Climbing with the Kalymnos Locals
No trip to Kalymnos would be complete without a bit of quality time spent with the local population. As we travel around the world we always like to try to integrate ourselves, meet up with local residents and learn about their lifestyle and culture. Here’s a group of locals we saw the other day free soloing a 6b+ (5.10d).
And then there’s Diablo: queen and nemesis of the Grande Grotta. Diablo hangs out in the same place every day. She has developed a taste for bananas and sandwiches and will pretend to be your friend in order to lull you into a relaxed state. Then, just when you reach for the biscuits, bam! She’s on her feet horns ready to ram you and steal your food. Here’s Diablo and I sharing some crag-side laughs.
She also has this cute little habit of stealing your guidebook if there is no food available. This usually causes quite a scene as she deftly scrambles over the slick rock at the base of the Grande Grotta with a few climbers clumsily chasing after her. Not sure what the guidebook appeal is, but by now I’m sure she has every edition.
My favorite local so far has to be the donkey you can hear from Arginonta. Every time we visit the wall, without fail, we hear it. You have to give the donkey some kudos too, she waits until you’re up on a hard route, starting to struggle and then lets out a pained “hee-haw, hee-haw” which provides an excellent audible expression of how it feels to be struggling. It never fails to make me laugh.
Speaking of donkeys, have you heard of the Telendos donkey? She gets birthday parties thrown for her and has her funny face on stickers. The captain of the ferry showed us a little video on his cell phone of her last birthday. Flower garlands, a gathered crowd, even a birthday cake. The donkey takes one look at the cake and then dives in, meeting roaring applause.