dimanche 26 août 2018

Greece is the word!

I've got very mixed feelings about writing this blog. Why? Because we had such a wonderful time in Greece. We virtually had the cliffs to ourselves, the weather was perfect for climbing in summer and it was magical to see more of this really beautiful country. We made several new friends with local climbers and eating out was always cheap and a real pleasure to eat fresh local produce. So you see, it would be a shame if I were to be responsible for spreading the word (that Greece is an awesome place to climb in summer) and the crags being busy in the future.

Of course it was hot, so if you can't put up with the heat don't go in summer. But who can't resist going when the climbing looks like this?

We took the ferry from Ancona to Patras again and returned via Igoumenitsa to Bari. We also met up with my college mate, Chris Aylmer, again. After a meal in Sivota, on the island of Lefkada, we spent the night in luxury on his catamaran. Next day he took us for a jolly trip to a lovely secluded bay to do some snorkeling. Erm, sorry Chris, not really our thing but thanks for the chance anyway!!

We climbed at (in order):
Leonidio: Elona (perfect until 3pm), Nifada (perfect until 5pm), Maison des Chevres (way too hot and very small) and Twin Caves (perfect after 2pm).
Vlychada (perfect all day).
Kyparissi: Watermill (hot but ok after 2pm), Kastraki (perfect until 1pm) and Kapsala (hot but ok after 11am).
Lagada: Splithari/Riverside (perfect until 4pm), Aloni (perfect 1pm) and Petsanes Cave (perfect after 2pm).
Nedousa: Tzerani (perfect after 5pm) and Riza (perfect until 2pm).
Pyli Little Gorge (perfect all day with some sun from 2pm until 5pm).
Emin Aga Cave (perfect all day).

Climbing highlights were:
Goliath (7c+) 2nd go.
Bonobo (7b+) on-sight.
Mr Magoo (7c) 2nd go.
Tufa Tango (7b) on-sight.
Jerome the Gangster (7c+) 2nd go.
This is Sparta (7c) 2nd go.
Herouveim (8a) almost 2nd go but eventually the next day.
Amaryllis (8a) 2nd go.
Antixeiras (7c) 2nd go.
Schweinstaiger Ext (7b+) on-sight.
Los Colonettarios (7c+) in the rain and just before it poured down.
Road to Hell (7b+) on-sight.
Anaconda (7c+) 2nd red-point.
Bushido (7c+) 2nd go.
Dizzy Dolls (7b+/7c) on-sight.
Assassinos (8a) 2nd go.
Big Machine (7b) on-sight.
Emin Aga (7b+) on-sight.
Rue de la Vista (7c) on-sight.
White Snake (7c) 2nd go.
Planet Caravan (7c+) 2nd go.

All these cliffs are in "Greece Sport Climbing: The Best Of 2017 Edition" by Aris Theodoropoulos.

We're already missing Greece but we're planning on returning next summer.

Special thanks to Aristos Thanopoulos, Artemis Kloni and Christos Tsourvakas for help with beta and local information. See you again next year!
Camping Semeli in Placa (Leonidio)

Ruff looking quizical en route to Twin Caves.

Nobody except us at Twin Caves, amazing!

Crag with a view.

My gals looking cool.


Only the best quick draws for us of course.

Mr Magoo at Twin Caves, 7c.

Arriving at Vlycada, beautiful isn't it?

Not our photo but it shows the scene nicely.

Nobody else there to take a photo on Tufa Tango, 7b, at Vlychada.

Perfect place to sleep on the beach just below the crag.

Upper Kastraki.

View back towards Kyparissi en route to Kapsala.

Babala, for another trip, later with Eddie.

Perfect camping spot at Lagada.

Lots of sticks to keep Ruff happy.

Near the top of the classic warm up at Splithari/Riverside, Fotismeno Aloni, 6b, 35m long.

The view from Petsanes Cave at Lagada, with sector Aloni on the right.

The stunning Petsanes Cave. Routes marked (L to R); This is Sparta (7c), Amaryllis(8a) and Herouveim(8a).

Very friendly local climber on the tough classic Apse-Svise, 6b+, at Aloni.

Starting up the tufas on This is Sparta, 7c.

Near the top of This is Sparta.

2 photos that Elaine took of Aristos Thanopoulos on a new route called Fu Manchu, 8a.

Fantastic camping about 15km from Nedousa.

Looking up the beautiful tufas of Los Colonettarios at Nedousa, 7c+.

Driving across the bridge leaving Pelopennese.

Chris Aylmer and his lovely catamaran, Alexandria II.

The classic Anaconda (7c+) at Pyli. Photo by Artemis Kloni.

Stones that move? What's going on?
Pyli Little Gorge. Tufa paradise. Not our photo though.

Elaine (above) and Artemis Kloni (below) leading the classic Road to Hell, 6a+.

Elaine climbing the first part of IRA, 6b+.

Nice waterfall with very cold water.

The upper section of IRA, 7a+.

Local climber on Mentore, 7b.

Not our photo but a good one to show Christos Tsourvakas in action on Anaconda, 7c+.

2 shots of a local climber on the lower section of Bushido, 7c+.

Trying Super Highball, 8a+. One to go back for.

Meteora isn't far from Pyli, though we didn't climb.

Route info for Emin Aga Cave which was equipped in 2013.

The right side of Emin Aga, showing the line of the classic White Snake, 7c.

Another crag, another nest dug in the soil by Ruff. Voila!