Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kalymnos, Take 3

The Greek island of Kalymnos, a stone’s throw from the Turkish coast, is world famous for its limestone rock climbing. My first visit to the island was with my wife in 2005. We enjoyed it so much that we vowed to return, and we did 4 years later with our young daughter in tow. That was 2009 and I just returned from my third visit to Kalymnos. I was pleased to see much has remained the same from my fist trip almost 10 years ago.

What has changed, though, are the crowds. October has become an extremely busy month for climbing, and the local business owners said this past October was the busiest yet. I arrived on October 20th and was blown away by the climber traffic in town. If you plan to visit at this time, it’s best to prebook accommodation and secure it with a deposit; otherwise desperate climbers waving Euros in the face of studio owners may tempt them to rent out your “reserved room”. It happens, and it’s not a great way to start your trip.

October is a fantastic month for swimming and the weather remains relatively stable, albeit a tad on the warm side for climbing. In November, temperatures slowly cool and if you’re lucky you’ll get blessed with the coveted dry north winds, a welcome shift from the normally humid conditions created by winds arising in Africa, far to the south.

The month you choose to visit will be determined by your vacation preferences, but it’s hard to go wrong at this time of year. Be warned, though, that most business close shop by the last week of November so options for eating out, a great tradition of a Kalymnos climbing vacation, get quite limited.

It’s been said many times before, but if you’re a sport climber and you love quality limestone, Kalymnos must be on your bucket list. No matter your level, the climbing and vacation amenities are truly hard to beat.

Marc Bourdon - Squamish, BC

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