake and ruins of Bafa Golu

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Deep water soloing around Torquay

Torquay is a great place to get a bit of climbing in while on a family holiday.  There are numerous sea level traverses that can be climbed with out a rope, and so you dont need a climbing partner.  Plus its no hassle to take along a pair of climbing shoes and chalk bag with you on the family holiday, just in case the opportunity is there for a bit of climbing.  The town itself is in the ‘English Riviera’ and about as good as it gets for a Seaside holiday in the UK.

The sea level traverses are of varying grades, lengths and danger.  The danger being whether you can come off and hit rock rather than sea.

You are best advised to buy a suitable guidebook, which will help you to do routes that interest you and do them safely.  Giving information about what stage of tide to climb at, a description of the route and how to find it.

I use South Devon and Dartmoor: A Climbers’ Guide.  But there are better books available now.

The book I recommend to buy now is Deep Water from Rockfax.

Deep Water is dedicated to climbing above the sea without ropes.  So you can find routes to climb up, as well as traverses.  It also covers a wide area around the UK, giving more opportunities to you. 


As an alternative there’s also West Country Climbs, also by Rockfax (I’m a big fan of their guide books).  This is a selective guide (meaning it only details the best routes) for a wide area including Torquay.  It includes some sea level traverses.

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Climbing in the Dolomites

The Dolomites are spectacular any time of year and from any view point.  But being on the side of one of the mountains, having climbed 600 metres, the views are especially memorable.

Climbing in the Dolomites

A long way up

 

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