Kalymnos

The best sport climbing area in the world. Probably.

I am not sure a lot more than that needs to be said. If you are after good quality sports climbing, Kalymnos has it all. Thousands of routes on over 50 different crags, and still potential for many more. The weather is near perfect in spring and autumn, and the routes are solid, clean, and very well bolted. The island still has very few cars (please hire a scooter rather than a car and keep it that way). The ambiance in the restaurants doesn't leave a lot to be desired.

OK maybe there are a few downsides. Most of the cliffs are too hot in the afternoons when the sun hits them, and the routes are getting polished in the popular areas. In certain months there are perhaps just too many climbers, with queues for the famous routes, particularly in the Grande Grotte area. However, despite this, it is still possible to get away from the crowds if you are prepared to walk, and if all else fails, you can go swimming. 

Number of routes
3000
Guidebook

The excellent Kalymnos Rock Climbing Guidebook by Aris Theodoropoulos. Publisher: Terrain

In this area:

Title Description
Kalymnos Arginonta

The bright red walls of Arginonta contain many outstanding climbs that are spoilt only by the popularity of the crag. With so many classic lines in the 6a to 6c range, it is perhaps no surprise that so many people flock to this climbing mecca. The arrival of the sun after midday on the right hand side forces everyone into the little space on the left hand side, making it feel crowded and detracting from the high quality of the routes. The message is clear. Arrive early and leave early.

Kalymnos Arginonta skyline

With fantastic views over Arginonta bay, a sense of loneliness, and some quality rock and routes to match, the Arginonta skyline is well worth the longer walk. Maybe even the walk is one of the attractions.  The skyline consists of 6 separate sectors, each offering something different. Kryptos and Haute Gorge face east and do not get the shade until mid afternoon. The other sectors face SW and get the sun around midday. 

Kalymnos Arginonta Valley

Arginonta valley is a set of 3 cliffs just a few miinutes walk from the parking in Arginonta village With it's well bolted, mid grade routes, on good rock, that are in the shade when most crags are in the sun, it is perhaps inevitable that the crags are popular, sometimes too popular. Most of the route names are written at the foot of the climbs, making route finding easy.

Kalymnos Arhi

Arhi is an excellent and popular crag, and has a bit of everything. The left hand side has mostly steep wall climbs, the cave some of the hardest routes and projects on the island, and the right hand side is often busy.

Kalymnos Atlantis

Atlantis and Utopia are a set of recently developed crags (2017 / 2018) up and to the right of Ghost Kitchen. The Atlantis sector offers excellent middle grade slab climbing on gouttes d'eau, and the neighbouring sector Utopia, has many hard steep tufa and wall climbs. The rock is sharp and still brittle in places but with time should produce many classic routes. Sector Atlantis is in the shade until 1pm, the cave until 5pm and the rest of Utopia gets the sun at about 2pm.

Kalymnos Balcony Helvetia

Excellent tufa climbing in the caves above Arhi. The rock is sometimes sharp and crumbly, although with traffic this has improved a lot.

Kalymnos Beach

Solid climbing on rough rock with good holds in a beautiful location. Shade after midday

Kalymnos Belgian Chocolates

Excellent wall climbing on good pockets and gouttes d'eau. Some of the routes are 2 or more pitches, the 2nd pitches of which are excellent.

Kalymnos Big Shadow

A big crag with a mountain feel about it and lots of potential for more routes up the orange walls. It is in the shade after about midday, and due to the long (for Kalymnos) walk in, you are likely to have the crag to yourself. 

Kalymnos Cave

Cave is so called because of, you guessed it, a cave. Not the cave on the crag, but the cave under the crag which is accessed via an iron gate and a ladder and is well worth exploring, it is huge. The cave on the crag is also pretty big and offers a few hard tufa climbs. Either side of this are some pleasant easier slab and wall climbs, all very enjoyable. The cave under the ground never gets the sun, the cave on the crag gets it after 2pm and the rest of the cliff after 1pm.

Kalymnos E.T.

E.T. is so called because of it's resemblance to the alien in the Spielberg film. The cave forming the left eye has hard tufa cimbing up its overhanging walls, whilst the main buttress, between the eyes, has several long middle grade routes from 6a to 6c. A lot further left (facing in) is the Koukouvas buttress with some more middle grade wall climbs. The crag has the advantage in hot weather of being in the shade for most of the day, and the disadvantage that this sometimes means you have to wear warm clothes, especially if it is windy.

Kalymnos Galatiani

A quiet cliff with three distinct sectors. Reservoir Dogs is the nearest to the road and has a handful of long wall climbs on rough rock. The Calcite Cave is a mini Grande Grotte with a number of excellent steep tufa climbs, and a few easier routes to either side. Black Forest is a small crag with a few pleasant, albeit sharp, climbs. The sun reaches the Calcite Cave between 12 and 1pm, the other two crags a bit earlier, around 10.30am. In the warmer months it is worth the effort of an early start. 

Kalymnos Gerakios Left

Gerakios Left has two cliffs, Rainbow Wall and the Upper Cave. Both are excellent, with routes mostly in the 7s and 8s, although there are a few easier ones. The rock is rough, often with good pockets, and the cliff is usually quieter than the more popular lower cliffs. Partly due to the difficulty and partly due to the longer walk in. It gets the sun after about 12.30

 

Kalymnos Gerakios Right

Gerakios has two distinct sectors. The left hand side containing the more difficult routes on Rainbow Wall and the Upper Cave, and the right hand side including Main Wall and Trois Ilots. The right hand side, described here, has many excellent mid grade routes on walls and slabs with rough rock and good incut holds. It gets the sun after about 12.30. Mot of the route names are written at the foot of the climbs.

Kalymnos Ghost Kitchen

An excellent and popular crag with a wide variety of routes, from pleasant slabs to incredible tufas on a gently overhanging wall. There are 4 sectors. The sun hits the left hand side after about 13.00, A little later for each of the other sectors.

Kalymnos Grande Grotta

Big roofs ! The showpiece of Kalymnos is understandably very popular, and queueing for routes is not uncommon. Lots of stamina and technique required  giving inspiring, exposed and often 3D climbing. Gets the sun early afternoon in the Spring and Autumn, later in the summer

Kalymnos Great Canyon

A small goat's cave up the gorge from Sea Breeze, Great Canyon has a few slabs and some steeper cave routes that stay in the shade most of the day

Kalymnos Heroes

A nice crag high up above Emporios Bay with wonderful views and some excellent short routes

Kalymnos Iannis

Iannis is a the large stalactite cave at the left hand end of Poets, flanked by steep orange walls containing many steep classic tufa lines. Included also are the grey and white slabs a bit further right containing many excellent easier routes. The slabs get the sun after 1pm, the cave itself stays in the shade until 3pm. It's accessibility, the quality of climbing and late shade make it a popular destination. 

Kalymnos Iliada

Iliada is overshadowed by Odyssey, but perhaps should not be. It is less polished, has some excellent routes, and for a few minutes extra walk is a lot less crowded. It gets the sun relatively early, between 11am and 1pm according to the sector, so an early start is recommended in the hotter months. The routes vary from slabs to middle grade walls, steep overhanging walls and tufas, plus a few hard cave routes.

Kalymnos Je t'aime

Situated just off the Arginonta, Vathy road just after the col, Je t'aime has a varied selection of routes, from hard overhanging walls to easy slabs. Although the rock and lines are not always perfect, there are several good lines, the crag is usually quiet, and the main crag gets the shade in the afternoon

Kalymnos Jurassic Park

A scenic walk to an excellent crag that is usually far from the madding crowds. It has two sides, the left hand is a steep wall with lots of big pockets, the right hand is overhanging with a large cave, that is also peppered with large pockets and holds.

Kalymnos Kalydna

Big steep orange walls with technical climbing on pockets and crimps. Excellent. Gets the sun after about 14.00, although the right hand parts can be climbed until 16.00

Kalymnos Kastri

Kastri is an archeological site, which is interesting to visit in its own right. The climbing is in 3 sectors. The left hand sector, Kreissaal, is mostly slabs. The middle and main section has an ancient fortress dating back to the 4th century BC. It contains many excellent routes, both slabs and steep walls. The right hand section, Sophie, is less interesting, but nevertheless has a dozen or so routes, of varying quality. The sun reaches most of the sectors between 11.00 and 12.00, although one or two of the steep walls stay in the shade a little longer.

Kalymnos Local Freezer

A couple of caves with some steep overhanging routes that are always in the shade

Kalymnos Milianos Cave

Milianos cave is the prominent small cave visible from the large bend in the road as you descend from Arginonta Pass to Vathy. The climbing is on the walls left of the cave. it is a pleasant crag in a beautiful location with slab and wall climbs on pocketed rock. It gets the shade in the afternoon.

Kalymnos Nikoleta

The two large caves just up the road from Summertime have some good and very steep routes. Easy access and shade in the afternoon.

Kalymnos North Cape

Pleasant climbing, mainly on slabs and steep walls with a couple of caves to test the ambitious climber. Bolting is good and the holds often sharp. Gets the sun between 10.30am on the LHS, and 13.00 on the right hand side cave.

Kalymnos Noufaro

A big crag with 7 distinct sectors (referenced A to G here). A bit of everything from steep tufa climbs to easy pocketed slabs. Excellent throughout.

Kalymnos Odyssey

Routes for everyone here.From 4b to 9a. Gets the sun after about 2pm on the left hand side, later on the right hand side and in the caves. Getting very pollished.

Kalymnos Olympic Wall

Steep slabs and walls, on the big cra above Odyssey. Rough rock with lots of big tufas and pockets that give excellent climbing. Gets the sun after about 1.30pm

Kalymnos Palionisos

At the north end of the island is a remote, beautiful bay and beach with a few houses and bars. This is Palionisos. Above the road that leads there are 3 cliffs, Red Wall, Paradise Beach and Palionsis Bay. They contain many excellent mid grade routes on good rock. They get the sun most of the day. On winter days, profit from it, in summer go to the beach!

Kalymnos Panorama

An excellent and popular crag with tufa climbing on quality rock that is as good as it gets. The tufas can sometimes be greasy on humid windless days. Although not as steep as Grande Grotta, good stamina pays dividends on the long pitches.

Kalymnos Poets

The nearest climbing to Masouri, and thus very popular. Lots of excellent routes on superb rock in all grades.

Kalymnos Prophitis Andreas

High up on the skyline above Skalia, Prophitis Andreas offers beautiful views and lovely climbing on slabs and walls. The rock is mostly good and the routes are long and well equipped. An 80m rope and plenty of quick draws are necessary. The left hand has some hard, and sometimes painful routes with bouldery starts. It is not clear if all bolted lines here have been climbed, but will be 8a or harder. The middle section from the route Prophitis Andreas rightwards contains the best routes.The right hand side has climbs of varying quality.

Kalymnos Saint Photis

A beautiful walk to a beautiful crag next to the quaint chapel of Saint Photis. The climbing is also interesting and varied;  Chapel View has steep sharp slabs, sector Icare has smooth walls and overhanging cave routes on excellent rock, and to the right of the chapel, Chapel Wall has some nice wall climbing. All in all St Photis is well worth the visit. Beware though of days when the lack of wind brings damp conditions, the rock here can sometimes feel very slippery.

Kalymnos Sea Breeze

An excellent crag for beginners and middle grade climbers with easy access and lovely views over Arginonta bay. The routes are mostly slabs and walls, and many require an 80m rope. Great Canyon has some steeper, harder routes. The sun arrives early, between 10am and midday depending on the sector.

Kalymnos Secret Garden

Being one of the few crags that gets the shade all day has meant that the once "Secret" Garden has become a "very well known and popular" garden. The crag is steep and covered with tufas and excellent routes. That said, the once spiky rock is rapidly becoming polished and on humid days the holds can sometimes feel a bit soapy on the tufas. The routes are mostly in the 6b to 8a range, and well bolted, giving the ambitious climber lots to work on. 

Kalymnos Sikati Cave

An incredible geological feature on the north side of the island. Sikati Cave is a huge hole in the ground 100m tall and 100m wide situated above a beautiful beach. Most of the climbing is in the upper grades, very steep on tufa formations. Except for a few warm ups, the routes stay in the shade all day. Because the cave is sheltered, the holds can be greasy on warm or humid days when there is no wind, and is best avoided in these conditions. 

Kalymnos Spartan Wall and Afternoon

The crags left of Grande Grotta are perfect for climbing in the Afternoon, they do not get the sun until about 4pm. At their left hand side is the impressive white Spartan Wall, and lower down nearer Grande Grotta the sector Afternoon. Both have excellent routes, mostly steep walls and lower grade slabs.

Kalymnos Stankill and Ivory Tower

The two sectors Stankill and Ivory Tower are probably the quietest in the Poets / Grande Grotta area, the slightly longer walk thinning the crowds a bit. The climbing is mostly on vertical walls and has many worthwhile routes on both sharp grey limestone as well as the more slippy orange.

Kalymnos Styx

Sheltered and south facing, the main part of Styx is a sun trap and thus a good crag for the winter months. That said the sun does not reach the SW facing walls until 12.30, and here can be pleasant in spring and autumn. It has beautiful views over the bay of Emporios, which offers welcome swimming and lunch in the warmer months. The rock is often sharp. Guillot corner is a classic of the grade.

Kalymnos Summertime

One of the few sectors at Kalymnos that gets the shade in the afternoon, so popular with those that stay in bed late. Some nice slabs near to the road, and steeper routes a bit further up the hill. Gets the sun until about 1pm.

Kalymnos Symplegades

A pleasant location high above the southern end of Masouri with climbing in a sort of gorge that has always a sunny and shady side. The walls of the gorge give excellent steep pocketed climbing in the middle grades. The shade moves from the south to the north face between 1pm and 2pm.

Kalymnos Vathy

Vathy is a pleasant and pictueresque port on the east side of alymnos. It is best know for its Deep Water Soloing crag, but there are also some long sea traverses and a couple of bolted cliffs. When it is hot and the water is warm, it is a great place to spend a rest day.

Telendos Eros

A lovely cliff with two distinct climbing styles. The left hand side is steep, smooth and overhanging. The right hand side is vertical, rough and with good pockets, both sides have excellent routes. Thos on the right hand side are generally 40m or a little longer, an 80m rope is essential, tie a knot in the end of your rope. The crag gets the shade after midday.

Telendos Irox

A popular crag right next to where the ferry that takes you to the climbing stops on Telendos. It has routes of all grades from, pleasant slabs to overhanging test pieces. The rock can sometimes be sharp, and the crag has the advantage of getting the shade for most of the afternoon. The water below the crag is beautifully clear and great for swimming.

Telendos Lambda

Long, sustained, single pitch wall climbs mostly with excellent holds in a beautiful location. An 80m rope is pretty much essential and even then tie a knot in the end.

Telendos Miltiadis

A very pleasant crag with a variety of routes on rough rock, mostly in the easier grades, but also with a few excellent harder routes. The setting and views are magnificent, and the late arrival of the shade (after 1pm) means that you can have a leisurely start in the hotter months.

Telendos Pescatore

Mainly wall climbing varying from pleasant slabs to overhanging tufas. Excellent routes on solid, sometimes sharp rock up to 30m in height. Set in an idyllic location with crystal clear sea, and lovely views of the North of Kalymnos. Stays in the shade until 4pm or later depending on the time of year.