Kalymnos 2011 - Trip Report 10 (Kalydna, Iannis & Spartacus)

Day seven of climbing. Perhaps the highlight day so far? I don't know, you be the judge. 

We started with a group vote on where we wanted to go for the final four climbing days of the trip. Plans were made, guidebooks were consulted, and dates were made with dogs that had been left behind at various cliffs to date.


If you were playing along at home you know we went to Kalydna on day two. You'll also know that Owen, Andy and Susy found a friend for life in the 30m Nickel which is a 7a+ pitch which builds and builds to a stunning climax right before the anchors. It was billed as the main event for today. Well, long story short, Owen did it as his warm up (yeah, he does that). Andy, straight up. Susy? Second shot. Thank you very much, let's retire to the gelateria for tasty treats and frappes. No? Okay, more climbing.

Andy starting up Nickel 7a+
Nickel don't know it yet, but Nickel goin' down.
Bo managed to cleanly toprope the tufa blob route of Kaly-Nikhla 6b on day two and was bang up for leading it, which she did, seemingly with no hassles. 

Bo dispatching Kaly-Nikhla 6b

Susy on Kaly-Nikhla 6b

Susy on Kaly-Nikhla 6b
Demanding something harder to play on, Owen and Andy led the technical wall route of Ixion 7a and Bo jumped on on lead! It was awesome, fully bouldering out the reachy cruxes, running out, taking whippers. On her second burn she went all the way to the anchors and had done all the moves. Very cool to see, and amazing for someone who was nervous on grade 5s only a week ago.

Bo loving life on Ixion 7a
Scoping out something else to do, I suggested Owen jump on the mega-pitch Aurora 45m 7b. It is monstrously long and starts out easy up a slab and gradually builds in steepness until it tips into overhung country at about the halfway point, and then you have about 20m of overhanging tufas to negotiate to get to the anchors, way up on a huge concave face. The crux is at the top when you're shagged. 

"How many draws?"
"Oh I dunno, take 25."

Owen high on Aurora 7b. Telephoto lens, yo.
Owen went great on his first shot, placing lots of extended trad draws and using Susy's 8.9mm rope ("Jezebel The Ranga Rope...a slim sultry redhead that handles well") to cut down on rope drag and weight. He was climbing super well, but missed a key foothold and blitzed off with his elbows above his ears about five metres from the anchors. 

He's off! You can see the anchors up there. Bloody close!
It can be a bit soul destroying falling off so high on such a mega onsight attempt. "It's such a big investment going again on a pitch like that!" he said. We were unsure what he'd do, but sure enough he lowered off and left the gear in as we clapped in approval down below. Lowering from the anchors on a 70m rope left him hanging, stranded about 20m off the ground, and this necessitated some handy slab climbing from Susy to get them both to an intermediate station conveniently placed about 10m off the deck, presumably for this very purpose.

The second shot on the monster, I am sad to report ended in a fall from the same place, just shy of the anchors. Oh well, can't win them all. It's the effort that counts, and that was a biiiiig effort. Project for next time OG?

The team was mostly cooked by this stage except for Susy who was keen to head around to Iannis for more...more...MORE!

There are two climbers in this picture.


Iannis is a small sector with about 10 worthy pitches. The one that grabbed Susy's attention was one of the vertical wall routes on the right side of the cave, the near 40m Sens Unique 7a. A technical and absorbing challenge. At one point on the vertical wall, I looked up to see both her feet slip off the holds at the same time. For some reason she didn't fall, reasserted, and kept climbing. She was completely in the zone! Soon came the seemingly inevitable clip of the anchors as the sun hit the wall, and Susy's best ever onsight, a 40m 7a/23/5.11d.

Upon lowering down I went over for obligatory USA-style congratulatory fist bump and got the low down. Out of her chalkbag came her "cliff notes" which were reminders of things to concentrate on which we had unearthed during one of our video analysis sessions (if you haven't watched a vid of yourself climb, do it!). They included a handful of points like...

  • Visually assess the hold options first - don't feel each one
  • Make a choice and go - don't hesitate!
  • Move dynamically and with confidence

Susy said this made a huge difference. Not only did it front-load her brain with the right kind of thoughts, having something technical to focus on actually removed some of the pressure over the possible outcome of the ascent. Hence, a more relaxed, yet focused climbing approach. And a personal best onsight!

We weren't the only ones buzzing.
What? Too much?


The ever popular Spartacus hosted our eighth day of climbing.

Andy, Susy and Owen got psyched on the bouldery, pocketed, short wall of Alexis Zorba which was always 7b and has been downgraded in the current guide, like most of the popular routes on the island it seems.

Susy on Alexis Zorba 7a+

Owen came away with the tick (nice!), Susy was too afraid that a fall at one point would end with her fingers remaining forever in a curious finger-locking pocket, and after working out all the moves, Andy ended up lying on a rock with stomach cramps. Bummer!


Susy had her eye on one of the crag classics Kerveros 7a since the first trip. It's a long, tufary (it's a word), pumpy beast which demands respect. She promptly tied on and went straight up the thing! She's on fire.

I racked up for a quick attempt on the short, pockety Magnetus 7c and then noticed that one fixed hanger on the route was no longer a fixed hanger and was now a missing hanger. So just a stud remained. Nuts coming loose and falling off is a problem with the tru-bolt style of bolts used on Kalymnos. It's rare to encounter a route which doesn't have at least one loose nut and hanger and climbers often have to do the nuts up with their fingers as they climb past.

Bolt type: Tru-bolt.
Problem: the nuts come loose over time and the hangers fall off.

Bolt type: 12mm Flushhead Dynabolt.
Why good? No problem with nuts loosening, and easier to replace. 

Anyway, because we're Australian, a removable bolt bracket is never far away and thanks to Bo we had a hanger we could use, and she even managed to find the nut on the ground beneath the route. So I managed to hang off a two finger pocket and do the re-assembly.

French crusher of the future Sasha resists my attempts for an autograph.

Bo managed a run up the 35m Le 13eme travail d' Hercules 6b+ before calling it quits and retiring back down the hill with Gutache Andy, so this gave me some time for an attempt on the epic Spartacus Maximus which takes the 25m 7b+ crag namesake Spartacus and stacks on a 20m extension to make a huge 45m pitch at the grade of ... still 7b+? Hmm! It was great having the draws on the whole way and I fought my way through for the redpoint/onsight/flash/whatever-you-want-to-call-it (I'd previously flashed Spartacus years ago but it was my first go on the extension). So I was mighty happy with that. Love the long pitches!

Spartacus 7b+, rockin the new b+n shirt.
Well that's about it for now. Two more climbing days, one final trip report coming your way. Soon my pretties, soon!

Sam and Owen chat on the way down to the gelateria :)