Tuesday, 12 June 2012


This time baby i'll be bulletproof

Yudai drank cheap wine all trip
A single droplet of sweat trickles down the right side of my tensed forehead, making itself a pool in he bottom of my eye socket. I can’t be bothered by this now, and in fact don’t even notice the stinging sensation due to the amount of focus my mind has now succumb. My left fingers clinch tightly on an incut crimp, no deeper then the width of an average pencil and located just above my head. This is as good as it gets. I’ve been here before and know all too well what comes next. After my feet are fixed to support as much body weight as possible, my right hand makes a windmill motion to catch the absolute worse hold on the route. You might as well have glued a credit card to the rock and tried to pull your weight of that. Successfully my fingers land in the so-called sweet spot and I am able to get my right foot up, in preparation for the next move. The foot lifts and sets down on the small groove in the rock, twisting to set itself in properly. Twisting back and forth, the rock underneath started to crumble. If I lost this foot there is no way I was holding onto my handholds, it was now or never. I bump my right hand up to a slight better crimp, and then my left hand to an even better one! At this point I’m breathing very heavily as I jump my feet up to more solid feet, one more crimp with the right hand. By this time I’m far above my last piece of protection and falling is not option. The thought of falling and thumbing down the sharp piece of slab which leads up to the beginning of the route, flashes through my mind and I quickly dispose of it. Can’t think like that. My right then crosses into yet another crimp. One more big move to a jug. Come one Tyler, you’ve done this before, focus. With a big unleash of air, I lunged my body forward, wrapping my fingers around the jug. As I clip, I know I’m now safe and I stare up with focused eyes at the next 30m of the route, silently planning my attack.
            Only fifteen minutes later, I’m standing on the top, with the anchors clipped. It’s the happiest moment of the trip and I’m bowing and screaming and waving to randoms. As I lower down I take in the sight and glance at the holds I just climbed up. I had just completed my first 7b+ called the Craic with only 3 tries! I had screamed my way through the last two cruxes, only barely making the moves. It was truly one of my biggest accomplishments. At the bottom Dave and Yudai awaited me with smiles on their faces and the words congratulations coming from their lips. I could have lived in that moment forever. It was Dave’s and Yudai’s last day and we all sent The Craic within 2 goes (Yudai got it first try) and felt complete. So we headed back down the hill and had some celebratory ice cream!
Dave on Tufa King Pump
            The last couple days of Dave’s and Yudai’s stay was filled with a constant psyche to climb as much as possible. I had recently taken on the challenge of 7b, trying relentlessly at a route named Sevasti. Yudai has recently sent his long term 40m project named Fun de Chichunne, an 8a in the Grotta. It more so and epic then a route as it takes him over an hour to climb.  And Dave was just nailing the 12s left right and center. We were all stoked to wake up early (yes even me) and get out and climb. After 3 days of sessioning Sevasti, I just wasn’t making any more progress and was getting awfully frustrated, as it seemed I was getting pumped out on very decent hold. I now know the culprit was the lack of feet available to balance my…as Joe calls it “chubbyness” on. But anyways, the frustration forced me to move on, as well Dave and Yudai were tired of that sector (Iannis) hence us spending the last day at Ivory Tower. They left around 4:30 in a silver taxi, headed to the ferry. They were flying to Athen where they would spend a night of sight seeing, then the day Yudai went to boulder in Fontibleau, France and Dave went home to Waterloo.
Flagging at the top of the route..great Beta
Yudai and Myself
            Now I am alone, I moved back to Micheal’s where he offered me a very nice room for 15Euros a night. My climbing partner the next couple days differed. But I mainly climbed with an Aussie named Justin who was here alone as well, we got along extremely well despite our age difference (he is 41). I also met a couple from Chamonix, France, named Adeline and Erik, they were 21 and 23 and spoke only broken English. Erik and I were like brothers after only a few times hanging out together. I helped them with English and they taught me some French. I also met Colin and Carolyn, Colin was from California and met Carolyn, who is from Quebec City, here. They instantly connected and moved in together after a couple months in Kalymnos. They were super nice and had some amazing stories to tell about travelling and climbing. On top of all these amazing people, there was another big group from Montreal, (7 climbers) who were all super nice, and motivated. So I had plenty of options of people to climb with and we always saw one another after climbing, at the beach or at the bar. I thought the days would go by slow, being alone, but they have gone by just as fast as the others.
Yudai on Themelina
            The last two days were amazing. Justin and I met the big group of French-Canadians at Odyssey, early Monday morning. It was to be a great day! After some warm ups in the terribly humid climate I went to try Lucky Luca. One attempt and it was clear I had the strength to send it, possibly second try. I rested and built up my rage while Justin tried a 7c. I ended up sending Lucky Luca second try and then later I hoped on the 7c and was happy to make every move. We were to leave by 2 o clock and meet the Chamonix couple and the other couple in Vathy to go deep water soloing. Justin and most of the French did not want to join, so it ended up being just Ariane and myself going. We were a bit late and the group had already headed out by boat. We promised a restaurant owner that we would east at her place, and in return she would boat us out to the cave. It was about a 5 min boat ride, when finally the cave came into view, it wasn’t very high, maybe 5m and only 20m across, but it didn’t matter, we were just there to have a good time and hangout. There is a little ledge, just left of the crag where you can put any belongings that you bring (I didn’t personally bring anything) and just sit down and relax. The sun was high in the sky and the boat dropped us off, I was immediately on the cliff wanted to climb before my hands and feet got wet. It was the only time I made it to the top. I did my victory jump into the water. We were all climbing, Eric and I found a dyno to keep ourselves occupied while the girls and Colin were just playing around in the huecos. The sun was high in the sky and the water was a beautiful temperature, it was an incredibly fun day. After a couple hours of climbing around, the boat came to pick us all up and as promised we sat down for some dinner. We basically each order a plate which came out one by one and we all shared from each plate. A variety of seafood dishes and some pasta! Soon it was time to head back to Masouri for a couple more beers. It was Adeline and Eric’s last day and they were to catch a taxi at 10:00 for a ferry taking them all the way to Athens.
Coming up to the crux on Sevasti
            The next morning was my last and even though Justin wasn’t climbing he agreed to come belay me at the Grande Grotta. After I quick warm up I finished Ivi, on my second try of the day and felt satisfied with what I have been able to accomplish on this trip. Coming here as a solid 11 climber and leaving a solid 12 climber was everything I hoped for. We packed up our bags and headed home. I said my goodbyes to Justin and started to get my things ready for the morning. I am currently taking a break from packing by updating this blog. I have a taxi coming for 4:45 in the morning and my ferry leaves at 5:30. By the time I get to Kos I will have a little over 2 hours to catch my flight to Konn, Germany. After a 19 hour layover I will be on my way to Croatia where I meet up with Tommy! Farewell Greece. You have treated me well. 

"Man cannot discover new oceans, if he is scared of losing sight of the shore."
                                                       - Andre Gide

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Stranger in Paradise

Broke though the rope :( had to cut it, no more 40m routes

The Beach :)
First off I would like to apologies for my lack of blogging and keeping you up to date with my bomber life style. The reason for this is quite simple. Five weeks of rock climbing with probably only 6 rest days spaced out in between does rather a toll to your body. My afternoons have been spent lying on the beach in spread eagle passed out position, cooking food for myself or in my bed in the same position as the beach. Yesterday I spend the day projecting a hard 7b (use to be 7b+) called Sevasti. I got smashed on it, not being able to even make it to the crux moves on a single burn. I just felt dead and exhausted after. I had a rest day previous to this, and after Sevasti I knew my body needed a longer break which is why I sit here writing to you know. I took the morning off while Dave and Yudai went up to Grande Grotta (their favorite place). I’ll be joining them after I watch Game of Thrones for a couple burns on the 7a+ there called Ivi.
Eating at Zorbas'
            To recap you on the last couple days here on the Island of Kalymnos, where dreams come true, I’ll start off with what we’ve been up to other then climbing. I can narrow it down to two broad categories of beach and studio room. This is where our time is spent. At the far end of the beach there is a slack line permanently set up right out side a bar and adjacent to a popular beach volleyball court. Sounds like a hotspot! We’ve actually been spending a fair amount of time here; Yudai is a great “slack liner” completing his jumps and spins on the line with the upmost precision. I on the other hand am working on the jump-starts and still have yet to complete a walk across the entire line. Dave gave up on the first session and sit near by drinking beer and watching out for local girls walking by. We’ll conclude our beach time with a swim and lying down in the sand, soaking in the sun’s heat and rays. Sundays and Holidays are the best for girls. Dave and Yudai like going out for dinner, which sometimes I’ll join them if I’m feeling too tired to cook.
Squid and Octopus
            Our most enjoyed spot to go eat is a joint right beside the supermarket, and sells Gyros for 2.20. One gyro will just about fill you up, but we get two, in order to feel extra full. It’s a nice feeling. The joint is run by two very friendly brothers who have come to see us as regulars. How do I know this? We each get the regulars-only high five on our way in and they know the exact modifications Dave needs on his gyro. No tomatoes, onion and stay away from the seafood. Perfect! On occasion we venture past our horizons and try new places. One such case was Zorbas’. Located on the edge of the beach, and known for the best seafood in town, we had to see what it was all about. It was a fairly large place and had lots to choose from on the menu. Yudai and myself came for the seafood, while Dave got a rack of lamb ribs. He didn’t care too much for them. Between Yudai and myself we split a plate of Fried Calamari, a plate of Vinegar Octopus, and a Small Shark dish. It was an amazing feast from under the sea. The shark tasted like tuna, cod and other small fish, mixed into one. I can’t imagine why. Everything was excellent, but a bit more expensive then gyros, so I don’t think we will be returning. FYI for anyone planning a visit, when Zorbas’ plays live music, they have a special menu they give, where every dish is about 3-5 Euros more expensive. We were lucky and arrived in time to get the cheap menu and still listen to the band.
Beer and a beautiful sunset
            Back at the studio, we have an amazing view of the Mediterranean, Talendos and other island just poking out of the horizon. After dinner we’ll sit out there with a beer, playing a game of Catan or watching the Big Bang theory. This will go on until 9:00 or 9:30ish when we get too tired to keep our eyes open or the mosquitoes scare us indoors. The other night on of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen cast it’s colorful lights, lighting up the entire Mediterranean. Even the locals were out taking pictures; we were lucky to see a sunset as exquisite as that. They say that a sunset like that often means a very hot day following. It was hot, but I didn’t notice any difference to the other days. Another night we watched a full out electrical storm out over the ocean. The nights are never boring and there is always something to see.
mmmmmmm Gyros
            Climbing for myself, as described before, has been very tiring, and I don’t think my body can climb anymore at it’s full potential. Dave and Yudai have 4 more days left and are trying to finish off everything they’ve wanted to try. The other day at Spartacus a bird flew down from the cliff and stole half a loaf of bread (our lunch). Shocked that a bird could even grab a piece of bread that size, and fly away. We meet an Australian guy, named Justin who is here alone, and here until July!!!!! Crazy Aussies. But once Dave and Yudai leave on Friday I will be moving back into our original studio at Micheals, where because Artemis loves me, is giving me a way better studio then before for 12 Euros a night! Talk about a steal. But for those days alone Justin, who is 41, 20 years older then I will be my climbing partner. He is only working on his on sight ability, trying as many 7b’s as he can, so at least we are climbing at the same level. Then Wednesday it is off to Cologne, Germany for a 19 hour lay over, then Split, Croatia with my long lost best bud! Can’t wait! Off to go join Dave and Yudai at the Grotta.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Broken Trinity

The Original Team, Miss you guys

"Elephantine" or something like that, hard crux
Jess and I woke up the next morning; only Jess and I. Joe had left early in the morning, sharing a cab with James from Vancouver. It was now 8am and our energy just seemed to be gone. Did it leave with Joe? Very possibly, that happy, always smiling, full of energy Mexican was on a plane towards Athens by now. We slept in till 9, and after a chill breakfast we slowly put our gear together to head up and meet Dave and Yudai. Joe wasn’t here to psyche or as usual steamroll us at 6am to ensure we were wide awake. Something was missing that morning, a crucial piece to a puzzle, the glue to our trinity. Life goes on and we headed up to the Grotta. We didn’t climb much that day, all I remember is doing a couple easier climbs on afternoon wall, just around the corner of the Grotta. It was a depressing day overall and I don’t want to spend time writing much about it. It was hard to adapt to a two-man team.
Great view of us on the multi pitch
The following morning was a bit more energetic. Today we were signed up for Scuba Diving! Dave, Jess and Myself were picked up at noon by Swedish girl, who taught scuba diving by day and rock climbed at night! Badass! Jess and Dave were both experienced divers, registered with PADI, while it was my first time. I had to sign up for a discover scuba dive while Dave and Jess were able to just go on a dive after a quick refresher. After fitting our gear we got in the truck to take us to boat. Heading out of the harbor towards the island of Talendos we turned into a little bay where they dropped me and the Swedish lady off at a beach. We were still waist deep in water and she showed me how to put the air tank on and work all the equipment. I caught on very quickly and soon we were swimming around the bay. We went about 10m deep and just followed the bottom. She show me an octopus nest, a sponge and we had a juggling competition (she won).It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to Scuba again. Dave and Jess went on a second dive later while I hung out on the boat working on my tan with the captain. They went 22m deep and saw a school of Barracuda while swimming in between mazes of rock. After we had finished they dropped us off back home and Dave and Jess took a cab into town to pick up a car for the week.
Aphrodite's infamous toe hook :)
With the capabilities of the car we went to a crag called Ghost Kitchen, which had 3 walls, the middle one was the only one of interest to us being the other two were just slab climbs. I started feeling really dizzy and nauseated and thought it was from climbing up so high after scuba diving the day before. Anyways I relaxed drinking lots of water while the others warmed up. By 11 I was feeling better again and was able to flash two 6c+ routes there. Jess and Dave got on a couple of the 12’s there and then cooled down on the 6c+ called Dafni.
Jess, not wasting any time on pictures
The next day Jess and I took the other two to Sikati Cave, or as Dave calls it (for the lack of remembering) Silky Caves. Walking the long approach in was a little weird having done it 3 weeks ago when Joe, Erika and Olly were all here. It felt so long ago, and the walk felt even longer this time. We got to the opening fairly quickly I think, and Dave and Jess repelled in while Yudai and myself did the scramble down climb. We completed a good number of routes that day, having started climbing around 9 and leaving at 6, it was a long day. Yudai and Dave both flashed Mortes aux Chevres, the infamous 7b there. I sent another 7a+ there on my first attempt despite having climbed up the wrong way a couple times, only having to down climb a couple moves to correct myself.
Water was cold!
Jess at this point had 2 full days left before he had to leave, so we decided to take a rest day and climb hard the last day instead of trying to climb 4 days straight. The rest day was very relaxing, as we did nothing but sit around, watch Game of Thrones and read our books. The following day we embarked out on Jess’ last walk to the Grande Grotta. We did a warm up called Carpe Diem then started projecting Aphrodite (7a+) together. This was the route I started projecting on Joe’s last day, and the one, which he described as the hardest 12a he had ever done. It took me 3 tries before I finally made it to the anchors without falling! My beta was a toe hook to a dyno; Jess couldn’t quite stretch out that far and had to use a tiny crimp and flag his feet. Either way work and we both sent it. It was a very bouldery route and drained the energy from us. At the end of the day we jumped on ivi, another hard 7a+, this was Jess’ last climb in Kalymnos. On the way down we stopped for some delicious ice cream and headed home to pack. I was moving in with Dave the following day, so I pack up my stuff as well. I hate when things come to an end. We had the room all ready to go after dinner and laid down to watch Zombieland. Dave was picking us up early the next morning.
Dave gives the thumbs up
Waking up, we put the final things together ate some cereal and met Dave outside. He drove us to the docks and that was it, we got out to say our goodbyes….I promised myself earlier that I wouldn’t cry, but watching him walk to towards the fairy. Lets just say it was a hard promise to keep. I was now the only one left out of the original 3, it was a 1 man team 5.10. We jumped back into the car heading to the crag, only to pass our empty studio room on the way. New beginnings