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Best rope and other gear for Kalymnos?
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By Sheldon Deeny
From Odessa, TX
Apr 1, 2013
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I'm looking at buying a 70m Sterling Fusion Ion2 (9.4mm diameter) for my 12 day trip to Kalymnos in late June. I will be climbing mostly 5.11 and under, with some 5.11+ to 5.12- flash/redpoint attempts, on which lead falls are likely to happen (I weigh 160 lbs, partner is 120lbs).

From what I've read about the climbing there, rope drag can be an issue and many routes require 70m rope, so the Ion2 seems like a good choice. However, I've also read that it is best to clean the steeper routes on top rope. Can it handle this type of use on sharp limestone?

If anyone who is reading this has flow to Kalymnos from N. America, can you tell me if it is better to buy a rope at a local climbing shop or put it in you carry-on bag? Are the local climbing shops pretty well stocked with quality gear and essentials? I might have to check a bag, and if it gets lost, I'll have to shell out some Euros on gear.

My last, somewhat silly question is: how useful is it to have a knee-pad for the 5.11 to 5.12 routes on Kalymnos? Since I'll be there in late June, pants aren't really an option.

I'd appreciate any advice, thanks.


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By sthomas
Apr 1, 2013

The 9.4 should do you fine. It will take a beating from all the usage, but nothing out of the ordinary. Definitely nothing shorter than 70m.

As for purchasing a rope there, I'd recommend just bringing it with your bag. The gear shop has an excellent selection of climbing gear, but due to it being a remote island and all, there is a markup. However, for simple stuff like chalk, the prices aren't too bad.

We were there for 2 weeks and none of us used a knee pad. The limestone (on the steep routes where you'd want a kneebar) isn't really that sharp. If you have a kneepad and room in your luggage, you could bring it, but it's not really worth it to buy one just for Kalymnos.

As for June, good luck. It's going to be hot. We were there in September and had to be off the cliffs by 4ish. Get to the crags super early before the sun hits them and spend the afternoon drinking beer and eating gyros on the beach. Also, Local Freezer is a rare north facing cliff that will be nice and cool. Also, Sikati Cave would be nice to go to if you get a later start as parts of it get sun in the morning and it's all in the shade by the late afternoon. A bit more of a drive and approach than the rest of the cliffs but holy crap that place is STACKED!


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By Ben Ricketts
From Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 1, 2013

The Ion2 is the rope I used when I was there and it didn't show more wear than the other ropes we had. I carried on my climbing gear (ropes, draws, shoes) and checked the rest. Waiting a couple of days for clothes to arrive would not bother me but waiting for climbing gear would suck!

As was said in the last post. Get to the crag EARLY and then spend the afternoon swimming and drinking. It is an awesome place.


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By mattm
From TX
Apr 1, 2013
Grande Grotto

Pack it all with you if you can. There are some shops there but best to bring it all. When I wen't in '06 I brought a 9.8x70m, 14 QDs and 6 "trad draws". With that setup I never had rope drag issues. Honestly, I don't recall many drag issues at all. I managed to CRAM all that plus both harnesses and shoes into a backpack that I carried on. There are plenty of shops for clothes and other essentials but NA gear prices vs Euro were noticeable.

2nd the get out early and beat the heat. Honestly, I really enjoyed the 1/2 day climb, 1/2 day relax/explore routine we got into. I think it kept me more fresh rather than doing a beat down 8 hour climbing day.

We rented scooters and they're a MUST in my opinion. There's a lot to explore on the island, don't just make it a myopic climbing trip. Enjoy the food, culture and GREAT people there. Did I mention the food?!? AWESOME


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By Sheldon Deeny
From Odessa, TX
Jul 7, 2013
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I just got back from Kalymnos and all the advice above was spot on, thanks guys. I'm posting so that if anyone else needs info, they can hopefully find this thread in a search.

I went with the 70M 9.4mm Ion2 by Sterling and it was great. My partner and I had over 24 draws but I don't think we ever used more than 18 on a single route. Still, bring at least 20. Having 4 or so extending trad draws was helpful. We probably could have done the majority of routes with a 60M rope actually. However, having the 10 extra meters of rope certainly gives you more options. I packed it all on my carry-ons, no trouble there.

I never used a knee pad but some 3/4 length pants (long shorts - I bought some while I was there) certainly make the knee-bars and stalactite leg-wraps more comfortable. I was climbing up to 7a (5.11d) and the steep, featured routes have many places to find creative rests using your legs.

Most of the anchors on routes I did had two biners to lower from. They varied in condition. It's probably a good idea to carry a few biners that you don't mind parting with in case you encounter some lower-offs that are too sketchy for further use. The climber's nest in Massouri can be notified of routes that need a hardware update.

Indeed, some days felt too hot and humid (for me) even in the shade. Or it was borderline, like OK while belaying but climbing was sweaty. It all depended on the breeze. Climbing in the sun in late June/early July would be nigh impossible. There are sectors that face north and are close to the sea and were pleasant all day with a breeze. I went to Sikati cave on the windiest, coolest day of my trip (oddly enough, July 1st), and it was perfect. Sikati would be a poor choice on a windless day, as stated in the guide. The sea was still cool so it was nice to jump in for a swim in the afternoon.

Kalymnos is a wonderful, special place. I recommend it for any sport-inclined climber at any grade. The people are very accommodating, it is friendly for children, and it's surprisingly affordable. It was my first time climbing outside the U.S. and I really hope I can go back some day. Feel free to send me a message if you have questions, I will try to help.
-Sheldon


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