Boulder Istanbul is your neighborhood climbing gym on the Asian side.
It’s akin to your favorite little cafe down the street, full of character and familiar faces. Or it’s the climbing set-up you wish you had in your two-car garage, just for you and your buddies.
Make no mistakes, this is an “old school” gym and one of the first in Istanbul.
This place has a slightly gritty feel which adds to its well-worn charm. The holds are a little polished, rubber streaks mark the walls, and the paint has faded from years of use.
Admittedly, I have a soft spot for places like this, perhaps because I got my start at the small-town gym in New Paltz, NY (imprinting matters, I guess). I enjoy places and people that have an edge to them, that have been around the block, that have a story to tell.
No gym is complete without a community: The staff and regular climbers are welcoming, friendly, and helpful. They are happy to get to know you, share beta, and connect you with other climbers in the area if you’re looking to go outside.
Let’s be clear: This is good climbing.
The settings are safe, the mats are sufficient, and the routes are interesting enough (if somewhat limited).
It is bouldering-only with 9 walls ranging from just-less-than-vertical incline to 45 degree overhang. The routes trend towards reachy moves and a pumpy style. You will get stronger by climbing here, though you won’t necessarily become a master technician.
Given the set-up, it is better for newer climbers. The routes require attentive foot placement, practice with smearing, and the occasional bridge or heel hook in order to conserve arm strength. Many moves give beginner climbers a taste of the strength and coordination required for outdoors, while also forcing them to push past some sketchy-seeming maneuvers.
With that said, more advanced climbers looking to focus on crimps and quarter-dollar footholds would do well to look elsewhere. The hardest routes are quite difficult, but they are all featured on the overhanging sections so you will be training a very particular style of climbing. They would do well to add more balance-based routes and finger-pocket holds.
If you are looking to improve your strength and aerobic endurance, or want to get started on your climbing journey, I’d highly recommend coming here.
You get solid climbing, two hangboards, a small campus board, and not much else (but really, what more do you need?).
For beginners, they offer shoes and chalk bags for rent, as well as personal training.
They also sell coffee if you need a pick-me-up.
How to Get There:
Boulder Istanbul is located in Kadiköy, on the Asian side of Istanbul. Here is the location in google maps.
From the European side, you can take the Marmary to Ayrılık Çeşmesi station (then it’s about a 15 minute walk from there) or you can take the ferry to Kadıköy İskelesi (which is just three blocks from the gym).
If you would like to climb outdoors near Istanbul, check out my review of Ballikayalar, the best climbing within an hour of the city.