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Seeking Current Meteora Beta

Original Post
Colonel Sandbag · · Boston, MA · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 30

Hi all,

Meteora seems like an interesting destination for my Spring vacation given its beauty and its off-the-beaten-pathedness. I've look online but it seems like most available info on the area is about a decade out of date, hence the questions:

I want to get a qualitative sense for the nature of the climbing at Meteora. I read a lot about how bold the climbs are, how sketchy the gear is, and how loose the rock is, but I get the feeling it's partially people telling tall tales. If I were to believe all that I read, I would think that every climb is a grossly run-out mid 5.10 or harder with loose rock. Is it really that way?

Though I can redpoint quite a bit higher than 5.10, I know that climbing 30 foot runouts at this level would still be very gripping, and I'm not sure I want to commit so much $$ and PTO for gripping climbs alone. (It is a vacation, after all.) So, does anyone know if there has been much development in last decade? Or are the majority of the routes still super run-out scare-fests? I also wonder about the trad situation: I imagine that this rock is fairly difficult to protect. Are the gear routes generally less radically under-protected?


Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

I have no personal beta--it has been on my--lengthy--'wish list' for a long time. However I can suggest that you check out the Greece sport climbing guidebook by Aris Theodoropoulos--a new edition came out this spring and the associated website for a good overview. From my understanding many of the older routes--though not all--are quite runout--more so if you don't spot the bolts in the midst of the cobbles, but there is also a new generation of adequately-bolted sport routes, many of which are described in the guide. As for looseness, from what I've heard, most of the classic routes are well-cleaned by now--as long as you don't stray off-route. Sure sounds worth the trip--and there are more 'conventional' good quality limestone sport areas near-by if Meteora does prove to be 'too much'.

Colonel Sandbag · · Boston, MA · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 30

Hey Alan! Thanks for the reply. I have looked into the limestone sport nearby, and it looks pretty good! It will be nice to have that as a backup if we can rent a car. I heard about the Theodoropoulos guide, but it's proving hard to track down!

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Colonel, Try Climb-Europe for the guidebook. It is a UK company that carries a very complete selection of guidebooks and ships to the US. Closer to home, check the Rock and Snow website. They also carry a very complete selection of guidebooks and I am pretty sure that they had a copy--at least of the previous edition, when I was there in May. Good luck.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490

I´ve climbed there a bit back when I lived in Greece, as far as I know there hasn´t been a new guide since 1986. Climbing there is controversial with recurrent discussions of banning it completely which doesn´t encourage new development or publishing a guide, it is also controversial with the Greek climbers with the "old guard" following the principles of the original East German pioneers and the modern sport climbing community. Basically anything easy was done by the old guard so horrific runouts and some distinctly dubious bolting, the modern stuff is too hard for me. 

The climbing is o.k but monotonous, endless padding on rounded pebbles gets boring but some of the chimneys and off-widths give a good tussle, especially 20m out from the only bolt on the route! Three bolts in a 80m route is kinda de-riguer and anything you get in between is likely to be more an ambition than a life-saver, taping slings to rounded knobs is usually about it unless you´ve a Valley Giant to hand.

The older routes are "fairly" solid, though the sound of rope-dislodged pebbles rattiling down is a bit nervy at the start, the climbing is either on the pebbles or using the holes they left, as you walk in you can look on the ground and guess which is more likely!

Apart from the tourist crap it´s an amazing place so worth going to just to see, the sport climbing down the road is reasonable Euro limestone so the trip isn´t wasted. The Vikos Gorge nearby is well worth seeing, claimed to be the deepest in the world based on depth to width.

Colonel Sandbag · · Boston, MA · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 30

Thanks for that reply, Jim. The more I look into this, the more it seems like it would be more fun to just go hang out in Kalymnos and get some beach time too.... :)

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,444

Well...I liked the climbing there...!

I think there's enough mix of sorta protectable stuff along with some of the sparsely bolted classics to make it worth taking climbing gear.  Its cobbles, like Maple, but, bolted on lead and very sparsely.  The rock on the well travelled classics seem fairly solid.

The scenery is eye poppin'.  We went over Greek Easter around 10 years ago.  It can rain (and did).  And, the climbing can be pretty spicy.  One thing I noted, was, if you were on a harder route, the crux might be tightly protected, but, the easier sections (and pitches) were way run out.  Best be modestly solid at your lead grade, IMHO.

Probably couldn't be more opposite from the climbing in Kalymnos.

Newer guidebook (2000) is an update to the 86 version.  I didn't find either book particularly useful, rather, on line info and Stewart Green's Europe guide were adequate for beta.

Be great to climb there again.  Wild place.  NOT sport climbing...

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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