Kalymnos Rock Climbing
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Kalymnos may be one of the greatest sport climbing areas in the world. With over 3400 routes in the 2019 guide being mostly accessible with a short hike and/or scooter and great amenities you'll wonder why you've ever climbed anywhere else. Many of the routes feature tufas and are steep, but there is also an array of pockets, thin vertical climbing and LOTS of moderates on the lower angle grey limestone. There is something for everybody with grades from 5a to 9a (5.7 to 5.14d). Many of the popular areas/routes have a steel lowering biner for quick and easy cleaning. With some exceptions, the bolting is generally close together and safe, with particular attention paid to the first three to avoid deck potential. The atmosphere is quite different here than other locales, the climbers tend to be a little older and tend to travel as couples as opposed to a place like Thailand.
For all the information you need to get to Kalymnos and have a great time, see the ClimbKalymnos.com FAQ.
Grades: Kalymnos had a reputation for 'vacation grades' for the most part although the recent guides did a nearly wholesale downgrade. Because of this, many of the grades painted on the rock will be higher than that of the guide. You'll note a substantial increase in difficulty on humid days or when the rock seeps a little, so be weary of your desire to downgrade any further, you may have just had good weather.
[Updated Nov 2012]
During the summer months up to about Nov 1st, Europeans have the option to fly diretly to Kos island from many major cities. After Nov. 1 many of these flights are discontinued until spring and they will have to route through Athens for a higher cost.
Folks making a longer journey in will likely find it most convenient to fly to Athens then grab one of the many flights to Kos on Olympic or Aegean.
Once in Kos go to the town of Mastahari and grab the ferry to the Kalymnos port town of Pothia. Take the bus 2 euro from there to Massouri. It is 18 Euro for a cab (2020).
There is usually one late ferry to accommodate the last flight into Kos from Athens. If for whatever reason you miss it, there are plenty of hotels to grab in Mastahari walking distance from the ferry.
Take ferries between islands all the way from Athens. This will be more expensive and take a long time but you may enjoy several of the islands on the way in. Santorini or Crete would be well worth a stay.
You can also fly to Istanbul for some tourism then fly to Bodrum Turkey and take the ferry over to Kos (Kalymnos is much closer to Turkey than to mainland Greece).
Ryan Air flies from many European cities directly to Kos (before Nov 1st)
Traveling after Nov 1st?
Many of the island-island ferries and flights start to disappear but connections to Athens are still frequent. Tourism is basically over for all the islands except Kalymnos...
There are many places to eat in Massouri, some better than others but all are worth trying. The climber hangout seems to be Fats mostly due to the location at the end of town, closest to climbing, and can fill up quickly.
Water can be obtained at spring inside a small stone hut right on the main street, down from Fats.
There's a supermarket in Panormos (on the way to Pothia) with much better prices.
The Pirate Bar in Emporios is awesome.
Coffee and espresso is mostly instant. The exception is at the climbers nest and Glaros.
The proprietor at Glaros is a suckubus. Go there to try and make him smile as a challenge. Climber: "Can I get cheese on the omelet?" Glaros "Do you want me to fuck up my kitchen just so you can have cheese?" If you're having too much fun and want to hate your life, go here.
Fani Market has great bread but it sells out quick.
Kalymnos can be climbed all year around but the dominant season is spring/fall with most climbers going in October so crags will get a little full during this time.
The dominant reason that people do not climb as much in the winter is simply because the tourism season has died and many of the amenities in Massouri have shut down about Nov 1st and less direct flights are available from the rest of Europe. That said, there will still be a few restaraunts and at least one market open. Since most Kalymnians live and work at the same place, their studios usually remain available all winter so lodging should not be an issue. In addition there is more rain in Dec/Jan. During Oct/Nov rain usually doesn't last long or affect your climbing day much (hint: when the forcast shows rain, go climbing to avoid crowds since it probably won't rain anyway).
Guidebook (Mo' Beta)
The Kalymnos Rock Climbing Guidebook by Aris Theodoropoulos is THE book to have for Kalymnos beta. The 2015 update includes over 2,700 routes and the Android or iOS app (see below).
The Kalymnos Rock Climbing Topo app is a great app with loads of beta and route information. All proceeds from the sale of the app go to the Glaros Bolt Fund to fund replacement and new hardware for Kalymnos routes.
60m rope: This will give you access to many routes but you will be limited.
70m rope: This is highly recommended and gains you access to most routes. Still - tie a knot in the end as there are many rope stretchers even for a 70.
80-100m rope: Talendos is now boasting routes requiring ropes of this length, and some on Kalymnos. Many big extensions will be easier with this.
You do not need to bring a stick clip.
14 draws would be a minimum for one person (or 18 for a pair if you plan to climb the same routes). Bring a few slings and longer draws to get around tufa features and depressions that cause rope drag on these long routes. 28 draws for a couple worked.
18 to 20 quickdraws will have you covered. Many of the steeper routes have perma-draws in-situ.
Do not leave quick-links and try not to leave biners. The environment permanently freezes quick links shut, and perhaps biners as well on less popular routes. You can rap or lower directly on a single cold shut if that was used.
This place is kneebar heaven. You may want one or two of these if you're going to push your grade or be climbing above 5.11. Durable pants will be sufficient on many routes. The grades often assume you're taking the rests into account. On the stalactite routes you'll also want a shirt on as you'll get creative back rests, headlocks, chicken wings, threadthroughs, laydowns, rodeos etc.
Classic Climbing Routes at Kalymnos
Days w Precip