|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