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Sport new routes - Kalymnos

'My love affair with new routing on the magical island of Kalymnos lasted for over a decade. You can’t pick a bad crag out there and the experience of a trip to Kalymnos leaves a lasting impression. The routes are described from north to south (or right to left as you view the crag) starting from Zeus sector and finishing at Spartacus.' NG

References: Kalymnos App – ‘The Send’  / Kalymnos climbing guide, Aris Theodoropoulos, numerous editions.

The routes are described from right to left as you face the crag....

 

 
 Equipping the ET Cave, Valhi, Kalymnos   

Equipping the ET Cave, Valhi, Kalymnos

 

ZEUS, IANNIS & KALYDNA

Pipe Cleaner 7b+ Zeus, 09.04

The continuous single tufa on the right hand side of the wall. The crux is getting established on the pipe but it remains sustained throughout. I cleaned the route with a wire-brush as I climbed it on the first ascent, hence the name. Bolted by Nick Smith.

 

Tufa King Pumped 7b+ Iannis, 09.04

A fun example of steep, Kalymnian stalactite pulling, which seems to have become the classic of the sector. Beware the tricky crux on the headwall, which comes when all the jugs run out. I take no responsibility for the name, which was the inspiration of my belayer, Steve Bunting.

 

 Aurora 8a, Sector Kalyna, Kalymnos.  Photo: Mike Robertson

Aurora 8a, Sector Kalyna, Kalymnos.

Photo: Mike Robertson

Aurora 8a Kalydna, 09.04

Guidebook quote: 'The central line of weakness in the giant amphitheatre of Kalydna has become a classic of the island'.

The difficulties escalate and the crux is the last move, which uses a mono-pocket to reach the top of the wall. The route is approximately 45m high and is possible with a 70m rope, provided you scramble up to the small belay ledge at 8m and /or re-thread the intermediary lower-off (7b to here). When I first looked at this stunning wall I couldn’t believe that the glaringly obvious central line hadn’t been climbed. Sure enough, it was the first route to go all the way to the top and the grade is relatively amenable, considering the territory it covers. My favourite new route in Kalymnos.

 Beginning at the End 7b+, End Cave, Kalymnos.  Photo: Mike Robertson

Beginning at the End 7b+, End Cave, Kalymnos.

Photo: Mike Robertson

AFTERNOON & THE END CAVE

 

Dinosaur Junior 7b Afternoon, 09.03

My first new route in Kalymnos. An extension pitch above Kalo Taxidi and Blu. The single tufa is hard to start and sustained at the finish.

 

The Beginning at the End 7b+ The End Cave, 09.03

The first route to be climbed in the End Cave. A bouldery start leads to some great tufa-swinging action and a tricky slab to finish. Named after the nightclub in London where I met my wife. The End was owned by pioneering tech-house DJs, Layo and Mr C, and it closed in 2009.  

 

Harlem Nights 7b+ The End Cave, 9.2003

The left-hand line in the cave is a ‘one move wonder’ and may suit those looking for something a little shorter. Named after DJ Steve Lawler’s tech-house night, which ran at the End nightclub in London between 2000 and 2005. 

 Broken Souls 7c, Lower Spartan Wall, Kalymnos.  Photo: Selina Chen

Broken Souls 7c, Lower Spartan Wall, Kalymnos.

Photo: Selina Chen

LOWER SPARTAN WALL aka ‘SPACE FACE’

This wall has its own unique character. Most of the lower angled faces on the island are grey in colour and prone to being sharp, but the orange streaks on the Space Face make for user-friendly climbing. I was surprised that no one else had explored it first, seeing as it lies in between two of the island’s most popular sectors. The routes are long (approx. 45m from the ground or 30m from the ‘Space Terrace’ ledge. You can belay from the ground with a 100m rope (or an 80m rope if you re-thread the anchors on the terrace) but rope drag is considerable. To avoid this, climb the short approach pitch (Layo & Buchwacka! 5+) and belay on the Space Terrace.

 

Broken Souls 7c Lower Spartan Wall, 05.10

The left-hand of the three lines on the bacon-streaked, leaning wall, which lies above the Space Terrace.  Scramble onto the large pinnacle and climb directly, via a fun but easy dyno, to a rest below the final bulge. A hard crux sequence leads from here to the anchors. Tricky to onsight.

 
 The Poison 7c+, Lower Spartan Wall, Kalymnos.  Photo: Selina Chen

The Poison 7c+, Lower Spartan Wall, Kalymnos.

Photo: Selina Chen

The Poison 7c+ Lower Spartan Wall, 05.10

Another long, sustained face climb. From the top of the pinnacle, pull right to gain the orange streak. Follow this to a crux move, rightwards to gain the steep final crack. 

 

Fudoshin 7c+ Lower Spartan Wall, 05.10

The right-hand line on the streaked wall above the Space Terrace has an atmospheric feel to it. Start just to the right of the pinnacle and follow a rightwards-trending line of pockets through a small overhang (crux) to a rest in the groove. Sustained, technical climbing leads from here to the anchors. Low in the grade. The style is ‘stop-start’ with hard moves followed by reasonable rests. 

 
 Fudoshin 7c+, Lower Spartan Wall, Kalymnos.   Photo: Selina Chen

Fudoshin 7c+, Lower Spartan Wall, Kalymnos. 

Photo: Selina Chen

SPARTACUS

 

The Shield 7b+ Spartacus, 11.09

The smooth, white vertical wall just right of Spartacus sector is climbed direct on small pockets and edges. Another route, which shows that the wall climbing in Kalymnos can be just as enjoyable as the steeper stuff. The climbing style is reminiscent of my beloved Pembroke.

 

Ares 7b+ Spartacus, 11.09

Extension to Les Amazones through some very steep and exposed terrain.

 Chameleon 8a, Sector Spartacus, Kalymnos.  Photo: Szymon Dziukiewicz

Chameleon 8a, Sector Spartacus, Kalymnos.

Photo: Szymon Dziukiewicz

Chameleon 8a Spartacus, 11.09

A full-height extension to Monbatcha, which starts from the cave above Harikiri. A steep, bouldery start leads to a sustained and airily positioned finished. A line that remained camouflaged for too long! Conditions can be greasy at Spartacus so pick a clear, breezy day.

 

King Cobra 7c+ Spartacus, 09.05

An exposed and gymnastic extension pitch above Harikiri, which climbs across the roof on stalactite blobs and then tackles the evil serpentine tufa on the headwall. Beware the last move where it spits in your eyes! Belay in the cave to avoid rope drag.

 Jurassic Park Sector, Kalymnos.

Jurassic Park Sector, Kalymnos.

JURASSIC PARK

Of the 30+ routes I’ve established on Kalymnos, the ones in the main cave of Jurassic Park are amongst my favourite. The crag is generously plastered with pockets and tufa-blobs and it has a unique and eerie atmosphere. 

 

The Sickle 7b+ Jurassic Park, 04.10

A bouldery direct line in between Nicola La Tigre and Neolithic line.

 

Atlantis 8b Jurassic Park, 12.09

The left-hand line in the main cave, which starts just left of Rendez with Platon. Ascend the ever-steepening orange wall to a complicated crux sequence, which leads leftwards across the lip then back right to tackle the relentless headwall. This route cast me under its spell after a crushing defeat in the Spring and I was forced to return in the Autumn for the successful redpoint. I used the rest on Raptor, which makes it low in the grade, but the route has been climbed without at hard 8b. 

 Labyrinth 8a+, Jurassic Park, Kalymnos.  Photo: Simon Kincaid

Labyrinth 8a+, Jurassic Park, Kalymnos.

Photo: Simon Kincaid

Labyrinth 8a+ Jurassic Park, 04.10

A wild upside-down voyage, which tackles the widest part of the cave ceiling via a series of perfectly positioned pockets and slots. There’s a tricky move at the lip after which, a wild traverse leads rightwards to a junction with the top part of Paleolithic line. After numerous failed attempts to redpoint this route, I ran out of time and was despondent on my way back to the Athens airport. I’d become convinced that someone else would climb it in my absence, even though I’d removed several bolt hangers. On arrival at the check-in desk, I discovered that all flights were cancelled due to a recent volcanic eruption, leaving me with no choice but to return and send the route whilst waiting for the ash to disperse. 

 Raptor 7c+, Jurassic Park, Kalymnos  Photo: Simon Kincaid

Raptor 7c+, Jurassic Park, Kalymnos

Photo: Simon Kincaid

Raptor 7c+  Jurassic Park,  11.09

Sustained climbing through the left hand side of the main cave. Raptor blasts up the juggy lower wall to a hard move, which leads to a good rest on the headwall. After this a tufa is followed, via a brief junction with Calinycta Mer, to a tricky rightwards finish. If the right hand finish is avoided then the grade is 7c. This one was a bit of a find and Raptor has now become one of the most popular routes of the sector.

 

Carnivore 7c  Jurassic Park, 12.09

The steep, wall to the left of Calinycta Mer will satisfy almost any appetite! Burly, juggy climbing at the start leads to a sustained and fingery finish. 

 Photo: Simon Kincaid

Photo: Simon Kincaid

Houftasaurus 7b Jurassic Park, 5.10

The steep bulging wall to the left of St.Savas has 'houftas' all the way. Houfta is the Greek term for a jug.

 

Pterodactyl 6b  Jurassic Park, 12.09

A jug-fest to the right of Dike, which finishes at the ledge at two-thirds height. Bolted and first climbed by Louise Gresham. 

 Full Wingspan 7a+, Jurassic Park, Kalymnos.  Photo: Simon Kincaid

Full Wingspan 7a+, Jurassic Park, Kalymnos.

Photo: Simon Kincaid

Full Wingspan 7a+ Jurassic Park, 05.10

The extension to Pterodactyl, with a hard move around the overhang and some big reaches on the airily positioned headwall.

 

Pegasus 6c+  Jurassic Park,  04.10

The wall just left of Nike. Steep, juggy climbing leads to a tufa and crimpy headwall. Tricky to onsight.

 

Fossil Wall 6c  Jurassic Park, 04.10

The leaning wall to the left of Pegasus features some weird formations!

 Valley of the Dolls 8a+/b, Iliad, Kalymnos.  Photo: Nathan Rogers

Valley of the Dolls 8a+/b, Iliad, Kalymnos.

Photo: Nathan Rogers

ILLIADA

Valley of the Dolls 8a+/b  Illiada, 11.09

 

An extension to Dolonas, which climbs out from the centre of the main cave.  From the first lower-off, a desperate sequence leads to a rest at a hole followed by a tricky move onto the easy upper slab. I ‘comfortized’ some razor-sharp holds on this route but made every attempt to preserve its natural character and difficulty. There’s been some debate about the grade - I thought 8a+ but some say 8b.

 

 Blame the Machine 8a, Arginonta Skyline, Kalymnos

Blame the Machine 8a, Arginonta Skyline, Kalymnos

ARGINONTA SKYLINE
 

Blame the Machine 8a Arginonta Skyline, 10.11

This is a minor crag, which offers little to interest those climbing in the mid and upper grades; however, Blame the Machine stands out. It takes the steep central line on the highest point of the crag, with some beautiful rock formations and has a very difficult crux using a small undercut at two-thirds height.

 

SECRET GARDEN

The Floodgates 8a/+ Secret Garden 03.11

This delightful crag was discovered by Kalymnian activist, Claude Idoux and the name of this route reflects the outcome that he predicted. Sure enough, as soon as the word got out, the drills came in and the crag was ‘grid-bolted’ in a matter of days. However, Claude and I adopted a gentler approach and The Floodgates was the only new route I climbed at Secret Garden. This route climbs a vertical wall to a small cave with a tree and a possible lower-off (F6c+). After this, a steep bulge leads rightwards to a fierce, leaning diagonal groove, with a crux right at the top.

 The ET Cave in the valley of Valhi. 

The ET Cave in the valley of Valhi. 

ET CAVE

The highlight of my ten year love affair with Kalymnos was developing a crag in the beautiful, unspoilt valley near to the port of Vathi on the east side of the island. I am forever indebted to local activist Claude Idoux for showing me the crag that was later dubbed ‘The ET Cave’ (for reasons which I have no idea). For those operating in the low and middle F8s who are keen to escape the crowds at the honey-pot crags, ET is well worth the journey. It stays in the shade all day and the routes are equivalent in quality to some of the classics of the island. The style is steep and athletic on a combination of tufas and pockets. There are fewer stalactites to be found in comparison with Grande Grotte or Sikati, so the climbing tends to be more varied and with less rests. 

 Duramater 8a, ET Cave, Kalymnos.   Photo: Simon Kincaid

Duramater 8a, ET Cave, Kalymnos.

 Photo: Simon Kincaid

Duramater 8a  ET Cave, 09.10

The right-hand line in the cave, which climbs a short slab then follows a steep tufa to a good rest. After this, a baffling crux leads to a very sustained rightwards finish on pockets.

 

Tyrant 8a/+  ET Cave, 09.10

The first line I bolted in the ET the cave has become the most popular. Tyrant takes on a dramatic hanging tufa and a reachy crux bulge above. High in the grade, especially for the short. 

 Rebellion 8a+, ET Cave, Kalymnos.

Rebellion 8a+, ET Cave, Kalymnos.

Uprising 8a+  ET Cave, 09.11

Originally bolted by Leah Crane, this route follows a line of sinuous twisting tufas to a rest below the half-height bulge. Sustained climbing leads through this to a crux where the angle changes.

 

 

Rebellion 8a+  ET Cave, 03.11

A single tufa-pipe leads to a no-hands rest on a stalactite under the main bulge. From here a desperate dynamic sequence leads to a lower-off at two-thirds height. I originally graded this route 8b but it was subsequently downgraded after an impressive flash by James Pearson. 

 Megalomania 7b+, ET Cave, Kalymnos.

Megalomania 7b+, ET Cave, Kalymnos.

Megalomania 7b+  ET Cave, 04.11

The furthest left-hand line on the main wall (at the time of writing), which starts with a short scramble up to a ledge. After this, a technical crux leads to juggy stalactite-pulling and a lower-off at half-height.