/ NEW ARTICLE: The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival Report
Mick Ryan reports from The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival 2013.
Alex Megos crushes hard, James Pearson gets married, loads of people have a great time!
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=5872
Jeez Mick, this sounds my idea of hell. Thank god I didn't plan a holiday in Kalymnos during that. Are climbing competitions on natural rock OK again now?
Yeh, short-term economically friendly. But, as the locals wealth increase and they start to invest in their businesses to grow and expand, what happens when climbers get bored of Kalymnos because it is over crowded? Decline.
If you're bored of Kalymnos or think it's overcrowded you're just being lazy, and not exploring enough.
There's an endless supply of new crags and new routes at all grades!
I was on Kalymnos during the festival week and although it was a busy period, it didn't spoil my holiday aside from not being able to get a bike for the first few days. It was surprising how little it effected things, there's plenty of rock to go around.
I was there during the festival by accident/bad planning. It was awful. The place was heaving, restaurants full, every bike on the island rented out, even the organisers had trouble getting transport for staff. Some crags were swarming with people pushing in trying to get their Marathon points and there were big corporate banners on the way up to some of the crags which were very unsightly and out of place. I'll definitely be taking great care to avoid the festival next time I go. What puzzled me, however, was why there was a festival in October at all. Most places organise events like this to lure visitors and fill beds during quite periods. Kaly in October is always quite busy because, as Mick says in his report, the weather's good for cragging. Why you would want to add a festival to a peak period is beyond me.
For what its worth I've been to Kalymnos almost every October since 2004 and its always busy, particularly in the first couple of weeks. Twice on my visits, including this one, there has been a festival going on but as far as I'm concerned these add to the atmosphere and overall experience.
It was busy this year but there are so many crags developed now on Telendos, the Vathi Valley and further afield in the Palionisos valley that I never had any trouble getting on top quality routes wherever we went.
As an aside entering the marathon competition was great fun and good value for money (Goody bag with contents worth about £75 retail, several free drinks, and a free meal and big party all for 20 Euros). Plus I did more routes in those 2 days than I often climb in a week and that was on the most crowded, popular cliffs - great friendly atmosphere. It could just do with a vets category next year then oldies like me might stand more of a chance. Gil Peel and I were probably the oldest competitors by about 30 years!
If you don't like the crowds go to Kaly in May. I think that is the best month for lack of crowds and more settled weather. However the overall Kaly experience, of which the climbing is just a part is better in October It seems every time I go I meet up with some old friend I haven't seen climbing in the UK for donkey's years.
Just go with the flow and enjoy the complete package Its busy for a reason and that is that so many people from all over the world like the full deal.
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