Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure
Kalymnos - a climbers paradise
By Beth Monks | 24, Jun, 2008
I took advantage of a week off school by jetting off to sunny and extremely hot (around 30 degrees feels extremely hot when you live in England) Kalymnos with my parents and Scott (boyfriend). A week in paradise is the only way it can be described. Spending the first day on the beach and getting a reasonable tan (Scott went rather pink and spent the rest of the time when we weren’t climbing inside or in shade) I decided it was time to climb the sun-drenched rock behind the beach.
The first day we walked up to Iliada and got on some “musical” climbs; F6c, F7a and F7a+. Not confident in our stamina Scott and I conveniently spotted a really short, really steep looking climb coming out of a cave. When we inspected the guidebook we found it was “Dolonas 3* F7c” and we were keen to give it a go. Watching some German guys on it, it did look very bouldery but the clips were in so I went for it and miraculously got the huge looking move and topped it!
Extremely happy as this onsight as it was only the first day we went down to lie on the beach and drink milkshake.
We went to Grande Grotta (the most spectacular cave I’ve ever climbed in) and attempted the biggest looking route ever! Priapos 35m F7c is said to have huge holds on it all the way up and many hands off rests. So I sent Scott up first and he had a good go at the endless route and came down to say that it was amazing! (He was a boulder but since being back he’s converted to routes!) So I got on it and he was right, all the moves felt easy it just felt so long, steep and continuous and after about 20m I was completely boxed and decided to come down. (Later on I found I had got past the hardest bit without knowing it…gutted!) I want to go back and try it with a bit more stamina.
We went across to Telendos (the tiny island next to Kalymnos) to check out the climbing there. We walked what felt like a long way up hill in blazing heat and sun. Got on some routes but we were actually slightly disappointed. The routes were fine but with such amazing rock on Kalymnos they didn’t compare. Although we did see a very good looking 7b but unfortunately there was a hornets nest on it!
Drawing to the end of the week we went up to Odyssey with the intent to try Orion F7c+. This route has a bouldery crux with F6c in between…so perfect really! Scott got on first, got the clips in and worked the crux. Then it was my go…the first time I tried it I had no confidence in myself because I expected it to be really hard but after 2 goes it felt fine and I had it wired. We were quite tired after working it so we left the clips in with a plan to get up early and do it. That night, whilst eating fresh calamari, all we could think of was the move.
So we got up early (!!!!!!!) and thankfully our clips were still there… I went first, warming up on the bottom to psyche myself up, I was confident and had it in my mind. I got up it and was well happy! Next was Scott with ‘no pressure’ and he too got the top after a couple of goes! We were ecstatic as it is the hardest route we’ve done. Plus it didn’t feel too bad so it’s given me confidence to redpoint harder things more often.
Buzzing from that route we didn’t do much else except soaked in the sun and enjoyed some “musical” technical slab climbs at Poets on the last day…my dad much preferred this kind of climbing.
There are so many good things I could write about this place; the atmosphere, the sun, the rock, the climbing, the food, the sea is all beautiful and I can not wait to go back! Next time I intend to stay there for about a month so I can get more hard routes ticked.
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