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Reporting on Turkey

25 Nov 2009

Now that I’ve been back at home for over a week Turkey seems a months ago. Instead of avoiding the sun, it’s back to avoiding the floods. Typical. So I’ll transport myself back 3 weeks.

Turkey panorama

Photo Will Carroll

I went out early on my own to get a few extra rays and some climbing of course. I managed to hook up with a couple of people although I might have frightened one off by being a bit too keen. It was good though to get something out of my system although I’m not keen starting off these holidays physically tired. Steve arrived on the Sunday along with everyone else.

Tony, Patrick, Nick, Hazel, Hannah, Roslyn, Andy, Caroline, Kathryn and Bernadette joined Ste and me at Geyikbayiri, near Antalya for the first week. Most knew each other already so settling in was a quick process. Like the second week’s course there were a number of highly motivated people keen on some pretty big grades.

Bernadette

Bernadette on her 5c+ redpoint project

As usual people were there for different reasons. Three had returned following last year’s holiday to see if they had improved. Kathryn’s onsight (6a+) and redpoint (6b) grades went up by two! Andy was as madly pysched as ever and his work and dedication over the last year really paid off.

Patrick and Roslyn wanted to convert their trad experience to sport. Patrick did especially well to redpoint an intimidating and awkward tufa 6c+, which required trad moves but a sport climber’s approach. Nick, already a seasoned sport climber pushed his level to a new 7b+. And Tony, who declared himself indifferent to onsighting (and more of a redpointer) at the start was hooked by the end.

Bernadette however managed to go from never having led before this week to redpointing a 5c+, which in my book is pretty much 6a. Hannah was desperately unlucky to redpoint her first 7a but was content to have found it in herself to go for it as much as she did. Roslyn, Caroline and Hazel didn’t quite achieve the grades they wanted out of the trip. But I think the trip worked well to highlight the areas they do need to work on.

As one group left, another arrived, minus one. Unfortunately Paul broke his ankle at work (unlucky since he’s in the army) one week before and was gutted not to make it. Psyche and keenness levels were just as high this week. Whilst Richard, Christian, Wiebke, Robin, Steph, Ian, Emma, Rachel and Misha were a little more understated as they announced what they wanted to get out of the trip, it was less evident when the climbing started. Ambitions were just as high.

Richard Firestarter

Richard on Firestarter Photo Will Carroll

This week tackling confidence was more of an issue for Wiebke, Ian, Emma and Steph. Early on in the week Emma set herself a goal of no longer grabbing quickdraws. It worked and by focussing entirely on the climbing, a transformation took place: a first 6a onsight. All learnt the importance of a steady warm up and what kind of difference this makes. Wiebke confided that this holiday was almost make or break for her since she’d never managed to get over a bad fall some years ago. She stuck with it and climbed her first 6a+ in 2 years.

Richard returned thinking he was more unfit than last year. Whether he was or wasn’t, his climbing had definitely improved as his tactics and approach were much better. Ian and Christian made a good team. Christian was particularly struck by the body positioning and footwork demo learning how to get more weight over your feet. They both redpointed a difficult 6b+ at Trebenna.

Robin had a blinding time onsighting his first 6c, 6c+ and redpointing his first 7b! Steph joined him on the latter, showing a good approach to the redpointing process. Misha came last year too and wanted to see what progress he’d made. He’d been missing 7a onsights narrowly and on this week finally nailed it, getting three in the week and a redpoint of a very classic 7b+.

As for Rachel, she’s still out there! Lucky thing! I know she wanted to do more during the week but certainly she’ll have been able to apply everything during her extra time in the sun.

What about me and Ste? We have three days to do our own climbing and try to fit bits and pieces in here and there. Ste managed five 8bs (three were onsight). I discovered that I’m approaching a new level; after a couple of 7b+ onsights I realised I was on the verge of 7c. Actually I did manage one onsight but I’m not giving it to myself – I’m sure I found a soft touch sequence. Then I fell off the last move of another. I’ll have to wait a few months now to see if I can put it properly into action.

A super time was had by all. Personally I find these trips very motivating for my own climbing. It’s now time to plan the next course… watch this space.

Turkey fun

19 Nov 2009

Limited for time right now, but Turkey was a great success, here are some photos from the two weeks.  Steve's written a short article on the website on his new site here http://steve-mcclure.com/