Karakayalar is one of Turkey’s most known climbing locations situated near Eskişehir. We always wanted to go to Karakayalar but we were unable to go due to time constraints. Last weekend we gathered up and went there, which is just by the village Karakaya (30km away from Sivrihisar). Karakayalar is a climbers paradise, there are many traditional and sports climbing routes with ranging difficulties. The rock surface is hard, has lots of friction but has sharp edges.
There is a small acacia plantation area just by the rock formations. We parked our van and pitched up our tents at the edge of the plantation. We were a total of 5 (Ateş, Canan, Banu, Deniz and Mert Atak). Mert Atak is the youngest and most experienced climber in our group. We met Mert Atak through Mert from our team, and also his father works with Deniz. He is an experienced sports climber with integrity and maturity unexpected from someone his age.
We got on the road at noon from Ankara. We stopped at Mükemmel rest stop (just after Sivrihisar) for gözleme with honey. Half an hour later we were at Karakayalar, trying to choose a camping spot. We parked the car and decided it would be better to pitch up the tents after sunset, so that we could have more time to climb. Mert, who have been to Karakayalar many times led us to a route known as “Şeş Beş” (Şeş means six and Beş means five) which is an easy 5 grade 7m long route with 5 bolts. After Deniz and Mert climbed the route they went on to another route called Destur. We joined them after climbing the route. It was a nice route to warm up. Destur is a grade 6, 12m route with 6 bolts. There are many many routes in different sectors in Karakayalar, we advise you to find a guide book before going there.
The wind had started to blow and the sun was setting when we managed to climb was “Wasted Years”, a 13m route with 5 bolts and a 6+ grade. Mert lead climbed the route, then we climed it top-rope because we did not think we had enough time to climb. We returned to the campsite really tired. We were considering what to cook when Mert told us we could go to a restaurant in Kaymaz village. It was late when we arrived at the restaurant, so there was not much to eat, but it was enough. The owner gave us his number and said we should call him beforehand so that he can cook if needed. We returned to our camp and got into our tents quickly (it was getting chilly outsite)
We were awake at 6am. We directly went to “İhtiyar Heyeti” , a 10m, 6+ graded route with 5 bolts. We all climbed this route top-rope (except for Mert). This route was different w.r.t previous routes because it was a surface route with very small holds. Balance and technique were more important than strength and stamina througout the route. We were excited since we were all able to climb the route.
We proceeded to Zit Erenkoy (who names these routes anyway?) route. Watching Banu and Ateş climb Zit Erenkoy made me nervous. I was thinking I would not be able to climb the route before even starting. Eventually, I could not finish climbing the route. I have always told my team mates that the mind is both the greatest weapon and the weakness in endurance events (also probably in life in general). The route had many places where you have to jam yourself between rocks, strech your legs wide, which made the route ideal for me. I should have been able to climb that route, considering previous climbing experiences, however the route was not the problem, my mind was. The battle was lost before approaching the route. I would have loved to be able to climb that route. I think I would like to go back to Karakayalar after our Danube bicycle tour to test myself on that route.
The last routes of the day were two short routes (5 and 5+). Banu and Ateş were tired due to the climbs that they have made. I was ambitious..
I started lead climbing the 5+ route while Banu climbed the other route. The main problem with the Sunset Yellow route was the large seperation between bolts. Since I was ambitious i did not give up and climbed to the top. When I was going down Banu had given up on the route.
We switched places. While Banu was belaying, Ateş started climbing Sunset Yellow. I started climbing the route Banu had just tried to climb, Sadık Amca (Loyal Uncle). The first bolt in this route was 3m high, which was higher than I would like. After the first bolt, the climb got easier up until the last bolt. There were no easy holds at the top so I has to do a number of maneuvers to clip the last quickdraw.
My last two lead climbs increased my self confidence, which was low due to not being able to climb Erenköy. The sun was at the top and we were unconfortable due to the heat. We packed quickly and went to the main restaurant in Kaymaz village. We all believed that we earned a good meal. After some kavurma and rice we returned back to Ankara.
What did we learn this weekend?
- Karakayalar is brilliant! We will definitely be going there often.
- You can go to Merkez Restaurant in Kaymaz if you do not want to cook in Karakayalar
- You should conquer your mind before conquering the rock. It is inevitable not to fail if you do not!
- We determined that we are all on sigth 5+ grade climbers. We have risen to this point in 6 months. Our goal is to become onsight 6+ grade climbers by the end of this year.