2015-10-25 Kalymnos   Leave a comment

2015-10-19 07 Missouri   2015-10-25 05 Mastichari

So, Kalymnos…  It’s been a great week.  Short but very nice.  We’re sad to be going home, but we finally got round to reporting a little on the amazing climbing to be found here.  So much rock, so little time.  We were going to get a few routes in today, our last day, before taking the ferry back to Mastichari, but it was raining first thing and… oh, heck… we couldn’t be asked.  We were all in chill mode now.

So, after seven days’ holiday what are our thoughts?

  1. It’s a bit of a ball ache to get to (flight to Kos, taxi to Mastichari, ferry to Pothia, taxi/scooter/car to Missouri).
  2. The locals are friendly, and most speak English.  They are also generous, knocking off money on the majority of purchases. (Perhaps this is why their economy is in the crapper? – Ed.)
  3. The approaches to crags are generally not too strenuous.  Some crags have longer approaches, sure but when I think about The long schlep up to Montsant’s Raco De Misa… no contest.
  4. The rock generally seems to be excellent.  This is a sweeping statement, but generally the quality of the climbing is sweet, though thick skin is useful.  A lot of the rock is very sharp.  Some of the routes are also too close to their neighbours, and many lines seem to be over bolted.  Most lines have the route name painted on, so it’s hard to make a mistake.  There is also good signage on the road showing ascent path to crag.
  5. Holiday grading?  The route grading is all over the place, more so than a lot of climbing venues.  Widely regarded as being a ‘soft touch’, a Kalymnos 6b would be a 6a+ somewhere else.  In our experience yes, but there are also routes under graded as well as over graded, and routes that are on the money.
  6. The guidebook… Oh, the guidebook.

Buy the Kalymnos Climbing Guidebook

The guidebook isn’t bad.  It’s a little hefty at €40 but has over 400 pages, though with continuous new bolting going on left, right and centre, it’s out of date before it leaves the printers.  Some observations: 

  • It’s not very accurate.  Many rope lengths are plain wrong
  • It needs an editor, or a new editor.  99.9% of climbs in this book are 1/2/3/4 star routes.  They’re not all that good.  For example, I tried the “3 star classic” Mia’s Place, 6a+, in Palace (Page 45).  I would hardly give this 1 star.  It was greasy and pumpy, but worst of all it was covered in guano.  I like to climb, but not elbow deep in bird shit.  And the anchors were a complete disaster.  Terrible.
  • Too much beta.  It would be better if there were no beta in the text under the route name – This is a horrible trend much practiced by the Rockfax series of guidebooks.  Having the beta of a route is not onsighting!  However, the photos ARE good.
  • Digital version – iOS / Android app available, sadly not tested.

7.  Fun factor:  The island as a whole is great.  There’s a good vibe here, and it’s just fun to hog up to the crag on a scooter, climb then chill on the beach before hitting the next crag.  The island is all about climbers and climbing.

8.  Will we be back? Is the Pope a Catholic?

So there you have it.  Kalymnos is thoroughly recommended, and we can’t wait to be back there crushing next year.

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Posted 2015/11/05 by allend66 in Kalymnos, Rockclimbing

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