Friday, 11 May 2012

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!

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