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Kalymnos

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Kalymnos 


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Location: 36.9526, 26.979 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Jason Halladay, WAGbag, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Erik Olson on Jan 21, 2008
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The Grande Grotta

Description 

(Update 2012)
Kalymnos may be one of the greatest climbing areas in the world. With about 2000 routes (1700 in the 2012 guide) all accessible with a short hike and/or scooter and great amenities you'll wonder why you've ever climbed anywhere else. Many of the routes feature tufas and are steep, but there is also an array of pockets, thin vertical climbing and LOTS of moderates on the lower angle grey limestone. There is something for everybody with grades from 5a to 9a (5.7 to 5.14d). In addition, the hardware is almost all very safe and inspected/replaced frequently. Many of the popular areas/routes have a steel lowering biner for quick and easy cleaning. With some exceptions, the bolting is generally close together and safe, with particular attention paid to the first three to avoid deck potential. The atmosphere is quite different here than other locales, the climbers tend to be a little older and tend to travel as couples as opposed to a place like Thailand.

Gear:
60m rope: This will give you access to many routes but you will be limited.
70m rope: This is highly recommended and gains you access to most routes. Still - tie a knot in the end as there are many rope stretchers even for a 70.
80-100m rope: Talendos is now boasting routes requiring ropes of this length, and some on Kalymnos. Many big extensions will be easier with this.
You do not need to bring a stick clip.
14 draws would be a minimum for one person. Bring a few slings and longer draws to get around tufa features and depressions that cause rope drag on these long routes. 28 draws for a couple worked.
Leaver biners: Do not leave quick-links and try not to leave biners. The environment permanently freezes quick links shut, and perhaps biners as well on less popular routes. You can rap or lower directly on a single cold shut if that was used.
Kneebar pads: This place is kneebar heaven. You may want one or two of these if you're going to push your grade or be climbing above 5.11. Durable pants will be sufficient on many routes. The grades often assume you're taking the rests into account. On the stalactite routes you'll also want a shirt on as you'll get creative back rests, headlocks, chicken wings, threadthroughs, laydowns, rodeos etc.

Grades: Kalymnos has 'vacation grades' for the most part although the 2012 guide did a nearly wholesale downgrade. Because of this, many of the grades painted on the rock will be higher than that of the guide. You will note a substantial increase in difficulty on humid days or when the rock seeps a little, so be weary of your desire to downgrade any further, you may have just had good weather.

Old post: [A Greek Island near Turkey and North of the Island of Kos.

This island is loaded with great sport climbing. The locals appreciate climbers and there are a number of markets from which to purchase the very necessary "Kalymnos, Rock Climbing Guide", by Aris Theodoropoulos. Names and grades of many of the climbs are painted on the rock below the climb. The climbs are well bolted and each one is unique. Bring about 18-20 draws (you may need more for some climbs) and either a 60 or 70 meter rope.]


Getting There 

(Updated Nov 2012)
During the summer months up to about Nov 1st, Europeans have the option to fly diretly to Kos island from many major cities. After Nov. 1 many of these flights are discontinued until spring and they will have to route through Athens for a higher cost.

Folks making a longer journey in will likely find it most convenient to fly to Athens then grab one of the many flights to Kos on Olympic or Aegean.

Once in Kos go to the town of Mastahari and grab the ferry to the Kalymnos port town of Pothia. Take the bus from there to Massouri or wherever you are staying for a couple Euro, or 15 Euro cab (2012).

There is usually one late ferry to accommodate the last flight into Kos from Athens. If for whatever reason you miss it, there are plenty of hotels to grab in Mastahari walking distance from the ferry.

Creative options:
Take ferries between islands all the way from Athens. This will be more expensive and take a long time but you may enjoy several of the islands on the way in. Santorini or Crete would be well worth a stay.

You can also fly to Istanbul for some tourism then fly to Bodrum Turkey and take the ferry over to Kos (Kalymnos is much closer to Turkey than to mainland Greece).

Ryan Air flies from many European cities directly to Kos (before Nov 1st)

Traveling after Nov 1st?
Many of the island-island ferries and flights start to disappear but connections to Athens are still frequent. Tourism is basically over for all the islands except Kalymnos...


Food Beta 

[Updated 2012]
There are many places to eat in Massouri, some better than others. I won't rate each of them, but a few things should be noted:

In central Massouri above the liquor store with the dark brown wood railings you will find a place with a nice atmosphere and marginal food. The servings are small and the food is all canned or low quality.

Water can be obtained at spring inside a small stone hut right on the main street, down from Fats.

There's a supermarket in Panormos (on the way to Pothia) with much better prices.

The Pirate Bar in Emporios is awesome.

Coffee and espresso is mostly instant. The exception is at the climbers nest and Glaros.

The proprietor at Glaros is a suckubus. Go there to try and make him smile as a challenge. Climber: "Can I get cheese on the omelet?" Glaros "Do you want me to fuck up my kitchen just so you can have cheese?" If you're having too much fun and want to hate your life, go here.

Fani Market has great bread but it sells out quick.


Season 

[Updated 2012]
Kalymnos can be climbed all year around but the dominant season is spring/fall with most climbers going in October so crags will get a little full during this time.

The dominant reason that people do not climb as much in the winter is simply because the tourism season has died and many of the amenities in Massouri have shut down about Nov 1st and less direct flights are available from the rest of Europe. That said, there will still be a few restaraunts and at least one market open. Since most Kalymnians live and work at the same place, their studios usually remain available all winter so lodging should not be an issue. In addition there is more rain in Dec/Jan. During Oct/Nov rain usually doesn't last long or affect your climbing day much (hint: when the forcast shows rain, go climbing to avoid crowds since it probably won't rain anyway).


Climbing Season


361 Total Routes


['4 Stars',68],['3 Stars',182],['2 Stars',80],['1 Star',20],['Bomb',5]
['<=5.6',2],['5.7',5],['5.8',11],['5.9',16],['5.10',159],['5.11',84],['5.12',71],['5.13',13],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Kalymnos:
Phineas   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Symplegades : Main Wall
Monahiki Elia   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Grande Grotta
Thetis   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Arhi
Wild Sex   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Arginonta : Infrared Wall
Carpe Diem   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   Panorama
Les Amazones   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 98'   Spartacus
Remember Wadi Rum   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 82'   Ghost Kitchen : Main Wall
Frapagalo   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 100'   Secret Garden
Dafni   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 100'   Ghost Kitchen : Main Wall
Ricounet   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 100'   Secret Garden
Kastor    5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Arhi
Trela   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 120'   Grande Grotta
DNA   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Grande Grotta
Ivi   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Grande Grotta
Zorba le Gros   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Iliada : Iliada Right
Mort aux Chèvres   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 90'   Sikati Cave
Nymfi   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Galatinani
Tufantastic   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 125'   Grande Grotta
Aegialis   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Grande Grotta
Priapos   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   Grande Grotta
Browse More Classics in Kalymnos

Featured Route For Kalymnos
Matt Nance getting orgasmic with tufa much love on "Aphrodisia," Spartacus wall. <br /> <br />Random Britt hardman (well into his 50s) cleaning up a crushing send of "Ares" (12c/7b+) above, making us all look silly.

Aphrodisia 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a  Europe : Greece : ... : Spartacus
There are times in your life when it all falls away; the bills, the screaming kids, that raging case of projectile herpes. Times when nothing matters in the universe but you and your quest for godhood. If climbing in Kalymnos is one of those times where you forget even your own blistering VD—much less your kids—then you should have your doctor run some lab tests. The paint chips might finally be kickin' in. Still, losing yourself to oblivion on "Aphrodisia" is quite excusable. HOW this...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Kalymnos Slideshow Add Photo
Kalymnos is a fantastic place to be a climber. Kalymnos is a tragic place to be an octopus.  <br /> <br />Photo by Fiona Coupland
Kalymnos is a fantastic place to be a climber. Kal...
Local sea food prepared by a local.
Local sea food prepared by a local.
View of Massouri from Telendos.  Most climbers stay in Massouri.
View of Massouri from Telendos. Most climbers sta...
Bring. Cameras.  <br /> <br />Even graduates of the Ray Charles school of photography are snapping Pulitzers here.
Bring. Cameras.

Even graduates of the Ray Charle...
Grande Grotta
Grande Grotta
You WILL come to Kalymnos.  <br />You WILL push your grades.  <br />You WILL send like a hero.
You WILL come to Kalymnos.
You WILL push your gra...
Port town of Pothia
BETA PHOTO: Port town of Pothia
Climbers Nest:  Located in Armeos, just under Grande Grotta.  A great place to meet climbers, find partners and get beta.
BETA PHOTO: Climbers Nest: Located in Armeos, just under Gran...
Arhi
Arhi
Picture Perfect, Kalymnos.
Picture Perfect, Kalymnos.
Panorama Wall, 6b
Panorama Wall, 6b
Lots of steep walls on Kalymnos!
Lots of steep walls on Kalymnos!
View of Kalymnos (Pothia).
View of Kalymnos (Pothia).
Looking toward Sectors Arhi and Sea breeze from sector Summertime.
Looking toward Sectors Arhi and Sea breeze from se...
Thrashed climbing shoe tree at the climbers bar.
Thrashed climbing shoe tree at the climbers bar.
Pimpin' on the porch, Kaly, 2011
Pimpin' on the porch, Kaly, 2011
Pothia, the main port town on Kalymnos.
Pothia, the main port town on Kalymnos.
Yes...do climb Kaly...
Yes...do climb Kaly...
Goats everywhere!  There might be more goats on the island than people.
Goats everywhere! There might be more goats on th...
Comments on Kalymnos Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 26, 2014
By Keegan Dimmick
From: Winchester, VA
Apr 3, 2008

Any Americans on here that can give me travel and lodging info for Kalymnos. I want to hear from people that have actually been there, not what you might have read on the net.

thanks

By yevquest
From: Southeast,US
Apr 5, 2008

Keegan,
I spent a month there in fall 2005. It's a great place, nice rock, chill scene, and (at least then) fairly cheap. We stayed at the Fatolitis Studios in Massouri. Has a pool, it's own little private beach, and is nice. We paid 25 euros a night. From Massouri you can walk to many of the crags (Grande Grotto, Jurassic Park, Spartacus, Odyssey) and is a 10 minute scooter ride from Arhi. You can walk or take a short scooter trip to the grocery in Massouri; it's a 20 minute scooter ride to Pothia. We flew from Athens to Kos and then took the ferry from Kos Town to Pothia. This was before the airport on Kalymnos opened.

Hope this helps.

By Erik Olson
May 20, 2008

Keegan,

My wife and I went there in September of 07 for our 1 year anniversary. We took a ferry from Pothia (the main port for Athens) and stayed at the Melinda's Apartments. They were great and cheap even though Kalymnos is becoming more and more touristy. We toured some of the other Greek islands and overall we just loved Kalymnos the most. The climbing is all really accessible and most climbs have their name painted on the bottom of the climb. There is a great guide book that is sold everywhere and was the most expensive thing we bought while we were on the island. I highly recommend renting a scooter even if you have never driven one. It is cheap and allows you access to many places to climb that most people don't get to. Feel free to email me with any more questions.

By Chris Winter
From: Portland, OR
May 30, 2008

there's some information up on my blog.

By Brian in SLC
Feb 13, 2010

Note that Kalymnos is NORTH of the island of Kos.

By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
Jun 23, 2010

Kalymnos has the best sport climbing I have ever experienced in my life! The Grande Grotta is spectacular!

We stayed at Melina's www.melinas-apartments.gr/ which is very cheap for the amenities you get and George is one of the most energetic people I have ever met. Rent a scooter for sure, they are cheap and the best way to get around the island. Plus if you decide to visit other islands while your there you can just take your scooter on the ferry so you'll have a ride wherever you go.

We also took an overnight ferry from Athina to Pothia and just got a sleeper cabin. This is a good option since its cheaper than an airplane and saves you money by not having to pay for an extra night somewhere.

Have fun.

By Amy V
May 6, 2011

My husband and I spent the past month here in Kalymnos, from about 4/10 to 5/6. Weather was perfect (cool) in the beginning, shade or sun. The past week or so, shade has been mandatory in the afternoons. Ambiance Cafe is a great local resource for climbers. The owners are both Kalymnian locals but have lived in the US and so they speak perfect English. They know everything about the island and are super friendly. They're even learning to climb! The coffee and breakfast is awesome and they have the only pool table in Masouri. Just wanted to pass along that little bit of info but I'm happy to answer any other specific questions about our stay here too. It's an effort to get to Kalymnos, but so worth it!

By Ron Grat
From: Georgetown, Co.
Jun 23, 2011

Does anyone know of any camp grounds on Kalymnos? I've read a lot about the lodging, but nothing on (legal) camping. Just trying to go as low budget as possible. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

By Top Rope Hero
From: Was Estes Park, now homeless
Aug 20, 2011

There's no camping at Kaly. Anywhere. Period. It's just not done on this part of the planet. And? The locals (including and especially the poe-lice) are pretty dead set against others doing it.

Don't try it unless you wanna get kicked outta Kalymnos.

Still, there WAS evidence that SOMEBODY was sleeping in the hills above Odyssey...

Your best bet is simply to find the cheapest studio and stuff it with dirtbags.

Good luck.

By dnoB ekiM
Sep 19, 2011

I just returned from 2 weeks in Kalymnos. Incredible!

We stayed at: www.vasilisstudios.gr/

This is a great choice for studios! It is about a 5-7 minute scooter ride from the Massouri "strip" and well priced (30 Euro per night during our Sept 2011 stay).

Importantly, they picked us up at the port and dropped us off when we left. More importantly, Poppy (the owner) was extremely nice and keeps the place immaculately clean! The rooms are well equipped. My wife and I did a lot of looking at other studios and were really happy with our selection of Vasilas. There are much cheaper options out there (as low as 10 Euro) for the really budget conscious...but we would have been very unhappy with the conditions at these very budget places.

Another place that caught our eye was Elenahotels.com. These looked great and are in the heart of Massouri.

As far as food, Fatolis (spelling?) and Sunrise were great quick meal (omelets, gyros, etc) places. Both have nice owners with great service. For dinner...Kokkiniahe Tavern (Upstairs just past Fatolis but on the left) and Panos O Miltilinios were our favorites.

We did not have one bad meal the whole time we were there. The seafood is all good! Definitely try the stuffed Calamari (grilled full calamari with feta). Fatolis' greek omelet is not too be missed...and Sunrise's Chicken and Bacon Gyro is sinfully good. Zorbas is also a good choice for dinner.

By Nathan Hollingsworth
From: colorado springs
Oct 16, 2011

Hello,
I’m going to Kalymnos in a couple of weeks and had some questions. On my first trip to Kalymnos, a couple of years ago, the hotel we stayed at only had salt water in the faucets. Is this normal and if so where can we get clean drinking water for free? Has anyone eaten at Imia or Prego's restaurants? Or does anyone have any specific recommendation for cheap food? Is the Kefalas Cave tour any good?

Anything would be great,
Nathan Hollingsworth

By Ken Kisiel
Apr 9, 2012

Looking to travel early November. What should we expect for crowds? Water temperature? Lodging availability?

By Chris Perkins
From: Avon, Colorado
Jun 3, 2012

Bring a 70 or 80 meter rope!! 60 works, but I felt I missed out on a lot of stellar routes.
Love this place!

By LoganJamison
Nov 19, 2012

Ryan Air flies to Kos from several cities in Europe. My ticket from Milan to Kos cost 6 Euro. Nuff said...

By Borden
Dec 1, 2012

Headed there in early to mid June- is this a bad idea with weather? Also, going with my wife and looking for some easier climbing sprinkled in. Will we be in for a disappointing time or will it be all good? Thanks!

By Crux Crush
May 15, 2013

Here's our write up on Kalymnos... It's an amazing place!

cruxcrush.com/2013/05/15/climbing-destination-kalymnos-greec>>>

Borden: It might be warm in June, but climbing in the shade should be fine. There is definitely easier climbing on the island. You and your wife will not be disappointed!

By Jason Halladay
Administrator
From: Los Alamos, NM
Jul 10, 2014

Some quick food beta:

  • The "honey balls" for dessert at the Aegean restaurant (south end of the main drag in Masouri) are not to be missed!
  • Barbra Yiannis restaurant (northern end of the main drag in Masouri) is fantastic for lunch or dinner. Super friendly staff with great, outdoor, covered seating right along the road.

By Harrison Goldwyn 1
From: Santa Barbara, California
3 days ago

Partner needed!

I am in kalymnos until 31/8 and need to find a partner. Anyone in kaly want to climb with a friendly, competent, cafilornia climber? I am willing to try and lead anything up to 7a and belay anything.

Harrison
Harrisongoldwyn@gmail.com