Kalymnos 2008 - Trip Report 4

It's been a ripper coupla days. Best of the trip so far I think in terms of adventure, scenery and achievement.

Three days ago was a rest day when we decided to explore two of the island's speleological wonders. The first was Skalia Cave which we entered through a small hole and a series of ladders which eventually opened out into a huge ballroom which our headtorches couldn't reach across.

Ruth inside the ballroom of Skalia Cave - amazing formations! (c) L Cujes 2008

The next stop on the so called rest day was the unbelievable Sikati Cave, which is one of the most unique climbing locations on the planet. We began the one hour walk in at 3:00pm which was ambitious, but we were just keen to see it. Neither words nor pictures really do it justice. Imagine an enormous sinkhole, 100m deep, overhanging walls, covered in stalactites and tufas. We're talking single pitch routes are 80m long. My rope isn't even that long! Forget lowering off! It seriously felt like being on another planet. I was lucky enough to borrow some gear from some climbers in there and do a long, steep runout 7a called Lolita. Amazing stuff.

Ruth approaches Sikati Cave (c) D Reeve 2008

Lee on Lolita in Sikati Cave 7a (c) S Goldner 2008

The next day was our wedding anniversary. Where better to celebrate than the Grande Grotta, the most famous crag on Kalymnos? Susy had been psyching up for the cover-route Trella which is 35-40m of severely overhanging craziness at the grade of 7a or 23. The grade has gone up a notch since last year when someone fell and took a giant stalactite with them. She put in an absolute mega prizefight on the onsight, and took a slip high on the route and flipped upside down with the rope behind her leg. Oh no! you're thinking! Hey, neoprene kneebar pads - no problem!

Susy on Trella 7a (c) L Cujes 2008

Another highlight was Priapos. I had been psyching myself up for this route all trip, and warmed up well in the shade in the morning, and when I was ready to go, a French dude started up on it about 45 minutes before the route was going to go into the sun. And he took AGES on it. Now, I don't do sun. But I was too psyched and had to try anyway, so I sweated my butt off the whole way up and somehow managed my first 7c or 27 onsight. You can't compare this route to anything else anywhere really. It's not like regular climbing, more like a weird form of caving. Check the picture.

Lee hanging around on Priapos 7c (c) D Reeve 2008

Yesterday we had a real adventure with our expedition via boat across to the island of Telendos. We checked out three different sectors and were delighted to find some really different rock compared to Kalymnos. Really varied. At Irox Sector, Ruth & Dave dominated, doing about seven routes up to 6b+, an onsight spree. I was very happy to tick an uber-classic at Pescatore Sector called Amores Perros 7c+. The guidebook describes this as "one of the best in Kalymnos" and I concur - it was super and fit my preferred style perfectly. Gently overhung with small tufas leads into a smooth blank face of marble with compression edges to a super dyno, then more tufa action culminating in a super delicate tufa climb which feels like climbing a palm tree cut lengthwise and glued to a smooth wall. I fell off the very top of the palm tree on my second try. Amazingly I had enough energy to come away with the tick on the third try at the end of the day.

Today was a rest day, and we partook of a yoga session thanks to Cat, an aussie instructor who is here climbing with her husband Ben Hargreaves. Me? Yoga? What's going on!