Kalymnos April 2011
No, it’s not a doctored photo! Anyone who’s been to Kalymnos will instantly recognize the island of Telendos in the background. This is Harry descending after having climbed Trela 7a in the Grande Grotta, more of which later.
A select group of five (Andy, Ray. Harry, Helen McL and me) departed from Liverpool, necessitating a 3.30 a.m start from Darlington. We flew to Kos on a recently introduced flight, along with noisy children running up and down the aisles, and other trappings of a Ryanair flight. A 45 minute ferry took us across to Kalymnos, followed by a short taxi ride to Massouri, the hub of climbing activity on the island. Ray and I had been to Kalymnos before on separate trips, but this was a new experience for Harry, Helen and Andy, so I hoped the apartments I had stayed in last time would be acceptable to all, and so it proved.
The following is a brief summary of the week’s climbing from Harry who climbed with Ray ( hereafter known as the “Bat” team on account of hanging upside down in caves) and Helen, Andy and I, or HAH.
All walked to the crag from Massouri.
Bats North cape Upper where there was good , but very sharp rock, then to Odyssey.
“Mythos” 6b+ superb mid grade classic (nice beer too!)
Attempted “Satyros” 6c+. Fell off top moves but only because the guidebook made me laugh (only kidding)
HAH Climbed at “School,” a newly bolted area, finding our feet on 4cs and 5as.
HAH In a lull between showers we managed two routes at Kasteli, before retreating, and getting a soaking on the way back. (Texts from home telling of a heatwave !) Appalled to learn Bats had spent the day watching DVDs (admittedly climbing ones) and relaxing in the bar.
HAH Returned to Kasteli to complete what we didn’t manage yesterday, 7 further routes, and starting to get shredded fingertips from needle like rock.
Bats Iliada- by “Typhoon” scooter: I was nearly over the handlebars. Ray was nearly off the back! The route “Iliada”6c, which gives the sector its name, was good but, despite being a bit run out, seemed a tad easier than some of the 6b’s.
All hired bikes to ride a few miles round the coast to Arhi. Personally this was the scariest part of the week. Once there, and enjoying the day, I completely forgot about the little matter of the return journey, mostly uphill, but lived to tell the tale.
Bats “Axe” 6b, a fine exposed route at the left end of the crag. Only afterwards did Ray remember he’d done it before. “Poseidon” 6c involved huge bridging moves up a truly massive tufa and then, by total contrast, a thin, fingery wall.
HAH Top roped Orione, led by Harry, but climbed mainly on delicate, fingery slabs, mostly 3 star 5a snd b’s. Super climbing ,but the whole area was rather busy.
We all took the boat over to Telendos, and walked along a rugged, very scenic coastal path for about an hour to Miltiades and Irox. Telendos has a small jetty, no roads, and a very peaceful atmosphere. We decided a week there would de-stress anyone, with climbing for good measure if required.
Bats Miltiades was warm and sunny, with a slightly wild and remote feeling to it. It had its own goats, its own deep cave, and a selection of good routes, including “Diana,” which meanders through “interesting” territiory.
Irox: An incident on “Ingleton” 6b+ involved a spanning foothold and a nasty punctured finger for Ray. Helen T top roped it and wondered what the fuss was about! (Harry’s words, not mine! )
“Magma” 6b+ an excellent and clean-cut tufa climb.
HAH Irox A selection of 20 metre 5s kept us entertained, but we found the grading somewhat inconsistent. Helen McL went for a swim, and declared the water not too cold, but the rest of us weren’t tempted.
Walking distance from Massouri again and all went to the Grande Grotta. This enormous cave is a landmark when seen from the village, and contains lots of hard routes.
HAH Climbed in the area left of Grande Grotta known as Afternoon, where we found the grading really inconsistent. This rather destroyed our confidence to try anything hard, so after 5 routes we went to find Ray and Harry, who were having fun in the cave.
Bats “Trela” 7a: The most overhanging route I’ve ever attempted, 40 metres long yet you can lower off with a 70 metre rope. It’s a ludicrous journey through an upside-down world of hanging tufas and stalactites. My on-sight attempt came to grief at the crux where the “rest” stalactite used to be.. From this point on wards Lactic Forearms ensured a steady degeneration of climbing style, but Phew! What a route! Ray seconded it cleanly.
If you haven’t been, Kalymnos is a beautiful island, with footpaths as well as climbing. There’s a lovely relaxed atmosphere, with friendly locals, and good food. We ate in a different restaurant every evening. Try to avoid Easter though, as lots of places close. There was some uncertainty as to whether there would be a ferry to get us back to Kos. In the event there wasn’t; just a local boat owner stepping into the breach and making a quick killing along the way. A good week, enjoyed by all