Monday, 20 April 2015


On arrival to the ‘fancy’ studio/apartment thing, it never quite appeared to be the same as what the photos suggested.  Tap water tasting like salt and an electric hob that was pretty much useless, FFS.  Never mind…

I did next to no research about Kalymnos apart from ask Boost what routes were good to do.  I got a vague answer which never really meant much.  So on day one, where do you start?  Mhairi and I walked along the street of Masouri peering up at the crags.  It was that typical view.  Blue sky, sun, big limestone crags.  Not very Scottish.  The Grande Grotta caught my eye.  Very good I thought.  With one whole week what does one do?  Climb lots of routes onsight, or open an account on a project?  My nature is to climb a lot and not sit around resting.  I love mileage. I love feeling wrecked at the end of each day, but just doing one more route and getting away with it.  I love that broken feeling you feel in the morning but just getting on with it.  So that’s what I opted for.  Mhairi joined in.

Masouri with a few crags

I started this blog just before the winter.  My posts so far have included two trad routes and winter days out.  They all have a story behind them, especially my Beinn Bhan days (for me at least).  However, sport climbing is a bit different.  I spend a lot of time clipping bolts but the routes all have a different meaning.  They don’t have such a big impact on me.  As I sit pondering just now about what too write, I can still visualise fighting the vertical soft snow at the top of ‘God Delusion IX,9’ more so than reaching the chains on ‘Daniboy 8a’.  I have put off writing this post as I seem to have struggled to find things to say.  I could write and entire post on the trip minus the climbing.  In saying that a few routes I will remember from Kalymnos which were cool.

Not the best photo, but you get the point. (Photo: Iain Small)

I guess the first ‘harder route’ I did was ‘Priapos 7c’.  The draws were in so it felt rude not to give it a blast.  It certainly was steep.  As the guide book suggests, lots of good rests with some harder climbing  in between them.  I am useless at all this tufa climbing.  I’m sure there are heaps of complete hands off rests.  I never really found them.  I just hung on shaked out and kept going….

Lowering off Priopas 7c.  Brilliant!

Arriving back at the apartment, it did grow on me a bit.  The shower was roasting and powerful.  That’s something.  However the hob still took about 30min to heat water for tea.  Not so good for someone who is constantly gagging for it…

Daniboy 8a.  I did my typical and avoid the issue of getting on it.  I made sure I got my days worth of climbing done before attempting it. Spartacus 7b+ and the other routes at this sector are pretty good.  The draws were in place on Daniboy so I had an advantage.  Somehow I managed to onsight about 2/3rds on the route then fell off.  I read the move from below knowing I needed my left hand in a pocket to reach up right.  But I was totally fucked so went up with my right instead.  I hung there knowing I couldn’t move up or down.  So I waited till all my energy drained and fell off.  I worked out the rest of the route and realised there was still some tricky climbing higher up.  Oh well, I would have never managed that even if I was correct the first time.  Returning the next day, the clips had gone.  That was a good enough excuse not to bother.  I was straining as it was to get the rope clipped the previous day let alone placing the quick draws.  So I shied away, but Mhairi told me to get on with it.  Clips in I went for a red point and fell just above my highpoint the previous day.  Fumbling a hold was my excuse.  I knew it was in the post though.  Despatched next go.  It was funny when I lowered down as a few folk commented on how boring I was to watch climbing.  No knee bars, no grunts and no celebration.  These Polish boys told me to learn to knee bar as they managed to find hands off rests and all that fancy stuff.  What they were getting at was, I could probably climb harder if I had a clue how to rest.  I just hung on and shaked out.  Maybe someone wants to give me a knee pad thing and I’ll learn?  And no celebration.  Well in my eyes, there was no point.  I have more in me to give. 

Sector Spartacus.

Back that the apartment, the shower was not quite as hot, the hob still took an age…

Mhairi made the plan of climbing 6c every day.  She did along with some 6c+ red points.   It was cool to see her tire throughout the trip, but get on with it and surprise herself and still red point hard towards the end.  The power of the mind.  The classic moment was on ‘Feta 6c’.  Too tired and sore skin was the comment as she tied on.  Despatched with no hassle.  Mhairi has a lot in reserve.  There was chat about climbing some 7a’s this year.  I bet you she has 7c ticked by the Autumn.

Mhairi warming up on 'KalyNikhla' on day one

The hob caved in half way through.  It produced no heat.  If I said I was raging, that would have been an understatement.  So upstairs I went with it in my hands to the owner of the place.  I kept my cool, we got a brand new fancy double hob that worked well fast.  I feel sorry for the poor man.  He probably expects all the guests to eat out and never boil water.  Well he is going to have one hell of an electric bill this month.

Before we went to Kalymnos, everyone was banging on about how cheap it was to eat out.  I think there is cheap, then there is tight and then me.  On the first night we ate out.  It was 24 Euros.  That’s not cheap.  It’s a rip off.  I could have made that salad myself for much less.  Anyway we tried again and the second time it came to 14 Euros.  That’s a bit more bearable….  We decided to cook ourselves.   

Cringing at the thought of spending money

One more rant.  We stopped off for a tea/coffee each morning at this cafĂ©.  I am not going to name it.  So, on our first visit, I had a brilliant mug of tea.  Mhairi had a brilliant coffee.  We even got a free bit of muffin.  Our next visit, the amount of hot water in my mug was less along with no free muffin/cake.  Mhairi still had a brilliant coffee.  Next time, my mug was half full, at least we got a free but of cake.  I had to ask for more hot water.  Fair enough…  Then the next time, I knew the score.  Get my half mug of tea, (for those of you that know me, it doesn’t even touch the sides.  One mouthful and its gone) and then ask for more hot water.  Well it never arrived…  Our final day I thought I will try a different tack.  A fresh fruit juice. So the options.  Fresh orange at 2 euros or fresh orange, mango and peach at 4 Euros.  Hmm, I’m on holiday, last day and all that, I’ll splash out and have the orange, mango and peach.  What a bloody waste.  One, it lasted 20 seconds and two, it tasted of orange.  Fair do’s it had a fancy 2 mm slice of mango decorating the glass suggesting there was some in there.  Ballocks there was.  So I conclude there, my philosophy on eating out wherever in the world, don’t bother.

But, Kalymnos is a brilliant place to hang out.  The weather was perfect, the climbing was superb and the place just felt so friendly.  Every route we both did was good value.  Each day we walked from Masouri which was fine as there was enough climbing to keep us both occupied.  I can definitely see myself booking another trip there in the future. 

The Grande Grotta

I have been back home for 2 weeks.  The weather has been great.  The past few days I have been trad climbing which.  Despite the sun splitting the sky, I still managed to experience damp, seapy, smeggy, cold rock along with hot aches and a cold bighting wind at Shiegra.  Then some rounded gritty licheness rock on some esoteric routes at Ardmair in the baking heat.  It’s good to be home!

Cool dude....

...but not as cool as my wee girl!