Rock climbing in Kalymnos,
Rock climbing in Kalymnos - Greece (© A. Gatta)
Introduction to Kalymnos
is probably one of the best climbing places on the planet.
With 1,700 routes spread out in 65 sectors, the sun, the scenery and the relatively cheap cost of a trip there, you can understand why it is a climber's paradise.
Anna in Sikati Cave (© J. Novak)
is a Greek
island in the Aegean Sea
belonging to the Dodecanese
(12 largest Greek islands of Aegean Sea
It is located 12 km North of the Kos
Map of Kalymnos
Masouri, Kalymnos (© A. Gatta)
Kalymnos (© A. Gatta)
The best option is to fly to Kos
, take a taxi to Mastichari port
(10 minutes) and then take a boat to Kalymnos
The transfer from Mastichari port
(Kalymnos) takes 30 minutes to one hour depending on the type of boat.
take a taxi to Masouri
(30 minutes) which one of the best places to stay.
Once in Masouri
, the most convinient - and the funnier - is to rent a scooter.
Spartacus sector, Kalymnos (© P. Gatta)
Weather and best season
The best climbing season is autumn when the weather is often good and the average temperatures are between 24°C (Sep) and 16° (Nov). It is also the busiest months.
The second best choice is probably spring where the temperatures vary between 13° and 20° but the chance of rain is a bit higher and some routes may still be seeping.
Winter is much cooler, 11 to 13° and rainier. Lastly, the summer is hot, 24 to 27° but the northerly breeze can keep some sectors relatively cool.
No matter the season, it is almost always possible to play around with the cliff orientation, sun exposure and wind to find a sector suitable for climbing.
We have been there from end of October to mid-November, the temperatures were pleasant, sometimes a bit hot and we had 4-5 days of rain.
View over Telendos island from Masouri (© P. Gatta)
Rock Climbing Guidebook by Aris Theodoropoulos
is excellent and very well done.
Check out climbkalymnos.com for latest updates and information.
Kalymnos guidebook (© A. Gatta)
The different sectors
There are 65 different sectors, around 1,700 routes and these numbers keep growing.
Rather than trying to list all sectors, we share below a selection of routes and some comments of the following sectors:
, Grande Grotta
, Jurassic Park
, Sikati cave
and Secret Garden
Philippe on-sight in Fun de Chichunne, 8a, Grande Grotta (© A. Gatta)
is a really charismatic sector and pictures from this huge cave have been seen all over the world.
The cave is 50 meters high and its roof covered with massive tuffas, blobs and stalactites.
Climbing there is definitively a unique 3D experience.
The routes are very long, 30 to 60 meters and because of the numerous no hand rest, each climb takes forever.
There are only 20 routes in the cave but that is way enough to get a massive dose of lactic acid.
Lost if the tuffas of Grande Grotta (© P. Gatta)
The approach is short, 15-20 minutes walk from Masouri
The trail starts close to the Hotel Philoxenia
The cave is facing Southwest and most routes are sheltered from the rain.
The flip side is that the cave is often crowded.
Grande Grotta (© P. Gatta)
The routes we climbed in Grande Grotta
Monahiki Elia, 6a+, **: one of the easiest routes in the right side of the cave. A bit polished but good for warm-up.
Taz, 6c, **: good warm-up.
Trela, 7a, *: a nice route but needs to be rebolted.
DNA, 7a, ***: Super classic, steep and nice route.
Elefantenhimmel, 7a, ***: doesn't look so nice from the ground but actually fun.
Ivi, 7a+, ***: powerful and fun, similar to DNA.
Aphrodite, 7a+, **: unusual for the cave; short and bouldery.
Aegialis, 7c, **: nice but hard for the grade.
Priapos, 7c, ***: you can't go to Kalymnos without trying this route. Perfect for on-sight but be prepared for a long fight...
Fun de Chichunne, 8a, ***: Same as Priapos but in 8a. 40 meters, 28 quickdraws and around 50 minutes of climb, a route that you won't forget.
Grande Grotta, Telendous island on the left (© A. Gatta)
is a very nice sector just 10 minutes further than Grande Grotta
There are 26 routes there from 18 to 45 meters, in different styles, from technical slabs to steep and powerful climb.
The sector is in the shade in the morning and can get very crowded.
Approach: from Masouri
follow Grande Grotta
then follow a trail to the left pass the sectors of Afternoon
and Spartan wall
to reach Spartacus
Around 25 minutes walk from Masouri
Spartacus sector (© P. Gatta)
The routes we climbed in Spartacus
Ziegen Peter, 6a+, *: technical slab on the left of the wall.
Astree, 6b, **: a nice extension of Ziegen Peter.
Harakiri, 6b+, ***: a classic and thus polished route.
Les Amazones, 6c, ***: another nice polished route.
Mon Batchounou..., 7a, ***: forget the name but try the route.
Kerveros, 7a, ***: very nice.
Gladiator, 7b, *: bouldery and unpleasant start, the second part is better.
Spartacus, 7b+, ***: great route, nice start to the crux where "riding" the tuffa may help.
Tzatziki vikki, 7b+, *: extension of Harakiri. A couple of powerful moves on pockets.
Danyboy, 8a, ***: amazing climb: overhang, tuffa, pockets... a bit of everything.
is a small sector with only 20 routes, many are really good and well worth a few visits.
The left wall
gets sun in the morning while the right wall
remain in the shade a few hours longer.
It is a warm place and best when it is a bit windy.
The left wall
is steep and technical, with crimps and huecos.
The right wall
is mostly a cave, the routes are often bouldery, overhanging and long.
Approach: same as Spartacus
, then continues the trail up, pass a gate and follow the paint on the rock.
Around 50 minutes walk from Masouri
Sunset on Telendos (© P. Gatta)
The routes we climbed in Jurassic Park
Pterodactyl, 6b+, **: big pockets.
Fossil Wall, 6c, ***: nice.
Pegasus, 6c+/7a, ***: from jug to crimps, technical and very good route.
Cesta, 7a+, **: new route left of Houftasaurus. Nice first half.
Houftasaurus, 7b, ***: the route is much nicer than it looks. Jugs feast in a physical wall.
Paleolithic line, 7b+, ***: one of the best routes in this grade. A pumpy start followed by powerful moves will test your endurance.
Kalinycta mer, 7b+, *: bouldery and reachy.
Carnivore, 7c, *: bouldery, hard on-sight.
Nicola la tigre, 7c, **: the crux is short and powerful. Hard on-sight.
Rendez with Platon, 8b, **: bouldery/dyno crux and powerful moves.
Panorama is the large cliff, right of Grande Grotta
There are 3 sectors Panorama
left, center and right for a total of 50 routes.
The route length varies from 15 to 60 meters with a great variety of styles : boulder, endurance, technical, powerful, tuffas, etc.
We have not climbed much there so our selection below is quite short.
Approach: same as Grande Grotta
, cross the cave to right where the Panorama
Around 25 minutes walk from Masouri
Right of Grande Grotta and left wall of Panorama (© P. Gatta)
The routes we climbed in Panorama
Carpediem, 6b, ***: nice but polished.
Panselinos, 6b+, ***: good route.
Joggel & Toggel, 6c+, **: powerful start.
Cigarillo, 7a, **: tuffa riding.
Super Carpediem, 7b+, ***: be prepared for a 40 meters climb with a perfect seat.
So many more...
is recent sector that became so popular that many routes are already polished before even being in the guidebook.
There are around 50 routes from 15 to 40 meters with again a lot of variety.
To be honest I heard so much about Secret Garden
before going there that I got somewhat disappointed.
I found the routes very polished, the cliff is very busy and the rock is quite fragile.
Netherless, Secret Garden
is worth a day or two but come early.
Approach: see the detailed approach on the guidebook. Count around 30 minutes with scooter from Masouri plus 25 minutes walk.
Secret Garden (© A. Gatta)
The routes we climbed in Secret Garden
Frapogalo, 6c, **: nice climb on tuffas, would be *** if the route was less polished.
Melodrama, 6c+, **: same as above.
Crisis, 7a, **
Sam suffit, 7a, *: bouldery start.
Tricky Katie, 7a+, *: sloopy and polished.
Baglamas, 7a+, *: no pleasure.
Pomponpidoux, 7b, ***: the best we climbed there.
Dirlanda, 7b+, *: broken tuffa makes the start very bouldery.
Chien jaune, 7b+, *
Galatiani - Calcite Cave
is another nice small sector of Kalymnos
The Calcite cave
has 27 routes, mostly steep, long filled up with tuffas and stalactites.
The 8's are very long and require a lot of endurance.
The cave is facing South and can be very warm except on breezy day.
Trying to read the route, Galatiani (© A. Gatta)
Approach: see the detailed approach in the guidebook. Count around 20 minutes in scooter and 40 minutes walk.
The Calcite Cave of Galatiani is in the upper center of the photo (© P. Gatta)
The routes we climbed in Galatiani
B2, 6a+, **: a slab.
Vagi, 6c, *: technical slab, a dirty wall and a weird finish.
Fuerdom, 7a, ***: technical start and overhanging finish, nice. The extension is 8a+.
K44, 7a, ***: nice route.
Nymfi, 7b, **: a reachy move.
Calcite star, 7b, ***: very nice route, easier for tall people.
Kroterih, 7b, ***: technical tuffa riding.
Debout les morts, 8a, **: very hard start or did I miss something?
The cave of Galatiani. Debout les morts, 8a is just left of the black stain (© P. Gatta)
is, in our opinion, by far the most amazing sector of Kalymnos
This is not just another cave, it is special.
In fact, it is a massive hole in the ground - 50 meters of diameter and 70 meters high - like if a comet had crashed there.
The atmosphere is unique, especially early in the morning when nobody is there and we just hear the birds.
The climbers (at the bottom in blue) gives the scale of the Sikati cave (© A. Gatta)
What about the routes then?
Well, they are long, overhanging, full of tuffas, blobs and stalactites.
There are 33 routes, many of world class, which is enough for a few days.
Anna on-sighting Mort aux chevres (7b) in Sikati cave (© J. Novak)
Approach: see the detailed approach on the guidebook. Count around 25 minutes with scooter from Masouri and 40 minutes walk.
The "big hole" in the ground is Sikati cave (© A. Gatta)
The routes we climbed in Sikati cave
El Choco loco, 6b+, ***: nicer than it looks.
El chupodromo, 6c+, ***: nice too.
Mort aux chevres, 7b, ***: fantastic. See the photo on top this page.
Ou est l'equipe, 7b, ***: nice route with a bouldery move.
Laurent.. Y a quelqu'un, 7c, ***: 38 meters of pleasure.
Adam, 7c+, ***: 7b+ to the first anchor but keep going, it's so good.
and many more...
Philippe on-sighting Adam, 7c+. Sikati cave (© J. Novak)
Arhi - Troulos
was the first sector of Kalymnos
and with over 90 routes one of the largest on the island.
There are all types of climbing, grades and lengths.
Combine that with a short approach a South exposure and great view over the sea and you will understand why it is often crowed and the routes polished.
We only climbed a half day in the Troulos cave
and left at noon in a desperate search of shade.
The sectors of Arhi: Far left, Left, Troulos, Chapi, Right and Balcony Helvetia (© P. Gatta)
Approach: around 15 minutes with scooter from Masouri
and 10 minutes walk, more for the upper sectors.
The sector of Arhi - Troulos (© P. Gatta)
The routes we climbed in Arhi - Troulos
We basically fried before the end of the warm-up so the list is short: Thetis (6b), Il pittore (6b+), Kastor (7a), they are all nice.
Sectors between Skalia and Arginonta: Ghost Kitchen, Cave, Galatiani, Black Forest, Noufaro, Belgian chocolates, Arhi and Sea Breeze (© P. Gatta)
is another amazing sector of Kalymnos
There 80+ routes, different style, all grades, perfect rock, short approach...
We can't ask for more.
Odyssey sectors: Feta Wall, Orion Wall, Marci Marc Cave, Imia Wall, Itaca Wall and Atena Wall (© P. Gatta)
Approach: around 5 minutes with scooter from Masouri
and less than 10 minutes walk.
Anna in Island in the sun, 7a+, Odyssey (© L. Nilan)
The routes we climbed in Odyssey
We climbed Odyssey - Imia Wall
only for a few hours so unfortunately we have a short list of suggestions.
We enjoyed the routes Imia Wall
as they are very differents from the other sectors.
No knee-bars and endless rests, here the routes are shorter and powerful.
Fouska, 7a, ***: short, powerful and fun.
Island in the sun (Feta Wall), 7a+, ***: nice.
Alfredo alfredo, 7b+, ***: power endurance route requiring quick decisions.
Polifemo, 7c, ***: power endurance at the begining, technical at the end. Easier for tall people.
and many more...
Odyssey (© P. Gatta)
We climbed 55 routes over a two weeks trip, roughly 3% of the routes in Kalymnos!
The potential is massive, the quality and variety of the routes is exceptional, the access, villages, people is amazing too.
Kalymnos reputation is well deserved and we definitely have to go back.
Scooter master or climbing master? Anna on the way back from Arhi (© P. Gatta)