After spending our rest day on a caving adventure, including accessing a supposedly closed cave via a squeeze attempted by only three of seven team members, it was GAME ON for a day of rematches at the crag we'd all like to have in our backyard - Odyssey.
It always seems to be cold when we rock up, so warming up well and staying warm while on belay is the challenge. Glenn, who has struggled with the cold rock during the warm up's at Odyssey fell off his 6a+ warm up Femio as he had done the previous day, but managed to pull off the redpoint today :) Once warm, he went on to onsight the classic 6b+ Atena. Sheree showed cold was no issue for her with a flash of Atena on top rope.
Owen had a score to settle with his redpoint project Amphora 7b. This pumpy route worked his weaknesses (power endurance) nicely, so was the perfect holiday project. Matt decided to try it with him which was great, as they were able to share beta and get psyched on it together. On his first burn, he fell on the low crux and so did the smart thing, and went bolt to bolt, remembering and solidifying the moves without wasting undue energy. Too many people make the mistake of trying to minimise falls on the route on redpoint day once they've fallen low. No point! Decide if you're training or sending. If you're in sending mode - don't waste any energy!
Matt then had a burn and flashed through the low crux only to pump off up high. That was enough encouragement for Owen who sent it next shot. It was still a good fight though, right through to the super quick anchor clip. Matt rode the wave of sendage and finished it on his second try ("It's so pumpy, there's no kneebars!"). For the tradster Owen, this two day, fifth shot send of a 7b/25 is the longest time he's spent on a route, and his hardest send to date! Imagine what he could climb if he really sunk his teeth into the redpointing game (and we were able to keep him away from his other great loves, football and cricket).
Susy G, still exhausted from her triumphant prize fight of two days ago decided to revist an old dog from the 2008 camp - Itaca 6c+. The route doesn't look much with its slabby start, but it quickly rears into a really steep headwall on mostly big pockets. Notice I say mostly, because there are a couple of brick moves for 6c+. She threw four solid burns into it today and came off the final hard move. A bit of a heartbreaker for sure, but the best thing? She came off trying! Big thumbs up G-Star.
Glenn had buggered his leg muscles a bit in that fall off Trella the other day. So it was props when he decided that - yep - back on the hardest route he's tried - Dafni 7b. Couple of burns and a new highpoint. And here's where I can point out a difference between average climbers and elite climbers. Average climbers who are outcome focussed would see Glenn's effort as a failure (no tick) and hence avoid putting themselves in that situation by trying a hard route. Elite climbers who are process focussed would view Glenn's effort as a breakthrough, and fantastic for both physical and mental training. To really progress, you must learn to love the so called failures. The more "failing" you do, the stronger you get and the more you learn.
The final day of climbing dawned all too soon, and it was the special crag Sybelgades Rocks which played host to a crew with enthusiastic minds, and somewhat war-weary bodies. The drive there is an adventure in itself, but the mighty Matiz made it (most of the way) there in fine style and with limited screaming from the passengers. There's nothing over 7a at the crag, but the routes that are there are of amazing quality, on fluted limestone - very different for Kalymnos. Phineas 5c (pictured below with Glenn leading) would have to be one of the best easy routes on the island. Everyone in the team led it.
I warmed up on the musical 7a Ermix and fell four bolts when a tiny flake I was holding decided to let go while I was clipping (thankfully at my waist). That was funny and unexpected. Sam guided the crew up one of her fave routes on the island, Climbers Nest 6a. Super juggy up slabs and past caves with a final overhang section for spice. We finally all got to see what Sheree was capable of when we suggested she have a top rope on the hardest route at the crag - Ermix 7a. I'd fallen off it, the boys had fallen on it, but (not knowing the grade) she wasn't phased. And on her first try she damn near did it - coming off up high on the crux, a couple of moves from easy ground. It was not far off. She rated it her route of the trip.
I'd taken half the team home while Matt and Susy continued their ticking rampage. I came back to collect them bearing coffees, and promptly fell asleep at the cliff waiting for them to finish up. On our arrival back down at the car I discovered I'd lost the car keys. Noooooo! Back up to the crag for me. Thankfully found them where I'd been lying. Whew.
That night was an extra special final meal at Rita's, and games of Connect 4 and Backgammon at Fatolitis while we swapped stories and the group reflected on great climbs and great experiences shared. Will these guys be back in Kalymnos? I think it's only a question of whether it'll be in 2011 or 2012 :)
Thanks for following our adventures.
Upskill Kalymnos 2010 Climbing Camp #1 (L-R): Lee, Matt, Sam, Sheree, Glenn, Owen, Susy
Stay tuned on the Upskill blog as another five contenders join us shortly to write their own Kalymnos chapters.