Travelling Monks - Kalymnos

By Beth Monks

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.

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