Rock climbing in Kalymnos, Greece

A climbing tour of Telendos by Gaëtan Raymond


You think Telendos is overshadowed by the popularity of Kalymnos? Not so. The little island has its own devout followers, and for good reason: with spectacular cliffs, very few people, and no cars, it’s a very special place. Our guest today, French climber Gaëtan Raymond, is a Telendos devotee who has spent big chunks of time climbing and equipping on Telendos. Most notably his stunning sector Crystal Cave, equipped in 2007-2008 on the south face of Telendos, features 14 very long single pitches (most 40-60m long). Last October, Gaëtan himself rebolted all the routes at Crystal Cave (the bolts used originally were non-stainless; he replaced all of them with stainless-steel bolts provided by Climb Kalymnos). Below, he guides us through the crags of Telendos adding his insight along the way. Thanks for your time and effort, Gaëtan!



Text and photos by Gaëtan Raymond / April 2013


An island that we begin to hear more and more about, especially since 2008 with sectors Crystal Cave, Irox, Pescatore and Glaros, but without forgetting the oldest (Eros, Princess of Telendos), the new (Princess Canyon, Miltiadis and Crescendo) and the newest (Lambda, Inspiration). Of course, Telendos is smaller than her grand sister Kalymnos, but for those who want new routes and tranquility this is undoubtedly where they must go! One must still note that, within 5 years, 300 new routes of all levels have been bolted. And many more to come soon! You can climb on the two coasts of Telendos, the east and the south.


* The south coast has huge faces with enormous caves that are, unfortunately, difficult to access. Enough to frustrate more than one bolter, but they dare to dream that this coast will become a beautiful paradise of multi-pitch routes on amazing rock in years to come!


Swiss climbers Urs Odermatt and Peter Keller began the movement in 2008 with Wings for Life, 150m of grade 5 climbing on the edge of the Crescendo cave, and in 2010 with Wild Country, 250 m of 6a climbing. In 2011, Simon Montmory bolted a harder multi-pitch route closer to the village: Inspiration, 150m, 7b and Claude Idoux with André Langenbach bolted De Charybde en Cila, 250m around 6b. Other major routes should be available soon through the involvement of local funders and volunteer equippers. But when it comes to the Telendos south coast, we also ought to speak about:


• The mythical Crystal Cave, 40m of tufas and holes in a single cave! Opened by Gaëtan Raymond & Co. in 2007 and 2008, and rebolted by him with very good stainless steel bolts in 2012.


• Another sector has emerged a little further along the coast and should immediately draw a crowd. Princess Canyon, equipped by a French climber now staying at Kalymnos (Claude Idoux), is unique because there are multiple faces / pillars creating canyons / gorges. In addition, vertical climbing on large holes in grade 6 makes this area accessible to all climbers (12 routes). Stronger climbers don’t worry: there is still room for 50 routes in this sector, which should not remain devoid of bolts for long!


Crescendo has been the result of the first openings in the cave under the eyes of climbers in the Wings for life route, which ascents its right side. Simon Montmory has just bolted a huge route on a pillar, 70m high with a 30m overhang, including huge tufas and even a crack at the end that will leave memories… THE most beautiful line of Telendos! Otherwise, on the left side of this pillar, the cave contains a field of stalactites where two routes were also bolted by Gaëtan Raymond, two classic routes such as the ones in Grande Grotta at Kalymnos. Many other possibilities exist in this cave and should emerge soon.


Inspiration, the closest sector bolted by Simon Montmory in 2012. It now has almost 10 routes on amazing rock with a stunning view. More routes coming soon!


*The north / northeast coast is less classic. No big caves with stalactites or massive tufas here; rather, it’s a more typical style of rock but still of very high quality, with nice surprises here and there. For example, we may note:


Three beautiful caves in the area of Princess of Telendos (first real sector with the initiative of Aris Theodoropoulos and Gaëtan Raymond) offer beautiful long and continuous routes.
(Editor’s note: this sector has now been renamed ‘Three Caves’)


• Many beautiful and easy routes at sector Irox (thanks to Urs Odermatt and Peter Keller), with the incredible single-tufa classic Magma 6b (outstanding for this grade.) This is the busiest sector on Telendos due to its proximity to the sea and the easy routes.


• Beautiful sector Pescatore offers 20 routes of all grades & styles (slab, vertical, overhangs, holes, columns…)


• The rock of sector Eros (first routes on the island) with stunning surprises in very athletic style. The only thing missing to make this a great area are grade 6 routes! There is potential to do it.
(Editor’s note: This is already happening. Claude Idoux has been equipping new routes at Eros these days.)


• The slabs of sector Miltiadis, bolted by Bruno Fara, confirm that this island is truly legendary!


• Most importantly, the ultimate big overhang of the sector Glaros, discovered by Quentin and Gaëtan in May 2008. Quentin bolted the first route of this sector (Tipota, 8c +?) and Urs and Peter finished bolting this entire sector in December 2008. A total of 19 routes of 5 to 9? level, from vertical easy routes to really hard, huge overhanging routes are there. Two routes around 9a are awaiting the first redpoint.


Lambda, one of the best sectors in Telendos. 30 long routes (25-50m) from 5a to 7b. The rock is perfect, not too sharp and with many holds. Thanks to Markus Leippold and Urs Odermatt, who made a great job cleaning and bolting in May 2012.


Perhaps the greatest advantage of this side of Telendos is that you can climb in the shade in the afternoon, so you don’t have to wake up early to go climbing as in Kalymnos. And for those who do not, or cannot, walk more than 30min, a boat can take you directly to the foot of the cliffs!



Speaking of equippers, one must note the presence of Claude Idoux (always bolting new sectors on Kalymnos/Telendos) and Simon Montmory since 2009. Simon is the only climbing instructor living on Kalymnos all year round, and intends to stay indefinitely, as these islands are an oasis of cliffs for the thirsty climber / bolter. He organizes climbing courses and participates actively in the development of climbing on Kalymnos and Telendos alongside Aris Theodoropoulos (author of the Kalymnos guidebook) and the Municipality of Kalymnos / Telendos.


So, thank you to Simon for many new routes and extensions at Iannis, Kalydna and recently Saint Photis, sectors largely unknown in Kalymnos but deserving a visit. It must be said that, five years ago, Kalymnos was not known for its difficult routes in level 8, because there were very few. But especially since Sikati Cave,


Titantrope (8c+, Spartan Wall)
Los Revolucionarios (9a, Odyssey)
Inshallah (8c+, North Cape)
Tipota and Apagorevmeno Oniro at Glaros (9a? Telendos)
Demon (9a?, Iliada)
Bouboule Market and Sandmann (9a?, Psili Riza)
Super Megalakotopoula and Ne pas toucher ma bitte extension (9a ?, Arhi)
Alcionides Meres (8c+ ?, Arhi)
To have or not to be and Unique (9a?, Kalydna)


Kalymnos / Telendos are becoming increasingly known for their harder climbs in the 8th and 9th difficulty levels and the passage from the island of great climbers. Moreover, since 2012 The North Face decided to organize a yearly event for all climbers and for professional climbers. They have bolted the new cliff Psili Riza, with 30 routes from 6b to 9a.


And beyond climbing, Telendos is also a small village, consisting of only 3 or 4 families living from restaurants and accommodation. You will find a warm welcome in the best restaurants with direct views to the sea, and without a noisy road ahead as in Kalymnos. You will also find charming little beaches with views to the cliffs of Kalymnos, and nice studios, so you will not have to take the boat all day from Kalymnos.


For more information:

This entry was posted on Friday, June 28th, 2013 at 20:09 and is filed under Kalymnos news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

4 Responses to “A climbing tour of Telendos by Gaëtan Raymond”

  1. Aris says:

    Not advisable but it is possible with 80m rope (and some extra rappel or easy down climb) except on “George” where 100m is mandatory.

  2. kolarz8a says:

    is 100m rope realy needed for Crystalcave? is it possible with 80 and some extra rapells or so on??

  3. Admin says:

    Thanks Bruno! Your link to Miltiadis has been added to the main text above also.

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