17th March 2018
Dear god my fingers are killing me! But what a great crag. Close to the road, brilliant routes and magnificent setting.
The real story is the getting there. I had no idea how mountainous the coastal region is here. We took the road out via Poulithra and up the switchbacks to the top of the mountain near Tsitalia. Chris’s Sat Nav steered us down the coast on what initially looked like a minor road, but turned into a major piece of engineering. It really is the road to no-where. It barely registers on Google Maps, but is a brand new road carved out of the coastal slopes running from Fokiano to Kiparissi. Strangely it ends just before the town. Very weird and Tom couldnt stop wondering why so much money had been spent on a road which probably only had about 3 cars a day!
Kiparissi is worth the 1.5 hour journey though. A tiny coastal town, which looks like it hasnt changed in years. It has a number of crags, but we went for Kastraki, probably the most frequently visited because it is only 5 mins from the road. It was a great culmination to a week of climbing. Climbs here are tough but well worth doing. I stated on a bit of a sandbag 5c which turned out to be a 6a. But the two 6a+’s were awesome. Long 35m routes which finished at the top of a pillar. A bit blowy, but what a view.
You cant help but find this place a bit magical. Idyllic surroundings, quiet and immaculate rock. Everything a climber wants. By time I farmed the final 6a+ my hands were garbage. It was fitting burn out to what had been a great trip. The drive back and meal at the Restaurant-Pizzeria was a good way to finish off.
We met a couple of Norwegian climbers operating at stratospheric levels (8b+) who proved to be really entertaining and gave us a positive insight into climbing in Norway. This is definitely now on my radar. Ther’s via ferrata, trad and sport to be had. Free camping (as long as its not for longer than 3 days) and good food. A must then. Eric and Andreas also kindly gave me advice on how to reach the giddy heights of 7a. I now feel suitably inspired to try. Lets see if I can turn it into a reality.