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Friday, February 21, 2014

Climbing the rocks of Kalymnos

Once famous for its trade in sea sponges, today Kalymnos is known as one of the very best rock climbing spots in the world. The colorful island lies about 340 km southeast of Athens and 150 km northwest of Rodos. Its rocky landscape has made it ideal for rock climbing. 

The activity took off in the mid to late nineties only and since then has positioned the idyllic island as a prime year-round climbing destination. Every couple of years the Climbing Festival of Kalymnos attracts over a hundred climbers from all over the world.

While January and February are the coldest months in Greece, there are more sunny days than rainy days and the climbing never stops in winter, thanks to the mild Mediterranean weather. The high-quality limestone is great for climbing, so is the variety of rock, slabs, crags and overhangs. There are over 60 crags facing west and south with around 1700 climbing routs from levels F4a to F9a on the French system, with a few even above that for the more ambitious climbers. There are two climbing shops around Massouri (Wild Sports and Climber's Nest) that sell and rent appropriate gear. There are many climbing and guiding services.

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