Friday, 11 May 2012

Escape to Kalymnos!

I've just got back from hiding away on the greek island of kalymnos for 3 weeks. It appears that half of the Bristol climbing scene had also been hiding on the same island to my surprise! After having an exciting time getting to the airport and nearly missing my flight, I managed to make it to the island with David Collom, who recently messaged me on for a climbing partner. Luckily he turned out to be a sound chap and we got to the crushing right away. I had a good first day, onsighting 3 7b's at kasteli. The next day we went to Irox at telendos with a large group with the seronade of Fat Freddy's drop under the sun on a sweet boat ride. I managed to almost flash Cuobo 7c, and got it second go.

 After the a good start, the weather decided to crap out with hurricane style winds and the heaviest rain I've ever seen! The pond between Kalymnos and Telendos turned into a Hawaii style big wave scene and we took refuge inside for a few days, running to the crags between the storms whenever possible. After the first week and a half, the weather started warming up and drying out. At first it was a decent 24C or so but everyday it was getting a lot hotter. By the last two weeks of the trip the temp was usually a minimum of 26 with the highest temp recorded at Babis bar of 33C!! Not exactly prime conditions. Despite this being a good excuse for me, Naomi had managed to have more success. She had been travelling for two months, with a month in Antalya, Turkey and then a month in Kalymnos. Before her trip she had only climbed 6c, and I knew she could climb much harder routes. I got her to try Dafni, 7b which she redpointed in two sessions! I then recommended Spartacus 7b+ which only took a couple of sessions as well. In all really impressive stuff, and great to see her motivation and determination! She's one to watch out for people! I've already pointed her in the direction of some good 7c's that she can easily do ;)

Not a snorkeling day..
For a few days I had been working on Daniboy 8a, after doing it in two links from the ground to the half way knee bar, and from there to the top I thought it was on! The knee bar is a no hands rest but as I started finding out on redpoints, it didnt fit my leg properly. Requiring me to cam my arm in to keep the leg in, which didn't help me recover at all! As a French climber pointed out, it's only a no hands rest if your leg is long enough. After getting frustrated climbing past the knee bar with no rest, I decided the route was going to have to wait until another trip when I'm fit enough to push on without it.

 I moved my focus onto Marci Marc, a beautiful 7c+ coming right out of the heart of the main cave at Odyssey. The route is 35m long, probably 25 degrees overhanging and pure endurance! It starts with a v4/5 boulder which doesn't add much to the grade as there is a good hands off rest straight after. It then continues up the heart of the cave as a 7c route on reasonable holds until you get to the last set of 3 moves, probably around v4 again, with little rest before it, with big slappy moves off soapy small crimps with massively pumped forearms. (mine were anyway!) In the end I spent a few days on the route, but no cigar. On my last attempt I held the last sloper, and my heel popped a moment later just after I thought I had done it. A lesson learnt to keep concentration! This is one I'll have to finish next time as well!

Not the most productive trip for hard routes for me, but the conditions were really bad which is a good excuse right?! With redpoints usually being made in 28C (shade) heat and tufa blobs having similar consistency to butter! The last few days were good, onsighting some 7a+ and 7b's which for me is an achievement as my onsighting usually isn't that good relatively. Before the trip I had a phobia of 7a+ as I usually fall off them, but I tend to onsight every 7a and most 7b's. Luckly I managed a lot of 7a+ onsights too which is a good mental thing for myself. Tomar did well redpointing a handful of 7b/+'s and Jay did really well onsighting 7b and climbing many more mid 7's very quickly.

A lot of the trip was spent at Babis' bar, with lots of swimming pool antics. It was lush getting a load of sun, and I've now changed colour to a glowing orange with most people probably thinking I've spent a month on a tanning bed in Bristol no doubt. It was a great trip, with loads of fun memories thanks to the entire Bristol crew, Seb, Jochen our german friend, Zach/Sean/Shelby the Americans, Jay and David etc!
Lobbing Steve 
Shelby doing her silk trapeze

For more photos from the trip, have a look on my FLICKR. Luckly I pulled my finger out this trip with the photo's so there are actually some gems in there.

I might return later in the year to clean up some routes, and as always there was so much left to try, I don't think any amount of time is long enough on the Island. It's a really enticing place to climb. The weather is usually really good, the beach is right there, the crags are mostly very near by, the food is cheap, the people are friendly and the climbing is ridiculous in nature with huge holds, which often turn into caving more than climbing!

I'll post more blog posts soon, as always I become out of touch with blogging. I hope theres some people out there reading this stuff! I'll leave a video of Marci Marc, by Robbie Phillips. The move I came off  3 times was literally the last move in the video before it fades out...

How can 3 and a half weeks go so fast..
I'll be back!!
Time for some fun in the English sun????! I'll be around all summer now for bolt clipping. Give me a call people!