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Turkey vs. Thailand for Jan-Feb sport climbing trip
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Sep 9, 2011
I have January and February (plus maybe March) free this winter, and am looking into what my options are. It looks like the cards are lining up well for an international trip. To a large degree, my motivations are based to wanting to avoid winter in the States (which, if you ask me, is pretty lacking in true winter destinations--even J-Tree can be pretty cold in January). Am psyched on limestone sprt climbing. I am looking mostly at Thailand (Tonsai) and Turkey (Anatalya area). I am looking for opinions from people who are familiar with both places, and am especially interested in information about Turkey, since this is not as well publicized a destination.

Anyway, here is what I am looking for:

--Good weather in Jan/Feb (not too cold at night, nor insanely hot/humid during the day)

--Enduro sport climbing in the 5.12 to low 5.13 range. Steep tufa climbing a major plus. Prefer endurance to bouldery routes.

--Easy to find partners (especially those that speak English)

--Cheap, both to get there and to stay there (limited budget)

--Interesting non-climbing cultural experiences (but nothing too crazy)

I am leaning toward Turkey, since I am a bit put off by the sound of the massive scene and the humid weather in Thailand. basically, i'm more interested in a climbing-focused trip instead of a beach/party vacation.

Would Turkey (Anatalya) be chilly at this time of year, or just right?

Furthermore, which area has the better climbing, and enough variety for an extended stay?

Hope there are some folks out there who can give some good advice...where should I go?

Note that I'm also open to suggestions of other places as well. Perhaps, El Chorro, or Yangshou (too cold?). Have already decided against Mexico.

Thanks,
Jon
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
53 points
Sep 13, 2011
Bump JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
53 points
Administrator
Sep 13, 2011
El Chorro
Sounds like you've already done your research on Thailand. It is some people's scene and others hate it. After living over there, I'm kind of in the middle. Only bitchy people go there and then complain about temps and humidity. It isn't that bad and really, but what else would you expect from a tropical country?

The scene however is pretty crazy... it can be fun but it can also be horrible. I don't even bother with Tonsai during high season... except to party. But there are A LOT of other options in SE Asia, making it a very worth while trip. The climbing is superb, Tonsai is not the best climbing in SE Asia or even Thailand. Email me if you are considering going.

El Chorro has excellent climbing, a ton of south facing walls and a very cool and relaxed crowd. I haven't been there in winter but I am hoping to spend a Jan/Feb there within the next few years. It will rain though... maybe someone else can give you better info on weather. I recommend it though, I love it there. Such good climbing, single and multi-pitch, long pitches, many different styles. Not as cheap as Thailand, but then Tonsai has become a bit of a rip off these days so it might be worth it to spend a bit more in Spain. And you don't really need a car since there is plenty of climbing w/in walking distance and many other climbers there who will have cars for the days you want to explore other areas. Keep in mind that you could also check out southern France and Morocco when you're over. Get in touch with Gary at the Olive Branch about a place to stay and tell him Ryan from London sent you.
Ryan Williams
From London (sort of)
Joined May 10, 2009
1,468 points
Administrator
Sep 13, 2011
El Chorro
PS Yangshuo and Turkey, while climbable, will be colder than Spain... maybe too cold? Haven't been there, but have researched a bit. Cold winters. Spain might have lows in the 40's in winter? Maybe colder, but so much of El Chorro is in the sun all day. Ryan Williams
From London (sort of)
Joined May 10, 2009
1,468 points
Sep 13, 2011
Ryan- thanks for the advice. I'm now really strongly considering El Chorro, and have done some more research into it. It looks like it has exactly what I'm looking for. Relatively inexpensive, easy to get to without a car, limestone, warm enough. It sounds like it will be easy to find partners there- this is correct? Lots of anemic, sun-starved Brits, I imagine. Plus, if I can finagle having March free, by that point it should be getting warm enough to go up to go up to Margalef or Siurana.

I think Spain is the way to go.
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
53 points
Sep 14, 2011
Like a lot of mainland venues in the Med El Chorro has mountains up behind and when that cold wind blows down the gorge youŽll freeze to death! ItŽs also a deserted dump at that time of year.

As a very general guide the wet season in the Med moves from west to east through the winter and February/ early March is the rainy period in Greece and Turkey.

Costa Blanca, Mallorca or Sicily are as good as youŽll get at that time of year.
Jim Titt
From Germany
Joined Nov 10, 2009
195 points
Sep 21, 2011
Greece NickMartel
From Tucson, Arizona
Joined Aug 30, 2011
1,451 points
Jul 26, 2015
So, I posted this thread 4 years ago. A lot has happened since then! The trip overseas that winter never quite happened for various reasons, and I ended up hanging around Bishop instead (still awesome).

4 years later, I am considering the same options. A summer of working heinous overtime has given me a lot of comp time to use, so I'm thinking about GTFO of Seattle winter for 4 weeks in February. So, again, looking for a overseas destination to get some winter sun.

My criteria are basically the same as listed in the original post. Reliable weather (sunny/warm, but perhaps not Thailand hot), steep/limestone/tufas, easy logistics, relatively inexpensive (other than the plane ticket...), etc. Possibly travelling solo on this one, so a place with a good climbing partner scene is a must. A place where going without rental car is easy/possible is a big plus too, for cost savings reasons (plus I'm rubbish at driving a manual, to my great embarassment).

El Chorro and Geyikbayiri/Antalaya are two places that are highest on the list. Anyone want to weigh in the pros/cons of these two places? Which has better climbing, a better scene, more reliable weather...?

Ryan Williams...care to weigh in a bit more on El Chorro in Feb? Is it reliably nice weather in February, or a "you might get lucky, you might get hosed" sort of situation?
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
53 points
Jul 27, 2015
Having been to Greece/Kalymnos the last 2 years in Feb, March and April, I expect that Anatalya being quite close has roughly similar weather patterns during the season. That time of year is hit or miss, some days wonderful, warm and even a need to seek shade, others stormy/rainy/windy. Very changeable. And when it gets rainy for a while, the cave/tufa routes will seep days-weeks later. I got enough climbing done (for me), but both years it was early season and I was recovering from injury and illness, and taking it easy, having as many or more rest days forced by weather as climbing days.

mountainhick
From Black Hawk, CO
Joined Mar 19, 2009
217 points
Jul 27, 2015
Eiger summit
Antalya only averages in the 50s in February. Did you Google the weather?
holiday-weather.com/antalya/av... I was over in Turkey last February and it snowed. El Chorro is probably a better bet.
Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Joined Sep 27, 2001
648 points
Jul 27, 2015
Brian wrote:
Antalya only averages in the 50s in February. Did you Google the weather?


Looked at averages on Accuweather, although the data presentation on the site you linked to is better. Average high of 59 in Antalya sounds damn near perfect for climbing (maybe a tad warm...). This is a sport climbing trip, not a beach trip. The number of days of rain is of greater concern, especially given the potential for seeping rock. Average weather data is often useless of climbing weather anyway, given the climbing-specific issues with wind, seeping rock, etc. Hence asking for informed/experienced opinions.

Looks like Malaga is a few degrees warmer and gets about half as much precip as Antalya in Feb. How this translates to conditions at the crags, up in the mountains, is another question. Still, sounds like El Chorro may be a safer bet for weather. How's the climbing, culture, and overall experience compare?
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
53 points


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