Kalymnos 2011 - Trip Report 4 (Grande Grotta and Arhi)

Hey y'all!

Let's get into the pics. Day five of climbing was in the mighty Grande Grotta and surrounds. This massive cave is the most famous sector on the island.

Kurt's been experimenting with the GoPro capturing footage while climbing. I've often thought of headcam shots as "vomit footage" because the camera is swinging around wildly, but he's captured a few cool short grabs which I will certainly try to get into the trip video.
This is a newish route in the Grande Grotta called Happy Girlfriend. It finishes just a bit above where Kurt is now and at 5c+, gives you a taste of what climbing in the Gee-Gee is all about, without the back scratches and stalactite-spooge stains.

Luke finishing off Happy Girlfriend.

Yep, that's chalk all over that stalactite blob. A helmet wouldn't be much use if this came down on you.

Sharma screaming effort on Monahiki Elia 6a+ = exhaustion. Top job Lewis.

This was the route! Not far from this point, Dave had a foot blow off a polished edge. Small mistake, controlled fall. The problem was one hand refused to let go, and he strained his rotator cuff (shoulder ouchy!). Damn it! Nobody did anything wrong, it was just one of those unfortunate things that can happen in climbing. With four climbing days remaining, Dave remains in good spirits and we have established a new challenge for him: 6a on toprope with one arm only. Good footwork is going to be imperative!

Bye Bye Doc 6c is a tech slab challenge on Afternoon sector. Our team went bloody well on this I thought. Onsights and flashes all round. Here's Luke with the onsight.

With Dave out, Ruth stepped up, dispatching the nemesis route Jana's Kitchen 6b on lead. Her best lead.

Kurt tic tacking through the flash of Bye Bye Doc 6c

This was Ruth's best day yet, and here she is on her pick of 'route of the day', Monahiki Elia 6a+. Cleanly redpointed. Check the foot wrap!

Day highlights:
  • Lewis flashing Monahiki Elia 6a+, in which the last 15 moves were individual epic battles of their own.
  • Ruth's headspace. A switch has been flicked! Redpointed Monahiki Elia 6a+ and personal best lead of Jana's Kitchen 6b.
  • John doing Bye Bye Doc 6c first try while feeling ill
  • The brothers smacking down the burly tufa climb Taz 6c
  • Me getting a quick onsight in of the freshly rebolted Beta 7b+
  • Watching the Townsville lads try to good-naturedly wrestle Citronella the goat, Afternoon sector's default mascot.

Day six we piled into the car and headed to Arhi. This area was the first sector developed on the island and while always popular, is currently seeing somewhat of a renaissance with a stack of new futuristic projects being bolted through the main cave by local guide Simon Montmory.


Lewis testing his shoes. This was a pretty nails 6a+ called Dedalo. Some of the slabs can be crazy technical. This went down second try.

I was lucky with this capture.

I like this shot. Mostly because it is near impossible to photograph this slab without 20 other climbers all over it. This is Luke onsighting Orione 6a.
The new guidebook is great. Well worth getting.

John put in three solid burns on the overhung blobfest that is Kastor 7a. The tick remained elusive, but Luke swept in to pick up the scraps. First 7a, and a great route at that. Thank you very much.

What to do with a few sunny hours in the afternoon? Why, anchor setups, vertical rescue and hauling systems of course! Here, John shows us a very elegant anchor setup. I learnt some handy new tricks too. Always learning and improving.

Seeing what NOT to do and the failure modes is always interesting. Demoing how a munter hitch can undo the bezel of a screwgate and fail.
 It's not sport climbing, but skills are skills! The bigger your bag of tricks, the more chance you're going to be able to get out of that sticky situation.

Yeah. This is how we do it. I am trying to negotiate to get the PLAZA in the pool swapped for UPSKILL.
Day highlights:
  • Lewis fighting his way to the top of Kalymnos' most popular 6b, Thetis. It's a mega stemfest against one of the biggest tufas you'll ever see.
  • John picking Kastor 7a as his project and giving it such great shots
  • Luke's redpoint of Kastor (a personal best)
  • Kurt's near onsight of the technical gritstone-like route Mofeta 6c+, and follow up redpoint (a personal best as well)
  • The team dragging all our packs, me and a couch along the PLAZA patio using a 5:1 hauling system