Form of the festival: Official
Place: Geyikbayiri, Antalya, Turkey
Length of lines: 15 – 160m
Height range: up to 50m
Distance to spots: 5-35min
Safety: daily checking of spots, one person from rigging team per spot, buddy check
Availability of spots: trekking shoes; there are few handlines (climbing equipment is not needed); around a few spots self-arrest (self-belay) will be useful (strongly recommended)
Additionally: check if you need Turkish visa
This festival is really crazy! One of my favorites. It’s basically a slackline carnival. The music here is ever-present and the silence here does not stop. People in costumes dance on the ground and above the ground. Flames flicker at night and stars are looking at it all. In short, it’s called THC and it’s like its essence … whatever I meant here or someone will think.
The first THC took place here in 2013 and so it has been held every year. You stay 15 km from the Mediterranean, at an altitude of almost 600m above sea level, by the river. The campsite is located on the grounds of nature reserve established to protect mountain goats, razorbacks, hares, partridges, and their natural environment. Due to the season, the temperature at night can fall below zero, during the day, in the sun, it exceeds 20C. From time to time, humidity appears after nightfall and in the morning.
The festival is free for those who do not have the money. If you have, support the organizers with a standard, reasonable contribution. As this is a carnival, do not forget about costumes. And bring rather warm clothes.
There is less than 40 km from the airport in Antalya to festival grounds and several transportation options to choose from. First of all – transfers provided by campsites (~10 euro per person). Details can be found on given below links to campsites’ websites. Secondly, there is urban transport. When the best combination is chosen the ride lasts 1,5h and ends at Akdamlar, from where it’s still 6 km to go.
Thirdly, renting a car. This is an option that I recommend. The prices are low, starting from 10 euro per day, which in the case of 4-5 people per car should not ruin the budget. It gives us full freedom to move around. When choosing this option, remember that you are in Turkey. In this country lanes on the road are only an option not an obligation, just like using turn signals.
Turn on the Turkish music on the radio, slowly enter into the atmosphere of the place and with the eyes around the head drive to the destination. After a few days, we get used to this loose style of being behind the wheel. Do not be surprised if the army will stop you for revision purposes. In Turkey, the police units are located only in cities.
There are at least 4 campsites to choose from: JoSiTo, Rido, Climbers Garden, Kezban. It is possible to rent bungalows (no heating), tents, blankets, carpets, and pillows. The campsites have toilets and showers with hot water, bars with free wifi, free-standing kitchens, and chilling zones. Payments at campsites are accepted both in euro and in lira.
If you want to be notoriously in the center of events, like night jam sessions, choose Josito. Infopoint and registration for the festival are also there. If you appreciate a quiet environment, book a place eg. in Rido. The maximum distance between campgrounds is 10 minutes walk through the forest. Traditionally, the opening event takes place in Rido, the ending party and the Tombola draw in Josito.
There is a possibility of dining at campsites. Breakfast is served right away, the declaration regarding dinner has to be made in advance, before noon (menu and prices can be found on camping website). If you cook yourself, at every campground, there is a generally available and fully equipped kitchen (including a sink, refrigerator, dishes, cutlery). Only kitchen stove is not provided. However, there is a gas bottle, which due to its size, can be rent by a group of people.
The freshest food can be bought during the weekend at the market, in the town of Akdamlar, 6 km from campsites. It’s good to know the numbers in Turkish, the vendors there definitely aren’t linguists. There is 10 km to the nearest supermarket in Çakırlar. The Turks are very hospitable people, so don’t be surprised when during shopping you’ll get a glass of freshly brewed tea or thyme. If you get hungry in the supermarket, all you have to do is cross the street. On the other side, you will find a restaurant with a view of the mosque. It’s a place to get good & cheap Turkish pizza, kebab and köfte.
If you don’t want to move away from camping, you can buy trout in Alabalık restaurant, which is located by the river (alabalık – means trout in Turkish). You can order fish to take away and bake on the campfire. If you have a little more money, take a walk or drive to the restaurant near the Küllün spot (1 km from Rido). All the dishes there are prepared with natural products from their crops and livestock. The flavor and taste, hmmm … yummy. Outside of the campsites, you can pay only in liras.
It doesn’t matter whether you are at the campsite or on the spot, the shadow of Geyiksivrisi (1715 m above sea level) keeps watching over us.
Unfriendly, spiky flora in the rocks, turns into a beautiful, spacious forest at the foot of the mountain. All around are herds of sheeps & goats and characteristic callings and whistles of shepherds.
Taking into account that all campsites are in the center, and highline spots are around them, let’s start from the south.
Going west, there is a lonely line called „Moustache”
and reach Küllün alias Windish Garden. It’s is a beautiful spot, away from Rido about 20 minutes in flip-flops.
There is a small rock slope in the case of rain and the above-mentioned restaurant nearby. Lines range: from 65 m to over 100.
In the north, the highest and most exposed spot is Anatolia. You can get here in about 30 -40 min, depending which campsite you selected, and also from your orientation in the field (if you don’t get lost).
From the street side, follow the red trail. It leads to the rock ledge, which you can enter using the handline. Stone mounds mark the further route between the rocks. It’s worth to have shoes with hard soles. Lines range: 30-sth to 160 meters.
Quite close, because on the same level of rock shelves, there is a sensational place for beginners – Kanyon. Lines range: 16 to 34 meters. Only the outer line is exposed.
The rest of the lines are inside the canyon. Hence, it is the perfect place to get used to the height.
An additional attraction here is the ascent from the street side.
It’s full of wooden stairs, ladders, pathways through the caves and charming, odorless rugs, made from dry goats droppings.
I won’t write here about individual lines, located on the closer shelf of the rock (Heart, Right Cave), especially that for the last two years they haven’t been rigged. Therefore we are going down, southeast, to the last spot – Alabalık.
Here, just like at Anatoli, pay attention to the stone mounds. When you reach the rock with a single handline, go down, towards the river. Down below, turn right. The spot is located near a cave, and numerous climbing routes make staying here a lot more attractive. There are two tapes hanging there, recessed into greenery, high above the roaring water. First, regular one +50 m and trickline +30 m.
An alternative way back to the campsite is to hike up the river. However, it won’t be like a walk through the park, but rather overcoming obstacles in the style of Super Mario Bros.
The whole area where the event is located is also a mecca for climbers. If you want to take a break from the lines, you can switch to this form of activity. If it’s raining, climbing in caves, grottos and on rock’s overhangs above the river is also an option.
You can also choose to take a walk and visit the ruins of the ancient city Trebena, whose creation dates back to the Hellenistic times or even earlier. It takes 45 minutes if you’re walking along a forest trail.
The city is carved in the rock and offers a beautiful view of the sea.
If you have more time and a car (if you don’t have a car, find someone with a car and smile nicely) you can go to visit the ruins of Olympos.
You can do it all – combine the practical with pleasure. Olimpos is located 80 km from campings and it’s by the sea. Water at this time of the year isn’t cold at all. It’s refreshing, wonderful, clear (you can also go for a quick swim 15-20 km from campsites – the water there is also wet).
Finally, don’t forget where you are and why …