Destination Climbing: Kalymnos

If ever there were such a thing as a sport climber’s paradise, then Kalymnos would be it.

With over 2,000 bolted routes, 50 miles of island to explore, and water so clear you can see all the way to the bottom, Kalymnos had been on our climbing wish list for nearly a decade.

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Kalymnos is known for its long, limestone routes that are soft and slabby on the bottom,  pumpy and cruxy up top, and sharp all over!  Be prepared to climb with endurance and efficiency, and be sure to save your power for the penultimate and ultimate bolts.

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Panorama of Hotel Simi. Photo by David Cerna

Come equipped with a helmet, 70, 80 or 100 (!!) meter rope,  and 14 quickdraws per climber (up to 28 per couple).  This might sound like overkill for single-pitch sport climbing, but they sure come in handy for those 40-50 meter mega-pitch climbs for which Kalymnos is so well known.

When to Go:

Autumn in Kalymnos is arguably the best season to climb, with optimal sending temperatures and mid-low season prices on accommodations.  Early October seemed to be a bit hit with climbers from all over the world, and we were blessed and impressed with the weather.

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Jeanne overlooking Dodoni. Photo by Paul Fung

How to Get There:

Fly to Kalymnos (JKL) airport from Athens (ATH) with Olympic Air for $100 return.  Alternatively, fly to Kos International Airport (KGS) and take a ferry to Kalymnos.

Getting Around:

Make Massouri your base camp for exploring local crags in the area, as many climbs are within walking distance.

We highly recommend renting a car and venturing north towards Skalia and Emporios, and taking the boat ride out to Telendos to experience all the climbing the islands have to offer.

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Jeanne working the crux of Baden mit und Ohne, 7a. Photo by David Cerna

Recommended Routes:

Pornokini (6a) – Arginonta

Wild Sex (6b) – Arginonta

St- George (6b) – Dodoni

Dom (6b) – Telendos Lamda

Hotel Simi (6b+) – Telendos Lamda

Ma Tante Dayie (6c) – Palionisos Red Wall

Baden Mit und Ohne (7a) – Palionisis Bay

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Jeanne on Hotel Simi, 6b+, 50m. Photo by David Cerna

Where to Eat:

Aegean Tavern (Massouri)

Miltos (Massouri)

On the Rocks (Telendos)

Where to Stay:

Plaza Hotel in Massouri boasts stunning sunset views of Telendos across the sea with clean rooms,  and pool, beach, and balcony access.

 It was well worth the wait.

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