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Letter from Petzl Roctrip in Turkey

If you have been following our Instagram #petzlroctrip adventures, you’ve seen the beautiful sights and climbs in Turkey, brought to you our very own Omer. Below is a letter from him to Brooklyn, giving us a first-hand account of what the trip has been like thus far:

Omer and his brother, Zorbey Aktuyun, reunited
Omer and his brother, Zorbey Aktuyun, reunited

I came to New York eight years ago from home country of Turkey. Not being able to see my friends and family on top of the daily New York grind made it tough, but I was lucky to find a community here in Brooklyn.

One of the most important things I have learned in New York is to be patient. Because it’s always the right time and the right place to be, and to experience in life. You just have to open your eyes to it.

Since I’ve arrived, it’s been a whirlwind of emotions. Seeing my brother, my mum, my friends and the guy who got me into climbing has been surreal, as if I’m living a waking dream. Being in the beautiful natural landscapes has only enhanced my feeling that everything is in it’s place, as it should be.

We started in Bafa Lake, the first stop in Turkey for the Petzl Roctrip Eastern Europe 2014. It’s a massive place surrounded by the “Besparmak Mountains” sheltering the ruins of a dozen monasteries dating from the Byzantine era on its slopes. According to the legend, it was here that the goddess Selene fell in love with the shepherd Endymion and she asked Zeus to keep the young shepherd in perpetual sleep and bore up to fifty children from her nightly encounters with the sleeping young man. Just knowing the thousands of years of history behind the endless boulders on the horizon bumps climbing up to a new level; we’re treading on our pasts.

The rocks here are the highest quality limestone, and there are multi-pitch routes with continuous tufas from ground to the top.

Petzl Roctrip was hosted in the backyard of the guy who introduced me to climbing – Mamy, and my brother, professional climber Zorbey. Climbing as a community never felt more like a home in the backyard of one – and the Petzl Team has become something like family. They’re inspirational, unique people who savor life and yet are passionate, dedicated and organized in their endeavors. Balance is essential. When they discovered that I had come all the way from Brooklyn Boulders to film and write about this event, their immediate response was this is exactly why we have Petzl Roctrip: to spread the communal joy of climbing, to share experiences and the grow the community bigger and better.

2Music has been an integral part of the Petzl Roctrip; every night now I play with the Petzl team on drums and when I announce that I’m from Brooklyn, my brother screams denial, claiming that I am from Izmir. We are both right: I am from izmir, but I am now equally from Brooklyn. Being from Brooklyn to me means that I am one of many diverse bodies that have found themselves in a community unlike anywhere else.

Next on our stop, after a long day of driving, was Antalya Geyikbayiri, the second basecamp. Geyikbayiri is an area with massive mountains and lots of rope climbing. When I first climbed here years ago, there was only one area to climb with around seventy routes. Now, there are hundreds of them – some camping areas are even owned by climbers who decided to stick around post-climb and become locals. The rocks here are the highest quality limestone, and there are multi-pitch routes with continuous tufas from ground to the top. Athletes like Paul Robinson, Dave Graham, Daniel Woods, Daniel Dulac and others keep telling me that this is a world-class climbing spot and that its to be highlighted in the community.

Omer & Paul Robinson
Omer & Paul Robinson

We headed to Olympus – a magical place where you can experience bioluminescence in the mediterranean sea and hike to the Mount Chimaera  in ancient Lycia, notable for volcanic phenomena and said by some ancient sources to be the origin of the myth of the Chimera. On top of these, there is a an incredible history and myths, and of course climbing around these beautiful sacred places. Our trip isn’t over yet. I’m headed back to this dream, but can’t wait to show everyone the film we’re working on out here – capturing the spirit of community, climbing, passion, and adventure.

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Thank you Brooklyn Boulders for this opportunity to introduce you all to this community in Turkey.

Stay tuned for more – we can’t wait to show you what they’ve been working on. Follow us on Instagram for updates!