Kalymnos island has worthily been established as one of the major climbing destinations in the world.
The excellent quality and the diversity of the rocks, the quick and easy access to the climbing fields, the distinct marking of the starting points that lead to the climbing fields, the proximity among the fields, the paths that provide great view over beautiful beaches and the crystal clear Aegean sea, and of course the mild climatic conditions prevailing on the island throughout the year, set Kalymnos an attraction for thousands of climbers from all over the world.
Climbers who have been to other great climbing sites admit that the rock of Kalymnos resembles to the one of Thailand, however, Kalymnos is considered as a superior experience and recognized as a more complete destination to visit.
The establishment of climbing in the island
Climbing in Kalymnos began as an activity in the late 90s, after the visit of famous Italian climbers who took their holidays on the island. Their experienced eyes saw the limitless possibilities that arose for climbing on the Kalymnian rocks, so they decided to return as soon as possible to open routes. The opening of the first routes was somewhat adventurous for the Italian climbers, since the locals, who had had complete ignorance over climbing activities back then, believed that these people were planning to steal rocks and stalactites from Kalymnos and as a result, they arrested them.
Today of course, the treatment and the overall framework is quite different, as the authorities and the Municipality of Kalymnos support the organization and development of these rocky areas. It is worth noting that only 6% of the mountainous volumes of the island have been exploited so far. However, even this small proportion of climbing rocks that has been used provides the potential for opening up numerous new routes.
In Kalymnos island there are many hills, from 10 to 200 meters high, that are ideal for new routes beyond the known and existing ones.
The majority of routes are found in the west and northwest part of the island. For the opening of new routes only modern stainless steel materials are being used, while the existing ones are also under regular maintenance. Most trails are well secured with plugs, and their tops are equipped with lightning arresters. The assessment system used is the French one and it has been selected because it's the most commonly used thoughout the world -and arguably- the most objective one. The degrees of difficulty for the Kalymnian trails start from 4c (for beginners) and reach up to 9c (for experienced climbers).
So far, approximately 60 fields of sport climbing routes have been dug and delivered, most of them being of 'one pitch' type. Normally, these trails are easily accessible, from 20 to 30 meters high and their difficulty levels range from 4 to 9 degrees. There are however a few tracks of 'one pitch' type that expand to 50 or even 60 meters. At present, almost all the known routes are considered 'one top' routes, but there are excellent prospects for the development of two-peak and even of five-peak trails.
In Kalymnos, approximately 100 to 150 new routes are opened every year by Greek and foreign climbers. At the moment, there are more than 1300 organized routes available. The fans of even more pristine landscapes can visit the island Telendos, because new routes are being opened constantly, which are routes of 'several ropes' and of different heights.
Facilities and Environment
All climbing fields in Kalymnos are well organized and safe, while the limestone rocks are of unparalleled beauty and excellent quality. The changes of scenery from huge vertical slabs to roofs with breathtaking stalactites, the imposing caves and the stunning view towards the sea offer infinite possibilities for sport climbing with advanced techniques that guarantee thrilling emotions and new experiences.
The dry climate of the island allows mountaineering and climbing activities almost throughout the year. Even in summer, there are shady and cool tops, while the sea breeze relieves the climbers. The best seasons for climbing of course are spring and autumn since, besides milder climatic conditions during these seasons, the visitors of the island can enjoy full touristic services.
The Kalymnos Rock Climbing Festival was organized for the first time 10 years ago. The festival is gradually establishing itself on the global agenda of climbing and it attracts more and more climbers from around the world every year.
For the complete and accurate information of the visitors- climbers, the Municipality of Kalymnos created a helpdesk and information office right below Odysseia (Odyssey), the most famous climbing area of Kalymnos (contact number 22430 59445).
Beginners and aspiring climbers can also get a foretaste of this beautiful sport in the closed climbing field that began operating in 2010.