Get topo Sport Climbing in Kalymnos Kalymnos is one of the most popular sport climbing destinations in the world. Greek food and culture, the mediterranean sea and world class climbing on steep orange limestone. Need we say more? Yes we do.
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Why should Kalymnos be any different? Everything changed by chance, when the Italian climber Andrea di Bari visited Kalymnos for his summer holidays in Seeing the excellent quality of the rock and the huge potential of the area, he returned to Kalymnos in May with some climbing friends to put up some routes. They opened 43 sport routes on Kalymnos in the sectors Arhi, Odyssey and Poets. Andrea di Bari returned to Kalymnos in October of the same year, this time with Andrea Gallo, a photographer working for Alp magazine.
Articles ensued in Alp and Rotpunkt magazines in the spring of , and the rest is history. Climbing on Kalymnos took off. Our own Aris approached the local municipality and proposed a set of guidelines for developing and promoting climbing on Kalymnos; the municipality was supportive. The protection on existing routes was improved and new routes, as well as a basic multi-lingual website, were created.
These efforts led to the first international climbing event on Kalymnos in October , organized in part by the Acharnes Greek Alpine Club, which the prominent French alpinist Catherine Destivelle attended as special guest. At the same time the first Kalymnos Rock Climbing Guide was published.
It was little more than a thin brochure, which was funded by the local council and distributed for free to visiting climbers. Ah, how things have changed. Climbing Festivals The first climbing event described in the previous section was a milestone for Kalymnos, giving it just the right push forward to gain presence on the international climbing map. As early as and , an estimated 4, climbers visited Kalymnos. Among these were some of the biggest names in climbing at the time, who also helped tremendously by putting up some excellent new routes.
The festival was a joint effort by the Municipality of Kalymnos and Aris. Jeff Achey, editor at the time of Climbing magazine, was also there, and he subsequently wrote a page article in issue of Climbing. The highest achievement, perhaps, of the 2nd Kalymnos Climbing Festival was the opening of new routes in the 8a-9a range. Read more about the 2nd Kalymnos Climbing Festival.
The route climaxed with 10m of relatively easy about 7b tufa climbing on crumbly rock to add a bit of spice to the finish! They were allowed only one hour each to work the route before attempting a redpoint a few days later.
Not an easy task when the route is 60m long, imagine remembering that many moves! Those were the days. Special guests were the already mega-talented year-old Adam Ondra and year-old Slovenian climbing champion Maja Vidmar, and more than registered climbers from around the world got to admire them. Also invited were the inexhaustible Claude, Yves, and Christine Remy, who, along with Boris Girardin, had already opened more than sport routes on Kalymnos and counting.
Everyone stared in astonishment as Adam Ondra sent the hardest routes on Kalymnos with incredible ease. He also did the first ascent of Los Revolucionarios 9a 30m after 6 tries over 4 days. Remember, this was and he was 16; climbing 9a was no small feat. It was the hardest route on Kalymnos and the first 9a route in Greece. Immediately after Adam sent Los Revolucionarios, on a dreadfully hot and humid day, he went on to Los Kukos 8c and just barely missed the onsight.
And right after that, he sprinted to Sikati Cave in the middle of the afternoon to flash the 50m Jaws 8c, also placing the draws. She climbed beautifully and onsighted her first 8b on Kalymnos, Spartan Wall 20m, a vertical technical route with small holds. During her week on Kalymnos, Maja onsighted a total of 9 routes 8a or harder.
Again, remember this was By all accounts this was not the most eventful festival; for some detail, see here and here. The North Face festivals brought a certain prestige that had been missing since the Roctrip. For detailed reports of the North Face festival see here , and for a brief report of the North Face festival see here.
Since , the local municipality has continued to throw together underwhelming annual festivals in September or October, even though Kalymnos has long outgrown any need for them.
Seasons The dry climate of Kalymnos makes year-round climbing possible, though some seasons are better than others. Generally mild weather with comfortable temperatures make all-day climbing a possibility.
Many premium crags, mostly between Arginonta and Emporios, are perfect for cold-weather climbing. Some restaurants and rental studios in Masouri stay open year-round, so you can still find places to eat and sleep, though your choices will be more limited. The sea is too cold for swimming and the chance of rain is higher, but, generally, Kalymnian rock dries fast. If the winter has been rainy, tufas may be seeping. Stalactites sometimes drip in the spring and, as they are softer, they are more likely to break.
You can climb inside the caves when it rains, but you cannot during a thunderstorm. The obvious rule is: Always climb in the shade. Some very popular newer crags Secret Garden, Arginonta Valley, to name a couple are in the shade almost all day; they often enjoy a cool breeze, and you may even need long sleeves for belaying on summer mornings.
Crag etiquette The golden rule during any outdoor activity is always this: Leave no trace. While you are visiting, Kalymnos is your home. Treat the island and its crags as you would your own home, and treat other climbers as you would like to be treated. The toilet is at your rental, so give yourself enough time before hitting the crag to use it. Pack it up and take it with you to dispose of when you are back at the village.
Always have a bag s with you. No leftover food, food wrappers, toilet paper, or cigarette butts should be left behind.
It is. But remember that you are responsible for the safety and behavior of your children. At the crag, please keep kids away from the cliffs, away from people climbing, and quiet enough so as not to disturb the other climbers. They are now so accustomed to climbers that they will stop at nothing.
Keep your backpacks zipped shut at all times. A lot—if not most—of the land around the cliffs of Kalymnos is used by local shepherds and their animals. The gates are there to control the sheep and goats, and they are meant to be closed.
Please respect this. Do not take shortcuts. Stay on the designated paths as shown or described in the guidebook. Going off the established paths may cause problems with landowners and shepherds, and destroy vegetation. Going off the path can also be quite dangerous, especially if the terrain is steep. Accidents have happened on Kalymnos before for this exact reason. Besides concealing holds and footholds, the plants may also conceal loose rock.
A pair of gloves is a good thing to have at the crag, and your local equippers really appreciate any help they can get in cleaning vegetated routes. Also good to know: — Mosquitoes are everywhere. Be prepared to swat them away year-round. Bring some bug spray; the stronger the better. Our hopes go up every so often, but sadly Kalymnos still does not recycle.
Keep this in mind when you shop. Climbing character The rock of Kalymnos is limestone of the very best quality. It can be a bit sharp in places, but it is free of choss i. There is nothing monotonous about the climbing—there is a great variety of rock, with slabs, delicate walls, pumpy routes with pockets, and stalactites or tufas on overhanging rock and roofs.
In some respects the rock resembles that of Thailand, only a little sharper. The best of the routes can combine all three types of rock in one pitch. Equally important is that the limestone is showing less signs of polish compared to the rock at other well-known climbing areas of Europe.
This situation will be slow to change given the particularly rough surface of the rock. Most routes are about 30m long on average, but there are several longer routes around pitches, and a lot more potential for great new routes at all levels. Grades range from F3a to F9a, although quite a few project routes are expected to exceed 9a. There are, however, several very good bolted multi-pitches on Kalymnos and Telendos, some of which go all the way up.
Routes are graded according to the French grading system. One of the greatest things about Kalymnos is that every single climber can find something to climb here. But there are also more than routes graded 7b and up, and the hardest confirmed grade on Kalymnos is a 9a Los Revolucionarios at sector Odyssey, which was redpointed by Adam Ondra in Great efforts have been made toward consistent grading, but since routes on Kalymnos are equipped by climbers from all over the world, and some of these routes have not yet seen their second ascent, some may need re-grading.
In the route descriptions in our guidebook we try to give you a feel for a route without giving away specific beta or spoiling your onsight. If you disagree with a grade or description, please share your feedback publicly on this site or email us.
Route lengths can never be exact, so always tie a knot at the unused end of your rope. This is a recommendation only. Use common sense: always check the route length, and always make a knot at the end of your rope. As a guide: — Routes up to 20—25m: 10—12 quickdraws — Routes from 25—35m: 15 quickdraws — Routes from 35—40m: 20 quickdraws Again, this is the minimum number of quickdraws you need to climb safely.
In most cases, if you need more than 15 quickdraws it will be mentioned in the route description i. For the monster routes at Grande Grotta and Sikati Cave you will also need 5—6 long slings to reduce rope drag, directing your rope around the tufas and stalactites. However, many remarkable long routes 40—45m have been opened on Kalymnos in the past few years.
Reader reviews edition Lothar Mauch France Outstanding! The best topo to date I have seen — and you know that I climb since 40 years around all climbing sites. Lars Gilberg Norway I am very impressed by the new guidebook. This is the overwhelmingly high standard now, for people who want to make a world class guidebook elsewhere in the world. Dave Musgrove UK I used up all my superlatives when I reviewed the last guidebook but I will have to learn some more now.
Kalymnos Climbing Guidebook
Simon Montmory is a certified climbing instructor living on Kalymnos. The beautiful landscapes, the endless sunshine and the vast climbing potential of the island convinced Simon to settle here from his first visit. Since then, climbers from all over the world came to share his passion and to take avantage of his experience to improve their rock climbing skills. Simon has opened many new routes both in Kalymnos and Telendos and in Leonidio, from 4 to 9a. Simon climbs 8a on-sight and red-point up to 8c. He did most of the routes of the island and always has new projects to red point! Now he climbs bare-foot, without chalk and knee pads, up to 8b.
Kalymnos Climbing Guide
Simon is a true pro and knows everything about Kalymnos. He took us to all the best areas and routes for our level, and most important he is a really nice and funny guy! What limit? And of course, have fun!