We stepped off the ferry and into a car. Our driver Poppy drove us through the town of Pothia and across the island to our home for almost two weeks—Vasilis Studios. Along the way we dodged scooters and other cars on the narrow winding road. I wasn’t thrilled about renting scooters in the first place, but now the idea of driving scooters around Kalymnos really had me nervous.
But, the scooters happened.
After a few days of squealing and begging Andrew to slow down, I decided they weren’t so bad. We took them all over the island—dodging more goats than cars.
Another thing I didn’t expect to like was the slab climbing, but by the end of our trip in Kalymnos I actually enjoyed it. The slab was sharp, sticky, and just when you need another hold, a giant pocket would appear.
When climbing gets vertical and you can’t find your next hold, it’s probably dangling above you in the form of a stalactite–part of it dripping with water, the other part feels like the ridiculous climbing holds you’ve only ever touched at the climbing gym.
Tufas drip down the wall and make climbing holds vertical. Pinchers, laybacks, stemming, and knee drops—climbing feels more like a dance.
It was the views from the rock…
the goats and their bells…
Photos by Andrew Bradberry
How we got there: Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, then an hour flight to Bodrum, Turkey. From Bodrum we took a 45 minute (ish) ferry to Kos and then a 15 minute ferry ride to Kalymnos. (Most people fly into Athens and take another flight to Kos.)
Where we stayed: Vasilis Studios a quick scooter ride into town (Masouri) or a 15-20 min walk. The owner Poppy is friendly and the place is clean and comfortable.
Scooters: Some folks rented bikes and others cars, but it’s easiest to get around on scooters. If you can’t tell, I decided that they weren’t so bad by the end of the trip.
Favorite climbs in the 5.7-5.12 range:
Arianna, Arhi, 5a+: Slab can be fun! Climb Optasia too.
Blind Test, Dolphin Bay, 5c+: Giant jugs and the ocean.
Argo Navis, Odyssey, 6a: Easy slab to juggy overhang.
Thetis, Arhi wall, 6b: Tufa greatness.
Kalynikhla, Kalydna 6b: Tufa blob dance.
Uncle Ernie, Panorama, 6c+: Stalactite rests and technical climbing.
Red Sea Secrets, Arginonta, 7a: Tufa climbing followed by a tech-y ending.
Nickel, Kalydna, 7a+: 32m of fantastic climbing that keeps getting harder.
Coffee beta: It’s not so good here. Americanos are probably your best choice.
Favorite places to eat: Aegean and Miltos
Favorite rest days: Drinking 3 euro wine and eating too much cheese, hiking to the Sikati cave and secluded beach below it, and visiting the town of Pothia.
Climbing in November: Whoever decided that Kalymnos was only nice until November was wrong. Crowds die down during the first week of November, but most places stay open until around November 15. Weather got a little rainy towards the end of our trip, but the temperatures were perfect for climbing. Bring your puffy for the nights!