Travel Journal

A declaration of love

(Friday 21 February 2014) by Mariken
The important aspects of life...
The important aspects of life...
You have been warned: this post will be a declaration of love. I know it, Valentine's Day is long over, but then I am declaring my everlasting love not to a human being (I already did that long ago :-D), but to the island of Kalymnos, paradise on earth for rock climbers. No cheesy cooing though on our travelogue, but a sincere description of all the good things Kalymnos has to offer.

First of all: the weather. Of course it rains here. Sometimes. One day every two weeks or so. On exactly the moment you need a rest day anyhow, because otherwise your skin will stay on the rock forever. It is mid-February, generally the coldest month of the year (with January, and yes, obviously I am talking about the northern hemisphere here), and I am climbing in a singlet. We even need sunblock. Seriously, sun traps have never been so good as on Kalymnos in February.

Secondly, accommodation. Every two houses in three in Masouri offers self-catering accommodation. To say that there is a lot of choice is a gross understatement. Because of the huge offer, prices are really competitive. We pay for a self-catering studio what we would pay for a basic camping municipale in France. Imagine. And gone are the days of 2 kilo's of meat for dinner, I can finally cook our own meals again!

Thirdly, climbing facilities. Two climbing stores less than 1 km from each other. Clear markers to guide you to the climbing sectors. Supervised crags and a climbing guide book that is available everywhere. Discounts for climbers in restaurants. Wow, climbers are actually welcome here, a very different feeling from Buoux.

But most importantly: THE CRAGS! I thought El Chorro was amazing, but Kalymnos beats everything. Beautiful rock, excellent bolting (yep, I am the scary type, I really like a bolt every two metres!), more than 1700 routes over more than 64 crags, very diverse types of climbing (slab, overhang, vertical walls, ledges, pockets, tufas, you name it), sun or shadow, depending on your preferences. It is simply brilliant climbing here.

Sunset over Telendos
Sunset over Telendos
And it pays of. Big time. After a summer of climbing in France my nerves were seriously toast. I know a lead fall is nothing to worry about, providing that the bolting has been done correctly (which unfortunately is not always the case. Saffres, anyone?). Doesn't mean I like it, which seriously hinders me in even trying to climb more difficult routes. Here on Kalymnos however, onsighting a 6a starts to become a habit actually. For those who do not know anything about climbing grades: you start to 'count' in the climbers world when you send a 7a (we are talking about French grades here). Fours and fives are for beginners, sixes are for experienced beginners or sissies like us who do not dare to try harder. Hardest climb ever is a 9b+, which has only been achieved by two climbers world wide (as far as I know). My max ever climbed is a 6b+. So, a 6a is really nothing to brag about, but I am nevertheless very happy that I am able to climb them so easily here, after a summer of blundering in scary fives.

So, Kalymnos. My new favourite place on earth. When it comes to climbers I am probably preaching to the choir, but I think it can not hurt to repeat it again and again: Kalymnos is the place to be! <3

  • Enjoy! by Marije
  • Enthousiast by Jac
  • Time for a tea break?! by Marike
  • Paradijsje by Aafke


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