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Turkey vs. Thailand for Jan-Feb sport climbing trip
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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
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


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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Sep 13, 2011

Bump


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
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.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
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.


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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
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.


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
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.


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By NickMartel
From Tucson, Arizona
Sep 21, 2011

Greece


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