Tuesday, 28 October 2014


I have just returned from an amazing trip to Kalymnos, our second trip there this year. I felt a big improvement since our last trip in May, moving a lot more confidently on the massive tufas and stalactites.
We flew over to Kos on the 7th, only just catching the ferry to Kalymnos after our flight was delayed. When we arrived at our apartment we found out that they had double-booked our room and so they put us up in a fancy hotel for the night, not too shabby!

Our first day was spent at Panorama doing a few easy routes to get into the swing of things. We warmed up on a couple of 6bs and then I onsighted 'Joggel and Toggel' 6c+ and 'Commandant Marcos' 7a. We finished up on a 6b+ further right and headed back down for a swim!

The next day we hired a car and ventured further round the island, a first for both me and Neill. Joining us was our friend Pete and our new American friend (who we also bumped into in Ceuse!) Mike. We decided to visit Arhi which turned out to be a great crag but unfortunately quite polished. We warmed up on a 6b bridgy/tufa route which I didn't find too enjoyable due to the slopy pinches and the shiny footholds. We then jumped straight onto the classic 7a 'Kastor'. I found this route pretty powerful with a couple of big reaches but luckily there was a nice knee-bar rest to recover.
While we were trying this, Mike was putting the clips in 'Eros' a 3 star 7b+. This route consisted of a hard boulder problem at the 4th clip then steady climbing through big stalactites to the top. Neill tried it first and came off at the crux after using some dodgy beta, he then worked out a better way and cruised to the top. I managed to get through the crux with Neill's better sequence and then knee-barred my way to the top. This was my first 7b+ flash so I was pretty chuffed! Neill dispatched the route easily on his second go.
Great success!

Neill on Eros 7b+
starting up Eros

Pete and Neill

After we both did Eros the sun crept round onto Arhi and so we decided to drive round to a crag called Local Freezer which was in the shade all afternoon. I put the clips on a 7a+, falling once at the top from a massive reach round a roof. I did the route second go and had to scrape my face along the rock to make the big reach! Neill flashed the route and then we drove back for some ice cream and a swim!

Local Freezer...


Neill was coaching for the next 5 days and so we got less climbing done, however, I still managed to squeeze in some routes with Pete. We went to Spartacus on the first day and I tried 'Gladiator' 7b. I slipped off the really tricky crux at the bottom but managed it on my second attempt!

I also visited Iannis with Pete and repeated some routes that I did in May. Pete just missed out on 'Adolf in the Bay' 6c+ coming off right at the last clip! I attempted what I thought was a 7a+ to the right and had an absolute epic, I then found out that this was a new 7b+ that wasn't in the guide!
We went to Odessey twice during the trip, the first time Neill was coaching and so I only did a couple of easier routes over on the right. The second time we went was great as Neill managed to redpoint 'Polifemo' 7c and I managed to onsight lots of lowers 7s including 'Lucky Luca' 7b, 'lucky Strike' 7b, 'Islands in the Sun' 7a+ and 'Fouska' 7a.

Islands in the Sun 7a+


No hands!

Our last day was the best by far, even though we were tired from the previous day we decided to beast ourselves anyway. We had planned to visit the much talked about Secret Garden crag but it was pretty windy and cold so thought the North facing crag might be too cold. We headed to Firewall instead as it would be in the sun. This crag was absolutely heaving and after warming up on a chossy 6c, we decided just to jump on the classic 7b+ 'Firewall'. Neill impressively onsighted it putting the clips in and then I surprisingly managed to flash it straight after! With not much else to try and the temperature rising, we headed down for a coke and drove round to Secret Garden. This crag has lots of good low to mid 7s and so we decided to try and do seven 7s in a day! In the end we managed 8, all onsight/flash (including Firewall) and headed back for a well deserved Schnitzel! The routes we done were...'Crisis' 7a, 'Ricounet' 7a, 'Ikariotikos' 7b, 'Adolflahaut' 7a+, 'Ballos' 7a+, 'Pomponpidoux' 7b and 'Sam Suffit' 7a.

We are already planning to go back to Kalymnos next October, possibly for longer and have also booked a trip to Costa Blanca in January!