Archive for the ‘Kalymnos’ Category

2016-10-16 Arginonta Valley   Leave a comment

So we thought we’d rinse out most of Arginonta Valley, even though they’re new, they will be trashed very soon indeed.  Mix shade all day, with easy grades and a super short walk in, and you’ve got a recipe for crowds and lots of traffic.  On the Middle Wall, we do Ahtarmas, 5a followed by Hippocrates, 6a and then Patókorfa, 6a+ and Tricky-Tricky Mana Mou, 6b+ – route of the day.

On Left Wall, the ticklist reads: Wanderlust, 6c super pumpy, so we go back to Grigna, 6b then Ravasaki, 6a+ and Damos, 6a+ and finally Bohemian Mermaid Ext., 6c+ to finish.

Bohemian Mermaid Ext, 6c+

You heard it here first – get in there before it becomes a polished nightmare.

5a   6a   6a+   6b+   6c   6b   6a+   6a+   6c+

Posted 2016/11/29 by allend66 in Arginonta, Kalymnos, Rockclimbing

2016-10-14 Kalymnos, Gerakios   Leave a comment

First time in this sector, and it doesn’t seem to be too bad.  Not great, not bad.  We start on Open Book, 6a+ though we couldn’t find the ‘plus’.  All very nice and accessible, without too much effort.

Open Book, 6a+

Titis Blues, 6b+ to its left was magnificent, and worth three stars.  Still in shade, Hannah, 6a+ was nice but very sharp.  Grufelo, 6b+ was also sharp but only of reasonable quality.  Flag, 6a was a disappointment, also harrowing on the skin, but things picked up for the nice line Little Gio, 6a+Reader, 6a to finish the day – an ok climb to an above-average morning session.

Titis Blues, 6b+

6a+   6b+   6a+   6b+   6a   6a+   6a

Posted 2016/11/24 by allend66 in Gerakios, Kalymnos, Rockclimbing

2016-10-13 Kalymnos, Arhi & Arginonta Valley   Leave a comment

We sampled Arhi last year, and it is a great sector, so it was no bad thing to return there.  There are plenty of routes to do, slab, vertical, and overhanging.  It starts to loose the shade at around noon, with the sun creeping round to the right of the sector a couple of hours later.

Pares, 6a and Deimos, 6b are two excellent warmups, and we continue with Stanislas, 6a+ before heading over to the right-hand corner where there is an overhanging tufa-fest Kastor, 7a

2016-10-13 19 Arhi Main Right   2016-10-13 13 Arhi Main Right

Easy but still 7a” the book suggests.  There’s only 6 bolts on it and it looks fierce.  So not-my-style, and I bail on it after 3 bolts.  I’m not in shape and don’t fancy trashing any tendons.  I get back on easy stuff – Triaina, 6b+, but the sun and heat have arrived, so it’s time for a dip in the sea, a chill on the beach, lunch, and a regroup to last year’s new sector Arginonta Valley.

2016-10-13 28 Arginonta Valley Right Wall

Already showing early signs of polish, anyone wanting to take advantage of the mostly nice lines here should hurry up and visit it quick before the holds get glassy and smooth.  The fact is most people are lazy, and when you combine the literally 2-minute walk in with shade nearly all day, and wide range of easy grades, you know it’s going to get busy.  L’Engeance, 6a+ was an excellent introduction, we continued with Gastelclou, 6a+, Rock Tragos, 6a, Ad-Hoc, 6b, Le Bleu Du Ciel, 6b+, Bancroche, 6a and Idoine, 6a.  Standout lines are Ad-Hoc and Ciel, both magnificent.  The other lines, while not being bad, are all very samey, and difficult to remember one from the others.

6a   6b   6a+   7a   6b+   6a+   6a+   6a   6b   6b+   6a   6a

Posted 2016/11/09 by allend66 in Arginonta, Arhi, Kalymnos, Rockclimbing

2016-10-12 Greece, Kalymnos, Poets   Leave a comment

That time of year again, some welcome winter sun is needed and so we find ourselves looking out at the Aegean sea on a firm favourite – Kalymnos.  It’s just after the North Face Festival, so the island seems to be a little busier than last year.  Poets is a sector very close to Masouri, so we leave the hogs and walk.  A day of easy stuff, as we haven’t climbed for ages, and it’s a new crag.  So we start things off with the very nice Anacreonta, 6a.  Again, as we discussed in last year’s post, the guide book literally stars every route, so a little viewer discretion is required to counteract the lack of decent guidebook editorial staff.

Next up is Sapfo, 6a+, along with Styx, 6a+ and Dreads, 6b.  All fairly good climbs, with Dreads standing out as being a corker.  There’s thin climbing on that broccoli-type mineral growth rock from seepage from the huge overhanging roof, so it’s sharp on the fingers, but ultra grippy.  The rock shoes are like velcro.

Homeric Verses, 6a+

Homeric Verses, 6a+ and Saxonia, 6a are also nice, and even though the rest of the gang want to bail from the sun, I fit in a quick Damocles, 6a+.  Nice sector, not a bad climb done.

6a   6a+   6a+   6b   6a+   6a   6a+

Posted 2016/11/03 by allend66 in Kalymnos, Poets, Rockclimbing

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.

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

2015-10-24 Kalymnos, Prophitis Andreas   Leave a comment

Yesterday was a rest day (raining) so today we’re full of beans to get back on the rock.  I had spotted a musical note 7a (4*) that was also a decent length – 30mtrs, so I was eager to get on that.  The long hog over to Prophitis Andreas was scary – the previous day’s near continuous rain had washed all sorts of debris onto the road.  Once there we had a long walk in where we were met by a substantial wind.  The temperature was noticeably down – it is of course coming to the end of the season.  The sun came round though after only an hour or so, so it felt warmer, though the wind persisted all day.

We warm up on Thavmasia, 5c which was mediocre.  Given 1 star in the guide book, but we couldn’t find it.  The rock was sharp.  Annoyingly, considering there is so much rock around, the original routesetter felt it necessary to bolt the line only about half a meter away from the line to the right.  To emphasise this, about halfway up the wall the route name and a direction arrow was painted on the rock so you didn’t accidentally cross over onto the next route.  Very poor.

Said too-close line to the right, The Lords, 6a+ wasn’t bad, but I don’t think I’d give it 3 stars.  Again with an arrow and name painted half way up.  Next I do Tyche, 6a+ which was fairly lovely, the difficulty being in the first 7mtrs.  Just as I was about to get on my targetted 7a, Prophet Andreas some climbers get on and thoughtfully chalk it up for me.  So while I wait, I get on Philotimia, 6b was a short but nice route – only 25mtrs.

Prophet, 7a was lovely, but maybe a bit easy.  I’d give it 6c+.  It was fractionally easier than Globus, 6c+ over in Ghost Kitchen.  But it has some great thin crimps and technical moves on it though – recommended.

Prophet Andreas, 7a

I do Cima Piccola after this which was a nice and quite sustained 6a and I finish the day with a tough and very sharp 6b+, L’Armee Du Prophet Extension which was nowhere near the 37mtrs stated in the guide.  Nor was Cima.  A good sector.

5c  6a+   6a+   6b   7a   6a   6b+

Posted 2015/11/04 by allend66 in Kalymnos, Prophitis Andreas, Rockclimbing

2015-10-22 Kalymnos, Ghost Kitchen   Leave a comment

One of the longer approaches to this magnificent crag, but that doesn’t put people off.  Ghost Kitchen is popular because frankly the routes are amazing.  We only scratched the surface (only 7 routes done) but the climbing has been brilliant.

We start off with a polished Joy In The Garden, 6a+ which has obviously seen lots of traffic.  The growing amount of polish present on this line makes the climbing harder, and it is already pumpy, but it’s a good warmer, and it doesn’t reach 6b in difficulty.  Next I get sandbagged on Pirates Of Kalymnos, 6b+.  Undergraded, the rock is very sharp in places.  A fairly nice route, but it’s a 6c.  Unfortunately though, the wind is picking up a little, and some junior editorial staff is on the first route of the crag on the left hand side – Hour Of Ghosts, 6a.  The wind is now whipping down the valley to the left and makes both climbing and communication difficult.  So we strip this uninspiring and mediocre route and move on to better things.  Taverna Psirri, 6b was a gem and worth all 3 stars that the guidebook seems to liberally distribute.  The grade was also spot on.  Now moving onto arguably THE route of the crag, Resista, 6c:

Resista, 6c

I couldn’t leave without getting on it, they said.  I was not too keen, as there were about 10 people milling around underneath it, and with so much rock around it didn’t make a lot of sense to to me waste time by queueing for one specific line. 

Now, I’m not going to mention any nationalities here, but there seems to be a very ugly trend of people rocking up to a crag, and selfishly hogging several routes.  They monopolise the rock, not letting outsiders onto their projects.  One ignorant group of people didn’t even acknowledge our presence as we put our rope tarp down in line waiting for them to finish.  To illustrate this, we witnessed one group of douchbags talking among themselves in their own (non-English) language, obviously unaware that they could be understood.  They were quite disrespectful, without reason.  They were talking about ‘‘letting them onto the line, or let them go fuck themselves and wait till (they) had finished working the shit out of the route – all of them” (and there were some inept climbers too, so working the route would be a slow process).  The English speaking subjects of their dissing then turned round to them and calmly told them in their own language that they had understood everything that they had said, and were they going to be long, please?  This magically freed up the line for them and us though the price for it was a shitty vibe floating around, that was thankfully short lived. 

So the climb: Resista, 6c (and an easy 6c: If you’re a 6b+ climber, go for the onsight!).  Simply a must-tick for anybody that likes quality.  It’s a committing line, with some big movements and it feels exposed, but this also adds to the experience.  It is only slightly pumpy, and the crux is so short – blink and you miss it (but you’ll know it when you see it).  It isn’t hard to read – the amount of people that climb this classic means it is well chalked.  I’m glad I stopped to do it now.  Very recommended!  As is the line to the right, Globus, 6c+.  I might even give this a 7a grade.  It’s thin and technical in the middle and pumpy up top with the pockets.

I’m forced to cool down on just one more climb, a 6b as the lightweights I came with are tired and want to go to the beach.  So I agree to check Baldwin that has been downgraded from 6b+.  A nice climb, but it’s correct at 6b.  It’s sustained, with lots of 6b moves after 6b moves, but the difficulty never gets to 6b+, sorry kiddo.  Ghost Kitchen – awesome.

6a+   6b+   6a   6b   6c   6c+   6b

Posted 2015/11/03 by allend66 in Ghost Kitchen, Kalymnos, Palace, Rockclimbing