Travelling Monks - Kalymnos

This must be paradise. We had even travelled through purgatory with a cramped flight next to the toilet queue and a cold night on the beach chairs in Masticharri, Kos. But we were here now and what a place. Blue skies in October and temperatures where you could climb in T shirts and shorts. Despite the slog (20 minute walk) the Grande Grotta provided a spectacular arena for onsighting routes. Every route worth more stars than any sport route ever attempted in Britain. To go with the vision of paradise the highest quality routes get a music symbol!

Highlights of the climbing included onsights by Beth of “DNA” the classic 7B putting in her own clips as she led and just to the right a flashed ascent of “Ivi” 7B+ . However, perhaps the most spectacular was the much easier Trella 6C+ which ascends outrageous territory on huge holds and bizarre rests between the forest of stalactites.

“Days off” meant tackling the technical vertical limestone pitches which gave the arms a rest from the overhanging tufas. Even Niki, Beth’s mum, donned a pair of boots and tackled her first route for 25 years since being put off by Alan in the “cold” Peak district. What also contributed to a memorable trip was the food, the wine and the friendliness of the residents and the company of the other climbers.

Flights have been booked already for next year.

By Beth Monks