/ Routes to be psyched for - Kalymnos
Classics appreciated, but would really love to know some of the hidden gems worth seeking out, up to about 7c. I realise its probably a bit early to be on here, but nothing gets me quite as motivated to climb as the thought of sunkissed overhanging limestone! I'm cool, I know!
Here's a few ideas for you:
Since the 2010 guidebook, there’s been around 400 new routes added to Kalymnos. Most of these are in the F6s, particulary at Arginonda, Iliada, Ghost Kitchen , Palionisis Bay, Palionisis Red Wall, and Sea Breeze. There’s dozens, no, hundreds of them. Some open up completely new sectors like the grey slabby Hotel California, Balcony Skalia, and the mountain-top Arginonda Skyline and Prophitis Andreas. Apparently quite popular are the very long new single-pitch routes at Lambda on Telendos and (less so) the esoteric ‘sport mountaineering’ of the Remys on conglomerate (sort of) at Kryptos, up near the summit of Galatiani.
However, from your post I’m guessing that you are particularly interested in new stuff in the F7s. Amongst my favourites are Call of the Ktulu, easy 7c, at Panorama, a very long road-trip into typically Panorama tufa-wonderland (but probably best to start up Lulu in the Sky). I also liked the insight into the ‘steep stuff’ on Fanny Ma Reine (easy 7b+), at Arginoda Skyline… despite ending in the middle of nowhere!
Even the oldest of crags have had interesting new developments. For instance, a Greek team has slotted in a new 7b and 7c+ at the right-hand side of Zeus; the exciting bit on the 7b is admittedly short… but very interesting. The 7c+ I haven’t played on but it looks hard and sustained. There’s even been room of Odyssey (of all places) for a new route; Early Bird 7b+, over on the far left, but watch out for the bat.
St Photis is rapidly developing at the moment. Here, I'd point you at the very new Howl la-la (which may have been named after the small owl, disturbed, or was it the sharp rock? Who knows the French sense of humour?) This might still feel fresh (at 7b/7b+ and reachy) but I think it’ll settle to become a classic. Fab oceanic atmosphere at the crag too.
Also by Simon Montmory are the mysterious developments at Inspiration on the south face of Telendos… haven’t been to see these yet… but allegedly there's some magical 1 and 2 pitch routes at 6b+-7c+ Check out his website, the access seems to be via a hidden tunnel!
The most exciting development since the last guidebook just has to have been Secret Garden... you may have heard of this most wonderful, instantly-popular, tufa crag just above the sea where you can climb all summer as it faces north, with a stiff meltemi rattling down the Turkish coast (those peninsulas just over THERE). You may see dolphins too. Just about ALL the routes between 6c and 7a+ are a delight on gently steep tufas and ‘potatoes’. Slightly harder, I can recommend Aris Theodoropoulos's Dirlanda 7b+ and the varied Chien Jaune, easy 7b+,(yes, despite one or two chipped/crumbly/stabilized holds in the last few metres). The groove of Pomponidoux (at 7b) is excellent but might still need a couple of replacement bolts; take care. And if you want a more serious workout, of the two 8as Savina is the easier one (maybe 7c+) and quite accessible to get on to (for a quick look!)
The new developments have also included plenty of harder stuff, for example at Noufaro, Arhi and The North Face 2012 competition crag (Psili Rizia) which has a dozen or so routes in the F8s and possible 9’s but to tell the truth I’m not much tempted by even the easier ones here (short and nasty, I’m afraid; but come on all you Peak boulderers). Fortunately, I suspect that this year’s Festival crop will be on a bigger and more interesting bit of rock albeit with an equally long walk.
Neil Gresham has opened several 8a+/8b up a neat little cave at ET close to Vathy; I haven’t looked in detail at these but first acquaintance confirms steep tufa roof climbing… a bit of a Gresham thing, Neil?
With a much shorter walk, there’s my Pandora at Arginonda, F8a+; however it looks like being a very very long term project, oh dear, so feel free to have a go. A slightly longer walk takes you at Gerakios where Zavara Katraemia, 8a, is being touted as the new Daniboy… looks steep and wow.
Possibly the best of the hard bunch is on the rejuventated St Photis which Simon Montmory, the local French guide, has revitalized recently. The main cave is basically a harder, and not much smaller, version of the Grande Grotta… Alex Megos apparently wandered up just about everything there, first or second go, unsurprising despite many being 8b and above. Simon has also added the Verdon-blue 8b+ ‘slab’ of Zenith around the left-hand rim of Grande Grotta.
Before I forget, rumour has it that the best 7c on the island is a huge soaring single tufa. You can see it clearly from Masouri, a most blatent pencil-line of shadow when the light is right…. it's sort-of a secret but might be able to tell you all about it by October!
Finally, I should mention that a lot of rebolting is taking place at the moment and many of the lower-offs (Trella, Swiss Baby, Monahiki Elia being some of the more well-known – and needy - ones) are being replaced with a new type of rather neat fixed SS karabiner/lower-off. Great job, guys.
Have a great trip in the autumn. E-mail me if you want any further into.
1) 2013 new routes update
2) St Photis
3) St Photis and Inspiration on Telendos
Defo go the secret garden. As good as any crag on the island and you don't need to get up at 5am to get a full day. Loads of good stuff upto 7c.
Hardly an unsung gem but reading your OP you are not EXCLUSIVELY after those...so I'll say:
You'll piss up it as it is 6a+ but it's been described by a fair few people (operating at your grade and higher) as one of the "funniest routes ever" :-)
I was given a top rope on it on a "rest day" when I didn't really understand sport climbing, and I was a bit crap on it, but I loved every inch of it! It's just a fun climb.
Certainly seems like I'm going to have to stick some pics above the chinup bar and get training!
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