It’s an invit­ing scene; it holds no pre­tense of be­ing more than a home for climbers.

Gripped - - AREA PROFILE - Muezzin De­lano Lav­i­gne is a writer and climber based in Que­bec.

to An­talya? Or was its ap­petite tem­pered with a con­sci­en­tious ethos? I ad­mit, I wished for the lat­ter. I wished, like so many of us who have ex­pe­ri­enced a place be­fore it en­tered the col­lec­tive con­scious­ness of oth­ers, for the beauty of dis­cover y to en­dure overuse. That’s ex­actly what it was, wish­ful think­ing if not naïve and ide­al­is­tic. With a place as spe­cial as that, there is no rea­son to won­der why, even be­fore ar­riv­ing at camp, I saw signs of de­vel­op­ment.

In the last few min­utes of the dr ive, I was im­pressed and surpr ised to see three new camp­grounds. It took about 10 years for t wo camp­ing op­tions to be es­tab­lished, but only six years for that to more than dou­ble. That makes f ive camp­ing op­tions for an area that has ap­prox­i­mately 850 routes. Upon ar r iv­ing at camp, even more de­vel­op­ment. There were new show­ers, new bath­rooms, more cab­ins (some of them vir­tual ly ful l-sized homes). Where there was once a small far m there were t wo dozen tents, a dozen cab­ins and another café. I couldn’t help but feel like I’d walked into a small Euro­pean climb­ing vil lage.

Again my thoughts shifted. This time to­wards the camp’s café and a fa­mil­iarly fr iend ly scene of climbers gath­ered around a ta­ble joust­ing for the day’s great­est ad­ven­ture. I saw another group of climbers, heads bur ied in a guide­book, likely build­ing or amending a tick list of warm-ups, on­sights and projects. It’s an invit­ing scene; it holds no pre­tense of be­ing more than a home for climbers. Then, just be­fore go­ing in to reg is­ter for my stay, I caught the faint sound of the day’s last (cal l to prayer). The cal l bounced of f the canyon walls from the small vil lage high above camp and echoed three times be­fore giv­ing way to si­lence. It was pure magic and re­minded me that I am, in fact, not in Europe. Fi­nal ly, when I went into the café, the vibe was hum­ble and wel­com­ing. That’s what I loved about climb­ing there and why I wanted to re­turn. I’m happy to say that de­spite a sig nif icant in­crease in climb­ing traf f ic and note­wor­thy de­vel­op­ment, it re­mained au­then­ti­cal ly Turk­ish.

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