Two months in Greece? sure, why not?
I’m not sure who first recommended that we come to Kalymnos, but I’m glad they did. I assume someone mentioned it when we were climbing in Ton Sai. That’s where you hear everyone yarn on about where the best climbing is. For the past month we have been biking across Eastern Europe. This trip hasn’t made it on the blog yet, but it’s coming. Upon finishing we had reached the end of our initial plans for this trip. Our next destination was the subject of constant debate. We initially thought New Zealand would be great. We could take our bike and ride around the island and climb. But when we realized that for the cost of a plane ticket from Europe to New Zealand we could spend two months climbing in Kalymnos and get a plane ticket to South America we promptly planned our escape to Greece.
From what we read on climbkalymnos.com October is prime time for climbing and when we arrived at the end of September it was as perfect as we had expected. We booked a hotel studio (the most common accommodations) complete with fridge and kitchenette, and settled in pretty quick. Having the same place sleep and a place to cook was a welcomed relief after a month on the bike.
Our first day at the crag was awesome. The rock is fresh and the friction is superb. The limestone cliffs share many similarities to Ton Sai. Not all routes have the same extensive tufa systems common to Ton Sai but you still see tufas on many sectors. One thing that both places have in common is overly vocal climbing guides.
Our second day out in Kalymnos we were climbing next to a couple led by a guide and we overheard “don’t worry, you try and you fall, no problem.” He followed with “put your right hand up, and now move your foot, no the other foot, no not there, 20 centimeters to the left, no a little further, too far…” For those of you who have been in Ton Sai you are intimately familiar with the guides constantly berating their climbers with advice that is seldom wanted let alone articulated in a way that is helpful. After this Briana overheard the girl taking the lesson say “I thought I was on vacation.” While all this was going on there was a girl belaying right next to me who in French said “this is just like Ton Sai” and we laughed and agreed that there is something about climbing guides, no matter where you are, they all seem to behave the same way.
We felt surprisingly strong for it only being our second day. Either that or the routes were just graded similar to those in Ton Sai, where a 6a is really more like a 5. Regardless, we are loving the rock and the confidence from sending routes. We’re excited to be climbing again after a few months off and looking forward to being here for a while.
Not to mention the crag has some killer views. (click on the photo for full resolution)