Monday, 28 May 2012

The Last Sandbag

We went climbing with Hinton and Yudai at the Grande Grotta the next day, I was still feeling very tired and weak and as a result only climbed a polished 6a+. Jess and Joe started projecting again. Joe picked something he knew wouldn’t take him much time, an 8a+ going up the middle of the cave. Jess picked one that would test his mental game and endurance, pushing them to the max. A 40m 7c was just an endurance fest of steep tufa climbing. One would get fatigued very quickly and dehydrated about half way up, and the ability to keep going after that point is incredible. He said to Joe and I not to let him down till he made it to the end. After another fall at about ¾, he said he was parched and needed to come down. Did Joe and I let him down? Of course not, trying to push, he only got more frustrated and after 5 mins of just hang dogging, we had no choice but to lower him. We were not in the mood to put up with the wrath of Jess Tarry. Dave and Yudai took our advice on classics and went off toward Panorama doing many of the routes we did on our first days (Cyclops, Bitman, Uncle Ernie, Uncle Bert, Kaly Pipe), all amazing routes.
Jess on his endurance fest project
            Neither Jess nor Joe sent that day, but had definitely made progress on the routes. Soon the day of climbing was over and it was time to head back. Jess was tired and after dinner went to bed. Joe and I went to Daves for a drink and some Greek dessert which I now forget the name of.
            We head back to the Grotta the following day and jump on our projects; today I feeling much better and picked out a short 7a+ to project. The beginning and ending were easy, but had a middle part that had and extremely hard sequence of moves. Joe commented that is was the hard 7a+ he has ever done. After one session of working it I was able to work out the moves, involving a killer toe hook. After that each time I jumped on it, I was going for the send but failed all 4 times. Jess gave up his project after one more try, he didn’t feel like he was making any progress on it and was not having fun anymore. Joe sent his on his second try of the day. I was losing power fast on the 7a+ and when no one had anything they wanted to do we decided to gear up and do a 4 pitch route going right over the cave of the Grotta. It was an easy one, and we want to do it for the view, it was also Joe last day, we thought it would make good bonding time.
Multi Pitch started in the bottom left corner
            As we were packing our bags, Dave and Yudai came over, they had finished climbing as well. Dave suggested going in teams of two. Yudai didn’t want to go, it was his rest day. So we split up. Jess and I went first, and Joe and Dave followed. Jess led the first pitch, which was surprisingly difficult and took some time figuring out where we had to go. The second pitch, I led, and had one of the coolest sections ever. Its hard to explain in words, but everyone after agreed with me. It was fantastic climbing, and soon we were at the beginning of the last pitch. Jess and I talked and decided that since it was Joe’s last day, we had to mess with him a little bit. This pitch was grade 5.8 and traversed out and then started going up. Jess led and on his way he began ticking the tiniest holds he could find. Ticking is a way of pointing out all the good holds. We knew Joe took this seriously and after using a couple well-ticked holds at the bottom, we knew he would fall for it. Near the top, the route goes out right, but there are no bolts so we didn’t know. Jess continued up and thus ran out of bolts, luckily he made it to the top. On his way up he was still ticking and chalking up hold, really putting in a lot of effort to make it look legit. After scrambling around the top he finally found the anchors and where the route should have gone. I followed up, knowing not to use the ticked holds. I made it up and for some reason yelled back to Dave, the route comes up right, which Dave then told to Joe who was going to lead it. I thought that was it for the prank he would never fall for it now.
            I sat back and waited, trying my best to escape the sun while Jess went ahead to look for the anchors in which we repel down off of. After about 10mins I hear yelling coming from Joe. “Dave! I don’t know where to go! DAVE!!!!!!!” I remember thinking; there is no way this worked. I crawl out to the edge and look down, nothing there. I then looked right and there is Joe 20 feet away from me level and on the cliff, holding onto holds that have prickly cacti pocking out. “Tyler! Where are the anchors!” “Way over here” I replied. “You have got to be kidding me!” He traversed over and finally clipped into the anchors. Jess by this time is back and laughing, and Dave comes up, telling us all the funny things Joe said on his lead.
“Dave! I’m on the shittiest crimps, ones two fingers! This is actually quiet ha….Dave! there’s a Jug out right! Those bastards sand bagged me!”
“Dave he went up left, this hold has a lot of chalk on it, he must of rested here for a while!”
These are a few lines coming out of the mouth of Joe Skopec! I was on the ground laughing so hard. After we got our giggles out and Joe got his curses out, we hiked to the repel. 62 meter repel in Birkenstocks was quite interesting and a first for me. It was an amazing last day and one that we will joke about for a long time. After we made the last supper, ate together outside and drank while Joe packed. We convinced him to stay up, he might as well be tired on the plane. Soon we were passed out and it was 6am. Joe woke me up with one more successful steam roll, we said our goodbyes and he was gone. Bye Bye Joe.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Irox & Pescatore

The following day we decided to check out a couple crags named Pescatore and Irox, on the island Talendos. This required a ferry which we got on at 8am, costing 5 Euros each to drop us off right at the base of the cliff. The Scottish couple happened to have the same plans so we were able to climb with them all day. We started climbing at Pescatore which was in the shade until 2pm then moved over to Irox. I started the warm up which I absolutely butchered, the sun was in my eyes so I ended up zig-zaging through two different routes, and by the time I got to the top, the rope drag was so much I could barely stand up and clip the anchors. When I was lowered I was still able to see the line and surprised I only went wrong in one section, anyways I was able to fix it for the other two, then it was off to the other side of the crag where the harder climbs were. Joe and Jess started on a 7b with a really hard bouldery start, while I was with the Scotts doing a really cool 7a+ which went in and out of tufas. I didn’t get this first try but was close enough that I gave it one more go and sent it! Such a good feeling.
            There was a classic 7c+ called Amores Perros at this crag, which Joe really wanted to flash, so he called up our strong Scottish friend Ross, and got him to jump on it first to hang draws and figure out beta. Actually Ross was getting on it regardless, Joe just paid attention and when it came time he did what needed to be done. His first 7c+ flash. Jess jumped on a 7c? right beside which had a super hard boulder problem at the beginning which he could not get past. Joe had to come to the rescue and retrieve the draws, although he did not send and said it was harder then the 7c+ he had just done. The sun was starting to makes its way the cliffs edge so we packed our stuff and headed back towards Irox.
            This late in the day, Irox was packed with climbers and even had a little day care center set up under a cave roof where all the wives and babies hung out. All the classic climbs had lines, I figured this out when I brought my rope up to two climbs, and climbers swarmed me saying that they were in line and what was I doing, I had to wait. Yada yada yada yada. I was confused and just said okay and left. One of the couples that was in line for the 7a, decided it was too busy and were going to another crag. They were nice enough to come get me and tell me I can jump on the route. This route was snaking left and right of the bolt line and was really hard to read. I made it to the 3 bolt at my chest but failed to find a good enough hold to clip from, then suddenly one of the crimps I was holding in my left hand exploded and I fell. It happened so fast and before I knew it I was standing on the ground and Joe was up in the air. Weird. Oh well, I gave it a second shot and made it to the top. It had an amazing roof section at the top. Jess on sighted and Joe flashed this route after me.
            Joe after jumped on another 7c+ making it to the top but the crux was a bit wet so he never did get back on it. It was a different style then the last, a bouldery overhanging crux. While Jess was climbing the 7a (which was more like a 7a+, we all agreed) Sam, the Scottish girl, had a bad fall on lead, when her feet hit a section of slab, flipping her upside down, smashing her back into the rock. She was lowered and luckily did not hit her head. A couple scraps and bruises later, that was the end of their day. The ferry was coming back soon and they wanted to catch but their draws were still up on the wall. We told them that we would retrieve them and meet them out for pizza later. They were thankful and ran to pack their things and catch the ferry.
            I retrieved the draws, and that was the end of our climbing. There was another ferry coming and we were all too pooped to do anymore climbing. We pack our things and caught the next ferry, playing a game of catan on the way back to port.
            We relaxed a bit at home, when the Ross and Sam strolled by, so we invited them over for a drink. One of the shop owners beside us saw us drink and because he likes us so much, gave us a 1.5litre of white wine and a can of muscles. We accepted with a smile but still haven’t opened either. After a few drinks and laughs we head out to the best pizza my mouth has ever had the pleasure of tasting at the Gecko. We got 3 pizzas (2 country and 1 Kalymnos) to split between the 5 of us and a round of Sambrinos. It was delicious. At the end of the night we went our separate ways and all passed out in our beds. Thank the lord it was a rest day the next morning.
            Dave and Yudai showed up early the next morning. We got together and showed them around, pointing out the best spots to eat, buy groceries, and get clean water. They were eager to go and check out the climbing so after a quick tour they headed up to Iannis. We went and did some snorkeling in a new area. It was the same, besides seeing a jellyfish and doing some bouldering on the ocean floor. After 30 minutes the water was too cold to stay in any longer. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, sleeping or gaming.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


High up on Francalypso, I climbed the steep sharp rock, only 15 feet until I reach Joe huddled up in his sweater at the belay station. As I look up at Joe with a look of panic on my face, a storm cloud slowly forms over his head. He looks up momentarily then back at me, all he does is smile and let out a maniacal laugh.
            It was early Friday morning, and our gear was laid out before us on the bed. Harness? Check. 80m Rope? Check! 14 Draws? Check! Wait only 14 draws? Are you sure, aren’t there 50m pitches? We take a quick glance at the guidebook again and confirm that it is 14 draws, as well as two 50m pitches. The pitches were graded 5b and 6b, so we weren’t worried about run outs. Jess was still sick and weak from the night before, and with fear of being stuck on a wall with diarrhea, decided to opt out. Joe and I packed our bags and headed for the cliff.
Joe and I
            The route we picked out is called Francalypso (overall grade of 6c+) and contains 4 pitches (5b, 50m, 6b, 50m, 6a, 20m, 6c+, 25m) a total of 145m straight up the cliff face dubbed Ocean Dream. The approach was the usual stroll through town, walking by all the locals, each one preparing their shops for another day of customers. By now we know the majority of them and wave saying our good mornings as we pass by. It is a long walk on the street to the edge of town where we veer off on an old dirt road going up hill to another road, which we followed for 200 feet before heading up the goat trails. Walking by Odyssey, we passed some climber preparing for their day of climbing. Joe was walking in the lead and due to our 100% focus on where our feet were being placed we missed the trail that split right to head up cliff. Instead we kept heading directly up. There is no exaggeration when I say that this walk; this epic was the most strenuous hike I have ever done. First off I was in Birkenstocks, which had no business in terrain such as that. We were also both carrying 30lb backpacks, not a ton but enough to feel it in the calves. Thirdly we were ascending a shit covered 75 degree ruble field with lose boulders everywhere. Every time you would take a step you would lose a couple inches due to falling rocks under your feet. This was the first time we stopped half way for a water break on an approach. The top ended with a slab section; steep and hard enough to make the hairs on your back stand up. We made it to the beginning of the climb.
            After I quick bite to eat, fresh bread bought that morning we geared up. Looking up we could not spot the first bolt, was this where it started? After a couple seconds of searching we realized it was about 15 feet up the climb. Joe you can lead. As he was climbing up to the first clip, the rock was wet in some area, there were no chalked up holds so we had no idea where to grab, but on the plus side the friction was amazing, almost anything could be grabbed and pulled up on. After the 2nd bolt there was another long run out, one which decking was inevitable if he fell or slipped. We pressed on to a ledge where we set up a belay station. We had only completed 15m of the 50m climb, but thought it would help if the belayer (me) could at least see the climber. Once I climbed up to Joe, we quickly did what we needed to do then Joe was off again. There was an 80% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon and we wanted to climb fast and finish before. But the skies were starting to turn grey. Mother nature had other plans. Joe began again riding a huge flake of rock that looked like it was about to rip off, and came into a sharp slab section. Having to find all the holds, made climbing slow and tedious, the opposite of what we wanted.
The View
            Joe reached the top without much problem, setting up the belay station and putting me on belay. I climbed up to him cleaning our gear as I went. It was a beautiful climb, but I was getting a little too high for comfort. I would look out below me and everything was so small, people were ants and the giant boulders we walked by were pebbles. It almost made you feel dizzy, but the view out over the Mediterranean is one I will never forget. I reached Joe, having just completed the first pitch of four. But it was beautiful, the movements, the rock, the view, everything. We traded the rope for the draws and Joe was off again up the 50m 6b. It was the same type of climbing as the first pitch technical and slab. He was maybe 40 feet above me when he yelled back; I don’t see the next bolt. I replied, “It must just be over the next bulge.” It wasn’t. This is one of the scariest moments of my life, the bolt was spotted maybe 20 feet away, and Joe was already 15 feet above the last. We had already found out the grades were a sandbag, the 5b was harder then a 5b and this 6b was not looking like a 6b. Joe put on his game face and pressed on. 10 feet away now (possible 60 foot fall, give or take a few feet for rope stretch) and Joe grabs a jug. He doesn’t use it to shake out, well not at first. First he lends back and looking down at this now useless rope, and then at me and starts laughing, just laughing as loud as he can. I remember thinking, this guy has gone insane with fear, his brain was fried and now he’s crazy and I’m stuck in the middle of this cliff with this lunatic. It doesn’t help the imagination that storm clouds are still over his head as he laughs down at me. After his insane moment end (5 minutes of laughing) Joe shakes out and becomes a hero when he finally clips the bolt. It felt like this had been going on for hours, slow motion took over. He finished the pitch after that without much more trouble. I climbed up to him once again.
            Now, 100m high I was shaking in my shoes, when I reached Joe at the hanging belay station, I was so frightened I couldn’t concentrate, ignore all of Joe’s question and breathing very heavily. I anchored myself into the station and Joe mentioned taking my shoes off for comfort, I managed to get one off before the moving around made me uneasy. It took a long time to become comfortable with the heights. The wind was extremely strong, and we were both cold still being in the shadow of the mountain. We knew that if it started raining, we would probably be unable to finish the climbs, therefore being stuck, and hypothermia would have been a likely possibility. But we still yet to see a raindrop fall from the dark skies.
Hanging Belay
            I belayed Joe on the 3rd shortest and most beautiful pitch of the entire climb. The second half of the pitch involved climbing up a massive arête, which finished at the next station. I was able to control my breathing and not make every move a frantic race, thus enjoying the climbing and the movements. The last pitch was the hardest, taking on a slight over hanging face. Before I could say belay on, Joe was off, and quickly under the crux. Unfortunately he read the rock wrong and fell on the crux, wreaking his onsight of the entire route. On his second attempt he made the moves no problem, disappointed he fell missing some key holds. He made it to the belay station and like every other time I climbed up to him, but this time I passed him working my way to the top. We didn’t quite notice when, but sometime during the last pitch the skies had cleared and the sun shined down on our ascent! Just before the top, I stopped and sat down belaying Joe up to meet me and we went onto the top together, and the feeling of accomplishment was greater then I have ever felt before. I can’t describe it. Joe felt the same and we sat on top and had lunch to one of the most amazing views. We were onto of Kalymnos and could see almost the entire island.
            The walk down was very easy, but one could not take a step without squishing 8 grasshoppers, they were everywhere. Also on the walk down we found the trail that we were meant to take on the way up. It was way easier then what we did, so the whole walk down seemed like a joke. 
On top of Kalymnos
            The next day Jess was back in fighting shape and ready to go out and battle some more routes. Joe and I were kind of glad to have him back. We head up to a crag called Ivory Towers, which is right near Iannis, the crag we had projected earlier at. We tried to warm up on a really cool 6a+, but in the end it was too easy and none of us felt warm. This is the 6a+ that Joe top roped. We picked out a 6c+ which started in the same area and did some really cool moves, traversing under a roof using tufas, and then up over the roof. I came one move off from on sighting this after missing the key jug! It was then onto a 7b called Dreamline. Jess went first and figure out all the Beta, this was an amazing climb which I’m defiantly going to try for the red point making it my first 12b. After crimping your way through the bottom crux you come up to a huge bulge which you set yourself up on two slopers on either side of the bulge. Almost at full arm span, you hop your left foot up first then right foot and you are really scrunched up. You stand up and there is a jug right in front of your face. The next part I really enjoy happened right after in which you get two crappy crimps making a “V” shape, which you have to pull up on to the jug. I could not do this move until I tied my sweater on as a cap and dynoed from the crimp to jug, just reaching it with my left hand, my feet flew out, but I stuck it. Joe and Jess then proceeded to call me Super Cow. All and all it is a fantastic line!
            We moved onto a 7b+ called The Craic. Joe went first getting the flash fairly easily. I was up next. I had never been on a 12c before, and it showed. The bottom section leading up to the main wall was  out of this world. It featured some of the thinnest crimps I have ever been able to grab, and a ballerina style of footwork. We danced up this section on nothing more then credit card size crimps on rock that looked like it was from outer space. I loved it. It was the next section the killed me. An over hanging tufa section, which just killed me cardio wise. By the time I got to the top I was exhausted and dehydrated. But other then that it was another amazing climb. Jess got the red point on dream line, and wants to go back to red point The Craic. Joe flashed a 12d called Lactic Shock. He came very close to falling. Coming out of a rest into a sustained section of the climb which traverses over a roof, he crossed his left hand into a 2 finger pocket. The next move was a big throw out right. He missed the hold and his feet cut. Did he fall? Not Joe Skopec. Jess was belaying at the time, and was very confused why the rope did not go tight. Joe was hanging there by two fingers, his legs squirming in mid air, useless. Flailing around his feet eventually got back on the wall and he made the move. It was an amazing fight to the anchors. The Scottish couple were at the crag that day and Ross looked over seeing Joe hanging there and said to himself “What are those crazy Canadians doing.” It was fun to watch and we all had a great day.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Sausage and Potatoes

I can’t sleep; waking up early is going to suck. Joe is next to me snoring and Jess is up every 5 minutes running to the bathroom. Plus the neighbors are using their outside voices and slamming doors. Jerks. At least there are no mosquitoes. It’s day 17 on the island and tomorrow is an 80% chance of thunderstorms, the first rain we’ve seen in Greece. We forgot it existed. We had one other close call with thunderstorms, but the clouds hit Talendos and veered away from us, probably releasing its load another small island in the Mediterranean. Today was a rest day, and I think that’s part of the reason for my lack of fatigue at the moment. We did nothing all day, besides a few grocery errands. I began my new book today, Cat’s Cradle, about a journalist trying to right a book on one of the scientist who helped with the Atom bomb. On page 50 and it’s quite interesting. Besides that we played some catan, napped and tried downloading another movie. It currently sits at 51%. It was too cold to snorkel, Jess went out for a little while Joe and I napped, but didn’t last long in the rough water.
Joey's lunch, notice Jess matches with the table cloth
            Joe just woke up and told me to sleep, I said I can’t because he is snoring, he corrected me and said I can’t because I’m chubby. With that he fell right back asleep. He made us a wonderful lunch today, also the cause of Jess’s present upset stomach; well I’m not sure how much he actually made himself since he had every local woman helping him out. Two started the fire and coals in the bbq, while another prepared the sausage and potatoes. I’m not sure Joe did anything other then coordinate everyone. Well he set the table and called us when everything was finished. I was happy because he remembered the ketchup.
            While Joe was cooking, Jess and I were checking out prices for diving and found 80 euros can get us basic training and a dive. Jess is already trained but will do it with me to refresh himself. Joe has no interest, so we’ll wait until he leaves.
            Providing the weather holds up, we picked out some multi-pitch routes to do on Talendos. Hope all goes well. Joes awake again, time to stop writing. Hope all is well my friends.


Sending Petranta, notice the knee bar pad :) (my t-shirt)
We awoke to the all too familiar smell of “sendage.” It was a Wednesday morning and no one mentioned the stench of sendage for fear of jinxing its benefits. We all had standing projects yet to be completed, and it was our last day of climbing before another rest day. The pressure was on. The mosquito killer stopped working in the middle of the night, so no one slept incredibly well. Waking up every 30mins to buzzing in your ear, only to swat at nothing but air in a drunk-like frenzy. Just by looking at one another you could tell there was a lack of sleep, no questions needed to be asked. I decided to stay in bed to get a couple extra hours of hopefully mosquito free sleep, and meet the other two up at the crag later. It was 9am when I awoke from my restless sleep, feeling recharged and energized like never before. Having already eaten breakfast with the other two at 6, I strapped on my bag, plugged in the iPod and headed up towards the crag by 9:10.
Showing off our sponsored knee bar pad by Grand River Rocks 
            When I arrived Jess was already working out the moves to Super Themelina. After he came down I did a quick warm up on Adolf at the Bay, and felt extremely strong on it. Joe was staying warm as he was going for the send after I finished. I came down and Joe plugged into his iPod, Paper Towels playing loudly, and he was putting the utmost care into strapping on his shoes, tying the knot, and applying the liquid chalk. He was ready. I came running up to belay, yelling in my best announcer voice “The challenger, weighing in at an astonishing 1.65 stone, undefeated in his last 3 battles, Joe Skopec. And the reigning champion of the crag, Racooomelooooo!!” It received a smile from the very “in the zone” Joe. I attached the gri gri and off he went! The whole time he made it look super easy cruising through the first crux! We knew he would send as we watched him hopped over the bulge of the last crux. But as he started clipping the anchors his left foot began to crumble away, it was a ticking time bomb. Luckily he clipped the anchors quickly and was able to take the weight off the foot. Congratulations on the send Joe!
Joey relaxing after his send
            Jess was tired and wanted a bit more rest so I tied up to attempt my project. Just like Joe I cruised through the bottom pumpy crux, hooking the knee bar and scrambling up the tufa to the first rest. It was only after the rest that my foot slipped and I fell. I was disappointed but I knew it would happen today. Another attempt later and I fell missing a jug, one move away from the slab section, which would be a sure send. On my third attempt I nailed every move, never once feeling weak or pumped. Making it to the slab section, I knew just one more dance with the devil was in between me and my first 12a (7a+). We tangoed our way up the steep sharp slab, traversing across monos and tiny crimps. Flirting with death has never been so calming before, I kept my poker face and before I knew it I was doing my full extension stretch to clip the anchors. I had done it! But it was weird, I didn’t feel like a fought hard for this send, it seemed easy and I wasn’t as satisfied as I thought I would be. On to 12b I suppose.
            Jess was drained of energy all day, sneaking in naps whenever he could. The 13’s were just killing his body and being the 3rd day had no power left. He still got up the ropes sending Themelina (7b+) and Sevasti (7b) but when it came to the extension (Super Themelina) just could not connect the moves. He wasn’t too worried about it and was happy about nailing a couple more hard 12’s. It was our last day of projecting, from now on we will just tour the different crags and put the miles on all the classics.
Working on Petranta
Jess Tarry being a ninja on Themelina

           That night we celebrated with some beers and watch a movie/show called Treasure Island. It was terrible; I left 10mins in while Joe and Jess stayed due to the lack of something better to do. Goodnight Καλιμικτον
Joe busting a massive heel hook
Celebrating with some brewski's

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

It's Joe not Joey

"Is this how you belay?"
We began our well-deserved rest day, the same way we always do: lazily. Sleeping in, taking our time with breakfast while each of us indulged in our own activity. Jess playing Radiant Defense on my laptop. Joe playing worms on the ipad, trying to steamroll me in between turns. I just try to sleep more. We finally roll out of our beds, eat some breakfast and prepare for the day. Today, Mike told us about a great place to snorkel in behind the studios, so we decided to check it out. The approach was difficult, especially in bare feet, Jess Tarry was the only sensible one, wearing his black keen sandals. After hustling ahead out of sight he decided to climb a tree and ambush us. Luckily I was fast enough to get ahead and didn’t look like a fool (such as Joe) when he jumped down. We got to the water edge and realized we had to dodge a minefield of rocks riddled with purple sea urchins just to get to the deeper water. Jess Tarry, being an avid snorkeler, was first in the water. Joe and I, being land lovers, followed after a number of minutes had gone by (slowly). After committing to diving in, the water temperature really wasn’t that bad and the sights were spectacular. It got very deep very quickly, and the water was just short of being crystal clear. It wasn’t the fish or the coral that caught my attention but the maze of rocks down there. Hidden caves everywhere. Joe didn’t venture out too far, due to his shark phobia, but still enjoy the moment. This offered great opportunities to sneak up from below and scare him, which Jess Tarry took advantage of. Jess and I went out fairly far, every once in a while diving down to swim side by side with the fish. After maybe a half hour, we started getting cold and headed back in to join Joey on the beach. Nothing else worth mentioning happened on the rest day, we just ended the day with dinner and a movie. Yeah that sounds like a date. It really was a date with myself and Joe creeping the back ground; I was sitting in front of the mirror. 
Lazy Climbers
I just remembered something worth mentioning! I hope I describe it well because it was the highlight of my trip (comedy wise). Joe went out for some late night grocery shopping, while Jess and I stayed home and joked around about Keto and Pink Panther. For those of you who do not know who Keto is, he was hired by the Pink Panther to hide in his mansion, and ambush him every night when he comes home, just to keep him on his toes. Every night the Pink Panther comes home and yells through the house “Not tonight Keto! I’m tired, I had a long long day at work. Come out!” Keto never listens and usually attacks him regardless. Anyways, We decided to scare Joe, but filling my bed covers with pillows, making it look like I was laying down there. After recalling his steam rolling fetish we came up with the brilliant idea to split the beds apart, creating a gap in between and covering it with blankets. I hid in the closet and waited. Joe came back and Jess played his part, keeping his voice down and saying that I was sleeping, Joe knew something was up, but Jess didn’t budge with his act. Joe eventually started to believe that it was actually me under the covers. He brushed his teeth and got ready for bed, not suspecting a thing! He realized that his pillow was gone (being used under my covers) and believe I took it. Jess told him to  steam roll me and take it back. Joe said “ok ,ok….” The moment of truth “wait I need a flash light.” He wanted to see where his pillow was and after turning the light realized there was a gap in between the beds. He still thought I was under the covers, so I used this chance and jumped out at him from the closet. HE JUMPED TWO FEET IN THE AIR! And had the most horrified face expression I have ever seen. We laughed for hours.
            The next morning, the sun rose, it was project day. We hiked up the hill to Iannis crag where our routes were waiting. The walk up to the crag is quiet a bit easier then the one to Grand Grotta area, and we have fallen into a routine of wearing ipods on the walk up. We were always too focused and exhausted to talk to one another anyways. At the top we take 5 minutes to catch our breath, then its shoes and rope out of the bags and time to saddle up. Joe and I warm up on an amazing climb called Adolf in the Bay, which at the end has one of my favorite moves “The Iron Cross” to a pinch! Jess warms up on Attitude, stopping just before his project begins.
            We don’t really have a routine as to who goes first, I’m usually flashed pumped after our warm up so I take a little longer to regenerate, its usually Jess or Joe. On this particular day Joe was the chosen one, and spent a burn refreshing the beta in his mind and waking up his finger muscles. Jess then gets on Attitude extension making it up to the crux move no problem. The move that stands in front of him now, has been described to me as a V7 boulder problem 35m high. It is and incredibly hard move and after a number of attempts, he came down unsuccessful.
            I was able to reach the top of attitude with only one rest, due to a wet tufa pinch. I should have made the next move, one more higher from the bolt, but fell. I sent it next go and came down happier than a Tele Tubby. It was time to pick a harder project. There was a 7a+ that starts the same as Draconian Devil, inside the cave, but comes out of the cave with powerful moves and finishes on a slab. Let the games begin.
Our warm up
            Joe and Jess both put a couple more burns in on their routes, Jess still not able to make the one move wonder on his route, gives up and decides to try a more sustained 7c+ instead. But first he puts draws up for me on the 7a+. His 7c+ is call Super Themelina (an extension to Themelina). I got on my new project, making it to the top no problem, just with many rests. The slab (less than 90degrees) section at the top is the scariest/sharpest climbing I have ever done. If I fell I would be cheese graded down the slope. I did it once, ticked the holds I wanted and won’t do it again until I climb all the way there with no rests.
            There were a couple others at the crag climbing that day including one of the ladies from Vancouver climbing with an older British lady named “Jerry.” They invited us 3 handsome boys over to their beach house that night for some drinks. Also at the crag were an older couple from Spain, the guys name was Pachi. He was climbing strong, and use to be even stronger before his injuring. After talking to Joe about the 8b and offering some beta, not just telling but demonstrating, he started telling us stories about back in the day, climbing with Sharma and Dani. It was really interesting to listen to the stories.
Joe demonstrating his amazing belay skills
            After climbing, we decided to go snorkeling again, this time at a new spot. We were dropping off polysporin to the Vancouver lady and walked along the beach to try and find their house. We never found it and walked a long way along the beach. Joe didn’t learn from last time and once again did not wear shoes. It was hell for him to walk across the sharp rocks and boulders covering the coastline. We found a dock, which we decided to take off from. I promised Joe to stay on the outside, closest to the wide-open sea, keeping a constant look out for shark. I don’t know what Joe expected me to do if a shark were to swim up, but it got him in the water. Once again it was an amazing time, and Joe and I joked around with different sign language, turning our snorkel route into a rock climbing route with rests and cruxes.
Joe on his project Racomelo
            We went home and cooked our usual dinner. We packed some beers and a bag of grapes to bring to the “party”. Immediately upon arrival, we get offered gin and soda, I’m the only one who accepts, I wanted to be a good guest! Josie hands me a drink concocted by herself, and probably contain 80% gin, 10% soda and the other 10% was probably the lime wedge. My mother taught me very good manners so I drank it with a smile. Pouring the last sip into the bushes I then moved onto my beer. Refreshing! Joe and I were amazing wingmen, and when the girl that Jess Tarry had the hots for came over to chat, we pretended to see something in the ocean and left the two alone. Unfortunately she caught on to our tactics too, and quickly mentioned her boyfriend back home in Vancouver. Oh well the thought was there. Meeting many climbers, the majority from the states, we concluded the night watching Boogie till you poop. It’s a rock climbing film on youtube, documenting a climber on a crack climb, when his knee gets wedge in the rock. A dude named Cedar Wright comes to rescue and situated himself under the climber. The climber is super hung over, and ends up shitting his pants. The reason the video came into topic is because Cedar Wright is here climbing at Kalymnos. We met him one day at Spartacus wall and offer to get stuck in a knee bar and shit our pants. He didn’t seem too impressed but his partner replied that he had his filming stuff here. We walked home then hit the hay for a new day of projecting.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


After a great rest day, we felt recharged to head back up the steep hill, through the goat gate, pass the tree of life and through the labyrinth of rocks to attempt our projects. Joe and I warmed up on mine since the first half is jug hull, with big full extension moves. Joe also brushes the cruxes for me. We finish warming up and the crag starts filling up with other climbers. All our projects feature cruxes that are our anti-style. Joe’s (Daniboy, 8a)is very steep and long, beginning on big holds and getting smaller, to monos. It also featured a knee bar, which Jess had to give him the 101 on. There is a first time for everything. It took Joe a lot of work build the strength to connect all these moves. It saved him a ton of time when he received beta from two climbers out of Vancouver.
Jess’s (Arena, 7c) project was a long sustained route, with one insanely hard move in the middle! He didn’t make this move once on our first two days of projecting. It was a full suspension move, from a right hand side pull, to left hand pinch. To imagine what he was shooting for, bend your index finger towards your thumb leaving about 2cms of room before actually making contact. That is the position your fingers are in when holding the rock. Joe worked it for a bit, and couldn’t pull the move. He says it was the humidity making the friction bad. Maybe so.
Working the crux of Alexis Korbas
My project (Alexis Korbas 7a+) had a very pumpy beginning with no seriously good rests, well for me at least. Than just as the rock started to become overhanging, the rock became super small, sharp holds with delicate moves in between. My first mission was to hit a small 2 finger crimp from a 2 finger right hand pocket. After managing some heel hook beta I made the move. Now the only thing in between me and my send is the move from the crimp to side pull, fairly far away. This move must be made absolutely static or else the pull will throw you off the wall.
Jess, laced up this day, and the one time he made the hard move on his route, he sent his first 5.12d!!!!! Congradulations!!! It is important to note that I was the one belaying. Joe and I came close but did not send today. As well as his project Jess also sent Spartacus, a beautiful 7b+ going up the cave beside Daniboy. He did this on his 2nd go!
Making some friends
Once again the next morning we did our usual routine and headed up to the cliff side. Jess and I warmed up on a route called, Les Amazones, which has an awesome sequence between two tufas, which offer stunning stemming capabilities. Joey did his usual warm up on my project, brushing the thin holds for me. He is a very nice guy. Sometimes. Joe finally sent his project, getting his first 8a of the trip on the first burn of the day. I put about 4 burns into Alexis Korbas, but without succeeding, I was getting frustrated and decided we move on. I’ll come back and send soon.
We had planned to go put up draws on new projects in the Iannis sector, which is closer to our studio. But by the time we got back, were just drained from the hike, and did not feel like hiking back up. So we had a relaxing afternoon watching climbing movies, and Jess picked out a nice chick flick for us to watch.
Finally the sun sets
The next day we woke up to light rain, which quit around 8:30am. Giving the rock a couple hours to dry and air out we headed out around 10:30. All 3 of us warmed up on a 6c+ called Adolf in the Bay. An amazing climb, which will defiantly be done again in the future, then it was off to scope out the projects. Jess’s and mine shared the same start. In fact he is doing an extension to mine called Attitude Extension (7c+). Just Attitude is 7a; I picked something a little easier than Alexis Korbas just to gain some motivation and much needed strength endurance. Joe saw a bouldery route called O Draconian Devil (8b) but after pulling some of the moves, determined that the crux move was all of his injured hand. He cleaned the route and picked another 8b called Racomelo. We only got the chance to give a couple burns on our projects before the sun hit hard on the cliff side. Our plan for the day was to bring lots of food and water and try to live through the sun until it cooled down enough to climb again. Jess had to go to the washroom, so left back to the studio, and felt no remorse to take his time and grab a sit down coffee. He was also instructed to bring our games up so we had something to do in our cave.
Joe working the moves out on Draconian Devil
The sun hits the cliff around 3:30 and at about 6:30 it drops low enough in the sky that the ocean breeze is cool enough to provide good climbing temperatures. Around 7:30 it disappears behind the island of Talendos, this we call the Golden Hour. The same thing happens in Lions Head. Where we are climbing there is a cave, full of goat shit – actually the whole crag is full of goat shit, and the cave was in shade for what we were hoping the entirety of the 3 hours before it became cool. This was not the case, the cave provided shade for maybe the first 45mins. The rest was an absolute sweat fest. I thought we would die of heat exhaustion. Jess finally came back and we begun a game of catan. Half way through, heat stroke took the best of Joe and he chugged the rest of the water, declaring that it was everyman for himself. After he saw a mirage out of an old dirty sock, Jess and I figured it had gone too far and gave him our stash of water we had hidden. Clouds rolling in blocked the sun sooner then expected and we were able to start climbing again! We were all able to get a couple more burns before I headed back to start dinner, and Joe and Jess joined me after one last burn. To celebrate the sending that occurred, we went out for some beers and played some Catan. Typical.

For Our Mothers

Team 5.10 would like to say Happy Mothers Day, to the moms that raised us to be the awesome climbers/people we are. Without you we would not be where we are today; in Kalymnos. Thank you for all the love and support throughout the years!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Mario Kart Grand Prix

Waking up to the sun shinning through the French doors leading out to our patio never gets old. We begun our rest day the way we begin any day here, with a delicious egg breakfast. It was decided early in the day that we would rent some scooters and take a tour of the island, the way it ought to be seen. After our morning chores we went to a scooter rental shop, located right beside Mike’s so it wasn’t too far away, and rented 2 scooters for 12 Euros each for the day. Split 3 ways it was 8 Euros, and we spent an extra 4.13 to fill them up with gas (they came half full). Renting them from a man with half his heads done up in dreads, and a cigarette constantly in hand, he taught us how to ride them in about 45 seconds and within the first 20 seconds of me at the throttle I almost hit a parked car. Our first order of business was to drive, as safely as possible, to the big super market further into town.
Joe teamed up with me on the Mario’s red scooter and Jess took Warriors yellow scooter, which happened to be faster, and every 5mins he would fly by us. We made it to the super market no problem and surprisingly without any deaths or caused accidents. We bought our groceries and headed back to drop them off, once again Joe teamed up with me. On our way back, we encountered a hill. Team Mario was struggling to get up this hill, due to the weight and the steepness. Joe resorted to his Canadian ways and started doing a paddling motion like in a canoe. Clearly we had no paddle, no canoe and no water, so we looked like a couple of idiots, as usual. This was clarified after a local on a motorcycle drove by, giving us the most peculiar face I have ever seen. Jess at this point was behind us and drove by the local laughing his ass off, and caught the contagious disease and started laughing himself. Joe and I have that effect on people. That’s why everyone wants to be around us.
Jess Tarry making it look easy
Dropping the groceries off at the studio, we consulted the local shop owner across the road about where the best spots are. She showed us a great loop that goes right around the island. It was perfect, so we disembarked on this crazy journey.
The art of maneuvering a scooter through the cities and along the skinny, often very busy streets, isn’t as hard as one would think. We picked up the skill quite fast, well Jess and I did, Joey still had his arms wrapped around my waist enjoying the scenery from the back seat. We made it to our first destination, once again without any troubles, a small village in the middle of the island. We were told that there was a beautiful beach here, but after a good while driving around, we couldn’t find it. It was at this time during the trip that Joe switched to Team Warrior, and I almost drove my scooter off the dock, forever losing it forever in the Mediterranean. We decided to carry on with our journey after getting weird looks from the locals.
On our way to downtown Masouri, I was driving alone behind Team Warrior, when what do my eyes witness, but Joe, once again enjoying the views from the back, reaches into his bag. I remember thinking what is so damn important that he must reach into his bag at this exact moment. After about 2 mins, he turns around with a banana peel in hand. After making his evil smile, he tosses it on the ground. Being the great Mario Kart driver I am, I swerve around it no problem. Dismayed by my maneuvering skills, he sneezes, which I cannot dodge. He later calls this his oil spill move. He uses this tactic about 3 times before I sped ahead for the lead.
Joe, thinking he is going fast
After our little Mario kart dilemma, Joe finally laced up and tried his hand at the scooters. I teamed up with Jess on Team Warrior. We had to stop and wait for Joe to catch up maybe 3 times before he finally got comfortable with the intense speeds we were driving at (60km). After realizing the gas was quite a bit lower on the yellow scooter, it was decided (against my will) that I go with Joe. It lasted about 20mins until Joe didn’t like the add weight on the scooter and didn’t yet trust himself enough to take on downtown. I took over again. We reach downtown and it was a whole new world opened to driving. Honking on every corner, locals flying by you on their loud motorcycles, civilians walking in the middle of the roads. It was lots to look out for. We made it through alive. Thank God. All it all it was the best rest day, I have ever had and unfortunately it was a one time thing. It wouldn’t make sense to rent them again, as we have seen the whole island on the one trip. Later in the day we made a short trip to the shop to buy some snorkeling gear. Joe and I wore the mask and snorkel on drive home, while Jess crashed his scooter into the stairs of the shop. I laughed really hard.
Me speeding by after dodging the banana
Spending the rest of the day doing some snorkeling, making dinner and once again relaxing, getting stoked on our projects which we were hoping on sending the following day. Snorkeling was super cool, saw lots of colorful fish along the rocks bordering the beach. Joey was scared of sharks and didn’t venture out too far. We returned the scooters at 8pm, sat at Mikes for a while then hit the hay sack. Joe did his routine mosquito-killing spree, and I did my routine stealing his pillow for my back while I read.

Friday, 11 May 2012

See the resemblance...All the evil in this world....


We all know how Joe is the silent one out of the group. Never really speaks up, unless of course it’s about his latest send, which he will boast about for hours. Anyways the point is the only thing he talks about is climbing, and no one really knows what he is truly thinking about this trip in general and more importantly the rivalry between Jess. I started some phrases in which he finished; let’s see what’s inside his pretty little head.

Joe being Tourist Joe
Kalymnos : is  where people go to feed goats and maybe do a little climbing here and there =)
My favorite moment thus far is: Tyler eating shit from erika’s hand
Our landlord Mike:  Might think I’m gay with tyler because tyler either slaps my ass or tries to hold my hand every time he see’s us lol…
The Banana King: Would be me because I threw a banana at tyler’s scooter to try to slow him down…I might of failed on my Mario kart skills…
Daniboy: Is just an endurance fest that I’m trying to send… Hopefully after I send this ill be almost as good as tyler and jess.…
Jess Tarry taught: me how to knee bar. He taped a sock on my knee and we trained for hours on how to knee bar… Worse coach ever… Lol I wish that was true lol.
Sleep in a bed next to Tyler has been: The worst thing ever… He talks in his sleep, he hits me, he steals my pillow/ blanket in the middle of the night, and he just smells… But I feel safe sleeping beside him for some reason? Or maybe ill just said that to make him feel better =)
Mosquitoes watch out: For tyler…
My jobs to help out are: To hang draws and to keep tyler from doing something dumb.
I didn’t like the: way Jess helped Erika in her evil ways…
The approaches are: A bitch….Or is that tyler I’m thinking of? Either one works =)
Erika: is kaka head…
I miss: home for some reason….
My lunches are always: gross… I feed mine to the goats…
Dinners are amazing because: Joe Skopec made them
You know what really grinds my gears: Me not sending…
The only reason Jess Is alive is because of his ninja skills
On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the highest), Jess’s annoyance is: 1, but if you ask me about tyler that might be a different answer…

First Projects

Now where did I leave off in the last post? Oh right, we left the crag Arginonta and were headed back to the studios. When spent the afternoon at mikes again, relaxing while Joe took a nap. We decided to go out for dinner since it was Erika and Olly’s last night with us. We went to a restaurant down the street, which you walk up a set of stairs to reach. There was a nice patio overlooking the ocean and the island of Talendos. They had a special that night, and for 8 Euros you got an appetizer salad, either greek or garden salad, and entrée which was some sort of soulvaki and dessert which when I asked what it was the waiter replied “you will see”. Talk about a language barrier, I wonder what would happen if I answered a guest like that at Del Dente. We all ordered some variation of the special along with a Mythos beer. As the waiter brought the beer he spilt one all over Olly. He was very apologetic and embarrassed and later we received an extra beer and some sambuca drinks. We left satisfied. Joe made peace with the alley cats that he once ran away from; he fed them half his dinner, gaining their trust and respect. No more will Joe have to run away or make me hiss at them.
The 5 of us out for dinner, Telendos in the background
We pretty much hit the hay after dinner, all being drained after a long day of climbing. We wanted to wake up early as well so Erika and Olly could get one more crag in. The crag of choice had a very short approach and wasn’t too far down the island. Named Arhi, it featured a giant cave which has a number of routes established by Chris Sharma, it also has a multi-pitch route that looked extremely fun and something that we will probably come back to climb. We started off warming up a route called the End of Mythos a 6c+ with extreme exposure. What I mean by exposure is that even though the route was maybe 25m, the approach up to it is log and steep. So while you’re climbing, you take a quick glance down at your belayer who if it is Joe is not paying the least bit of attention to you, and he does not seem to far away. Whereas if you look to your right, its 400 feet down to the road which seems 20 horizontal feet away from you. It is quiet a feeling, and to remain calm and continue breathing while this feeling is overtaking your body is quiet the skill. This climb was on a sector of the cliff dubbed the balcony, and is located high, above the main area of Arhi crag. Remember the multi pitch route I mentioned earlier? The Balcony is about level with the middle of the second pitch. There is even a sketchier crag called chopi in which you have the cross the multi pitch face via old ropes bolted into the side of the face. We never ventured over there.
After cleaning The End of Mythos, which I highly recommend you do the extra hiking to climb, Jess and Olly stayed on the balcony to try a 7a+ called Swiss Kiss which was an even more exposed route than the first. Asking him now, he says that it was a super cool route, which flowed amazing, but very scary. He found it hard to breath, and Jess is the most calm out of the group. Can’t imagine myself up that high.
Beautiful sunset, photo taken by Erika "evil" Skopec
While Jess was having fun up high, the rest of us went down below to Arhi Right. There were a couple easier tufa climbs there that we led for Erika and Olly to climb. The one was amazing which had an amazing right hand cross move to a sloper, then a high left foot powering up to a pocket. The whole movement felt like a dance choreographed by Mother Nature herself. It soon became that time, when we had to pack up the ropes and the draws and leave the crag. It was around noon, but Olly and Erika had to get back to finishing packing up and catch the ferry back to Kos. We relaxed a bit at the studio, making some lunch and said our farewells to the couple. Joey received a few kisses, which he appeared to not enjoy but deep down inside he was going to miss his so-called evil sister.  And since we are on the evil note, Joe had warned me all week about the evilness that would be joining 2us. I tried to give Erika the benefit of the doubt, having already meeting her and not finding her at all evil. But within the first hour of seeing Erika here in Kalymnos, she offered me some dried out cherries, which I thought to be a super friendly gesture. Well she put them into my hand and I quickly threw them in my mouth. Her reaction turned from a smile to an “omg” expression. She then proceeded to tell me it was goat poop, which in Kalymnos is everywhere. My taste buds had not yet kicked in and so I stood there absolutely disgusted, at a completely lost at what to do. My mouth was frozen for the first couple seconds before I spit them out. Doing my best not to swallow, I found some water to rinse with. I later found out that she had found them on the ground, which is still almost as bad. At this point I was not looking forward to the next 5 days.
Jess crushing the End of Mythos
This, fortunately, was the low point of the trip. Their company was amazing and we all enjoyed those 5 days very much. After the farewells, we went back to walking to crags and walked past Grande Grotta to crag called Spartacus. Our goal: find projects. This crag was perfect, I found a short bouldery 12a called Alexis Zorbas, and directly right of that was a 12d for Jess called Arena. In the middle of the wall is a big cave, and going up the center and out is a route called Daniboy. Joe’s 8a+ project. We met a group of climbers from Vancouver, who were also projecting Daniboy and were able to offer Joe handfuls of beta, as well as the draw were already hung for him. None of sent the first day but gathered valuable Intel as to where feet need to be and where the sweet spots in each hold are. After a hard frustrating day of projecting day we were really looking forward to a rest day!


Since no one really know anything about Jess Tarry, partly because he spends all his time in his basement apartment building terrain for some kind of fantasy game, but also because no one know his true identity. Joe and I first put the pieces together that he was a secret ninja, on a trip to Lion Head. He has recently found out that we now know his secret and has no problem showing off his ninja elite skills. Just to list a few, he catches intruding flies with his bare hands, jumps through the bathroom window and vanishes in thin air only to reappear again behind us on his scooter. We tried to ask him how; he replied that he hid behind a Fanta pop machine. Ya Right! Oh well, there are many secrets we will never know. Anyways I wrote this short question & answer, so our readers can get a better idea of whom Jess Tarry really is. I advise you to read with caution and keep in mind that enemy forces may capture you and try to torture this information out of you.

The Ninja himself on his favorite route in Sikati Cave
Full Name:             Jess Wade Tarry           
Birthday:                   ??/??/1984
Social Insurance #: You're not getting this
Age: He acts like a two year old - Joe
Years Climbing: 3.5
Hardest redpoint: 5.12d
Favorite childhood superhero? Blackhawk. Looking back on it hes pretty soft
Playboy or hustler? Definitely hustler
Game of Thrones or Walking Dead: Game of thrones, Walking dead is a soap opera
Chris Sharma or Adam Ondra? Sharma
Favorite route in Kalymnos? 12b in the sikati cave, crazy fun line (les pirates)
Favorite back home crag?  Lions head but devils glen is looking nice
Who do you miss the most?  Mustard he owes  me batreps
Erika is a cutie, Yes or No? (yes)
Cuter than Joe? (yes)
Most liked attribute about Tyler? His Muscles
Preferred resource in Catan? I favor the wheat ….
How old were you when the power of the chest hair took hold? Oh geeze that’s a tough one, I think as soon as I hit 16 it owned me
How do you take your coffee? Black
Nine inch nails or Tool? Nine Inch Nails
Grigri or ATC? Grigri
Favorite Karate move: Rumble in the Bronks
Weapon of Choice: Morning star
Jackie Chan is: Amazing
Favorite hobby on Kalymnos other than tanning or climbing is: Nerding out with you fools
How many items have been lost so far? I am pulling a Tim I know, so far just my shades and my hat. The hat didn’t even make it to Greece
The smell of goat shit everywhere is: Growing on me
Favorite tea: Macha, all day long
What book are you currently reading? Lord of chaos by Robert Jordan
When did you first become a ninja? August 2011
Joe or Tyler? Joe for lunch Tyler for dinner
Hamburgers or Hotdogs? Hamburgers
Dogs or cats or wild Kalymnos cats? Dogs, the Kalymnos cats are fun when they scare Joe
What would one find in your flask? Tequila
Favorite yoga pose? Warrior 3
Favorite rock climbing hold/move? Jug/Rest
What are you hiding behind the chest hair? More chest hair
What do you most frequently dream about?  Being on a permanent climbing holiday
Do you believe in God? Something maybe probably
Favorite Chick Flick: The Notebook