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Last September I spent a week climbing in the beautiful island of Kalymnos, Aegean Sea, in Greece.

And last month I wrote an article about my rock-climbing experience in this "climbing paradise" for the May 07 edition of Vertigo, the monthly e-zine of the Wellington Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club.


In September '06, Simone Chiaretta, an Italian rock climber temporarily working in Wellington, and his wife Daniela, spent a week in what is said to be the 2nd most beautiful rock climbing spot in the world (after Thailand): the stunning island of Kalymnos, in the Aegean Sea, in Greece.
Here is the report of his trip in Simone's own words:

"As soon as we took off from Athens, we started to feel the climbing atmosphere that was waiting for us on the island: instead of the usual people that go to the Greek Islands (couples on honeymoon or groups of friends ready for a week of parties), the plane was full of tanned people dressed with technical garments and with mountain packs.

That feeling increased looking at the temporary "inhabitants" of the small town of Massouri, where we were staying in a comfortable B&B with an astonishing view over the small island of Telentos, on the other side of the channel: climbers along the streets, climbers in the restaurants eating Mussaka or Stuffed Vine Leaves, climbers in the bars drinking Ouzo or Metaxa, climbers on scooters. It was like entering climbing heaven.

After the first night spent in the company of someone we met over there, we woke up in the morning ready for an intense week of climbing in some of the 40+ climbing areas around the island: all, at most, 10 minutes by scooter from Massouri.
We spent all morning looking for a scooter to rent for the week and then we headed to "Afternoon", the area just behind our B&B. The area is so named because you can only climb there in the afternoon, otherwise you will melt on the rock.
Graded from 4c to 9c (European system), there is a route for every skill level, from the uber-beginner, to Sharma level climbers.

The rock is limestone, with little holds (except for the routes in the caves, where you have stalactites hanging from the ceiling) and small holes. At first it was difficult to get used to the rock, since the limestone where I usually climb is slippery and I didn't trust my feet on the small footholds. But after the first day I understood that this limestone was rough enough to make use of the small holds for the feet. And my confidence was increased by the amazing bolting of the routes: the maximum distance between the bolts is 3-3.5 meters, so, even if you dare a route over your limit, you don't have to worry about a big fall.
We spent 5 lovely days climbing in the morning, going to the beach in the late afternoon, and spending the evenings in restaurants and bars. The perfect climbing holiday: no long walks, no worries about injuries, relaxation, and a lot of friendly climbers to party with in the evenings."

Simone Chiaretta

You can also have a look at the pictures of the best climbing holiday I ever had, directly from my online galley on PicasaWeb


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posted on Friday, June 8, 2007 2:23 PM
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