Kalymnos ’14 review. By Michael Slattery.
Expectations: I wanted to improve my climbing technique, climb somewhere new to get inspiration for route setting ideas, and learn some anchor/rope skills while doing multi pitch. Swimming, some nice photos and working on a tan were propping up the bottom of the list.
Day 1: Abseiling into Dolphin’s bay crag with spectacular view of the sea, had quite the grin on my face. Rob identified my over reliance on my upper body strength as I struggled on a hard(ish) climb. Both Rob and Jindra demonstrated good foot placement on the same climb moments later. For me, watching my instructors demonstrate what they say is one of the best motivators to progress.
Day 2: Kastelli rock was so sharp I could not pull up on it with my fingers, forcing me to focus on my footwork. This emphasis on small accurate steps set the tone for the week.
Day 3: Rob and Jin’s knowledge of the crags allowed some welcomed respite from the sun, climbing in the shade was pleasant. Video playback (icoach app) of our climbing was extremely useful, if somewhat painful to watch sometimes 😀 Rob used it well to make his point about centre of gravity, using outside edge etc
Day 4: Symplegaides crag; could have called route setter’s heaven, so many different features to climb on. Great place to practice climbing advice/feedback. Really enjoyed the day and the culmination of technique implementation. Also inspired to see Karol’s progress after few days of learning to lead.
Day 5: Half a rest day, took scooter for spin to stunning view of Arginonta bay. Got some decent climbs in (magic circle, Irox crag), pleasant day across the water on Telendos.
Day 6: Multi pitch on ‘wings for life’. Not sure what to say about this. Epic. A day I will never forget. After 2 hrs+ trek back down jumped into sea for refreshing swim before tasty meal and boat back to main island. Doesn’t get much better than that
Day 7: Paid homage to ‘Grande Grotto’ cave before leaving. If you want to get inspired to train hard just be here.. watching great climbers on steep stuff, setting the bar on entry level 7a, breathing in the atmosphere that place creates is quite something. The view of Telendos isn’t bad either.
A rejuvenating experience for many reasons. The days were stacked very well, each learning experience complimenting the previous day’s climbing. Both instructors offered a lot and had a great local knowledge. Was pushed to my limits some days, other days relaxing with smooth technique on easier climbs, all in all a very nice balance to the week. While the cost seemed initially expensive the hotel chosen and the cuisine sampled on the island was splendid. We were very well catered for throughout the week. I wasn’t accustomed to that kind of luxury. Two expressions which summed up the week nicely was Rob’s- it’s all part of the experience, and Jindra’s- life is good
Advice for others:
Try to do some training/get in shape before the trip, you will be pushed hard some of the days! Take some time to watch the instructors climb. Expect to experience a lot in the 7 days, to be encouraged, to be challenged, to be inspired. Expect to eat well, sleep well, climb well. Good value for money and then some. Any questions or concerns were answered comprehensively, just ask. Renting scooters, sea swimming, boat trip highly recommended also. Bring a camera, sunglasses and a chalk bag