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Elevation: 1,371 ft
GPS: 39.7134, 21.62313
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Shared By: Anthony Baraff on Jul 8, 2009 · Updates
Admins: Jason Halladay, Luke Bertelsen

Description Suggest change

Meteora means suspended in air in Greek. For more than a thousand years people have been scaling its sedimentary monoliths. The first were hermetic monks in search of a place to be alone with god. Starting in the 14th century, more permanent structures were established ultimately resulting in the construction of 20 monasteries--6 remain today. Several are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Climbing is not allowed on spires that contain active monasteries.

More recently, these same peaks were climbed by German and Greek climbers who established bold routes to the tops of the pinnacles. Many of the original routes require very creative gear placement in questionable rock. Quite a few involve long sections of chimney climbing with few opportunities to place gear and even fewer placements that could be trusted to support a leader fall of any distance. Routes were bolted minimally in most cases, most of the bolted routes are really "trad" routes that may or may not take additional gear.

The rock is similar to cement with rounded river stones as aggregate. The size of the stones embedded in the conglomerate varies from peak to peak and from climb to climb. There is also a great degree of variance in the strength of the cementing material. Some routes are solid and it is possible to bear your entire weight on a single embedded cobble. Other routes contain sections that are more akin to stones in dried mud. It's very important to test and retest stones you intend to pull on. It is very unlikely that you will go any length of time climbing in Meteora without detaching stones with your hands or feet. Belayers should wear helmets at all times for this reason. Most descents require double rope rappels. For several days a partner and I were stuck with only one rope, while there was a lot to climb, there was very little that we could descend, until a friend arrived with a second rope.

Guides and Beta Suggest change

Routes.gr;Page=Climbing/Index-Areas has an online route database for Meteora.;Page=Climbing/Areas/Meteora

Stutte and Hasse have published two guides detailing climbing in German, Greek and English called Meteora Climbing and Hiking and Meteora Band II Climbing. They cover different routes and are both necessary for a complete overview of climbs in the area. The second book lists the climbs in the first book but provides no detail. If you are proficient in German they can be purchased here. I managed to buy both of them at the corner news stand in Kalambaka near Dimarhiou Place.

A more modern book is available (published 2017) called Sport Climbing Guide: Meteora and Theopetra by Vangelis Batsios. Just be warned that the title is "Sport Climbing" so I found that some routes such as Pillar of Dreams (Traumpfeiler) are missing from this guide since it could possibly have mixed sections.

General information on Meteora can be found on its Wikipedia page.

Getting There

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The climbing at Meteora is situated around the towns of Kastraki and Kalambaka in Thessaly.

Train:
Kalambaka has a train station with arrivals and departures to and from Athens three times a day (4 1/2 hours).

Bus:
The bus station in Kalambaka, Averof 2, is easily accessed from Dimarhiou Place by walking down hill 200 meters or so on Rodou. The ride from Athens(7 times a day, 5 hours) goes via Lamia and Trikala. Busses depart and arrive at Athens' Terminal B Bus Station.

Car:
This is probably the worst option if you are paying for a rental, from a home base in or around Kalambaka or Kastraki it is easy to access everything by foot. From the town of Trikala take the road towards Ioanninon, called the Ioanninon-Trikalon (also E92 or 6). Kalambaka is 10 or so miles down the road.

A word about Greek, German and English

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I'm a little torn about what language to use when listing these climbs. The readers of this site, like me, probably only speak English. Meteora is in Greece so obviously most of the pinnacles are originally named in Greek, but few of us would have much luck reading or pronouncing words written using the Greek alphabet. The guides for Meteora are written primarily in German, so for the most part I will list these routes and peaks by their German names, so people are able to use Mountain Project in conjunction with their guidebook.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Meteora

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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