You thought the trip reports were over? Nah, couple more weeks yet! Please explain? So our first climbing camp finished up a few days ago, and with one day of rest (aka madly editing video until the wee hours -- coming soon), our second group flew in bright eyed and ready to hit the rock.
But first, some introductions. We have Ronsley and Lena, both fairly new to the climbing game, and on the other end of the spectrum is Dave Reeve, who at 60 was climbing well before I was born. Dave's recently ticked his hardest route ever (7b/25) and he and his wife Ruth are both Upskill Kalymnos alumni having joined us on our 2008 trip. Andy is our fifth member and has been climbing 10 years or more. So - quite the mixed bag!
Flying in early gave us time to settle in, and perfect weather lent itself to a swim. A nice way to start the holiday.
After a good night's sleep the crew awakened to another crystal clear day. The discussion topic over breakfast was goal setting for the trip and the difference between process and outcome focus in climbing. We then jumped in the car (and two on a scooter) and headed to the left slabs of Arhi.
There we got stuck into a few of the typical grey slabs to get used to proper footwork and to blow out the cobwebs and have a gradual warmup. Centauro 5c, Ercole 5c and Pares 6a were the routes of choice. The sun then pounced like a street cat avoiding a Fiat Panda, so we bailed to Summertime to beat the heat.
Lena tripled her lifetime lead tally (of 1) with leads of Dorian and July. Dave didn't remember the sequence on the tough Macabi 6b+, but had no problems with it at all (stronger this time from all the core work at Coolum!). Ronsley's effort went into a clean TR of the classic bucket route Ammochohostos Vaselivousa 6a. A top first day.
Our second day dawned a hot one too with bugger all on the Beaufort (translation: no wind), so we made what ended up being a great call and headed to Sybelgades Rocks. And it does! A compact gully with limestone that looks like...well...I'll show you:
Yes, like that. Cool huh? Ghoulish. So, the classic easy(ish) route to do here is Phineus 5c, which is just the most featured and yet least sharp rock you could wish to imagine. Features, all covered in features, with these covered in micro-pockets. Holds galore. Andy onsighted, Lena toproped, Ronsley did both, Ruth flashed it, it was all happening. Dave blitzed up the long and ongoing Climber's Nest 6a with it's cool top overhang, what's more so did Ruth (on lead no less) after an early struggle on toprope.
Andy fell off the final moves of the roof and tech arete Homo Sapiens 6c, but fired it second go after ticking a few hidden holds. Dave got inspired and cruised to two thirds height before taking quite a big, off-balance fall due to a sudden onset of pump and subsequent loss of tension through to the feet in a sketchy section. I gave him a nice soft catch and he's a-ok.
Andy sunk his teeth into the crag testpiece Ermix, a tough 7a. This route is great, because it has only one shake out point, then it's game on for about 4-5 bolts to the anchors. True test of power endurance. Also ideal for working on our redpointing tactics (ticking holds, re-working sequences, sequence memory, body positions and maximum efficiency movement). No tick, but big learning, which is what this whole thing is about.
Effort of the day though has to go to Ronsley. The route was Carlo Juliani 6a, a near vertical wall route. He was about halfway up when the pump set in. You could see the mental battle that was going on. He called for a take, but the belayer (I forget who that was) refused and everyone yelled encouragement. He pushed through, got the next good hold and was able to clip the next bolt, made it a handful more moves before throwing, not latching the hold, and taking the whip. He came off trying. Nice soft catch. Big thumbs up. [He blogged about the experience] When everything in your head is screaming at you to take the soft option and have a sit, or grab the draw - NOT doing that, and actually giving it 100% and battling on - that is climbing. That is mental toughness. This is what we need to train. And you train it by doing it. As much as you can. I felt a lot of pride today.