Rock climbing in Kalymnos, Greece

How to make Kalymnos lower-offs last longer


Would you feel safe lowering off a half-eaten carabiner? Isn’t it scary to see metal down to half its thickness? Well, in Kalymnos it’s a symptom of overuse. Climb after climb, even these heavy-duty metal carabiners succumb to exertion when they have to endure thousands of ascents whilst bearing all the load. But there is a super easy way to help prolong the life of Kalymnos lower-offs: just bring along an extra quickdraw, clip it at the top bolt when you reach the anchor, and lower from it every time until you are ready to move on to the next climb. This takes some of the load off the fixed carabiners at the anchor; the first person in a climbing party clips it and lowers from it, the last climber unclips it before stripping the route. If we all make this part of our regular climbing routine and point it out to unaware climbers as well, thousands of ascents later it will have made a huge difference towards the safety and maintenance of routes (both more important than ever as the number of routes on Kalymnos has exceeded 1,800).


Here’s what to do (also on page 31 of the guidebook).


On lead:
When you reach the top, place a quickdraw at the top bolt; clip your rope both through the quickdraw and the permanent carabiner(s). The last person in your party removes the quickdraw and strips the route.


On top-rope:
Place a short quickdraw or screwgate carabiner on the bolt of the anchor in addition to clipping your rope through the fixed carabiner. When you finish top-roping the route, the last climber in your party removes the quickdraw and lowers from the permanent carabiner(s).


That said, we are appealing to your sense of good faith to start doing this next time you climb. You don’t have to, but it truly makes a difference!

















This entry was posted on Friday, July 1st, 2011 at 00:16 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.

17 Responses to “How to make Kalymnos lower-offs last longer”

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  1. Bruno says:

    carabiner lower off is a bad solution for security (Aris do not accept this … but it is the reality), now I don’t put carabiners at the belays but only a free ring (free on the bolt “symptom of overuse” is perhaps a reality … but in a very long time :-))

  2. Oli says:

    For my part, Bruno is completely right.

  3. Lee Cujes says:

    Hi guys

    Clip-and-lower stations are terrific for usability and from a security standpoint, they don’t introduce appreciably more risk despite what people might think. However, in extreme high-traffic environments, a free-spinning ring is the very best option in terms of maintenance. Because the ring is able to spin, one section of the metal is not being continually worn, and the wear is spread over the entire ring. They last much, much longer.

    If it is the desire to keep the glorious clip-and-lower stations, it is my suggestion that the carabiner(s) are attached via mallions (rather than directly to the ring) to allow for easy replacement.

    As a related side-issue, I am also in favour of withdrawing Municipality funding for new routes. This was useful in the birth phase of Kalymnos climbing as it encouraged rapid development, but we are beyond this phase now. As elsewhere in the world, motivated new routers will fund their own routes. We should see the number of new routes per year decrease to a more sensible level, and the quality of routes keeping a high standard. Municipality funding should now be focused on maintenance of the existing routes via a rolling upgrade of hardware and anchors (with a shift to glue-in’s) island-wide.

    Lee Cujes
    Safer Cliffs Australia (Rebolting Organisation)
    Upskill Climbing

  4. It is a good idea to speak about this issue; most of climbers don’t really care about belay overuse and this could be very dramatic if nobody doesn’t.
    The use of ring proposed by Bruno allows to reduce the overuse but is also a cause of mistake during the manipulation. There is also a danger with the permanent carabiner, especially when you go higher to the belay and with twisted ropes (it could happen…); inverted double permanent carabiners overcome this danger (but expensive). So, there is no best solution. I would say that permanent carabiners is more Kaly’ style than ring. I agree with the solution proposed by this article and advice the inverted double permanent carabiners since there are a lot of people doing top rope. Just be careful when you remove the quickdraw, do not climb higher to the belay and do not let the quickdraw fall on the rope until the belayer.
    Anyway, belays have to be checked and changed regularly, thank you Aris.

  5. Halvan says:

    I would never lower off a single permanent carabiner, but that’s just based on the safety ethics of where I learned to climb – it’s simply what I’ve been taught and I guess that differs between countries and individuals. Double carabiners would be nice, but there’s always the question of costs. A free ring is ok, as you can still lower off your own gear and would only need to use the ring for the last person in the party, and if you don’t know how to properly lower off from a ring, you shouldn’t even be up there in the first place imo.

  6. Dave Musgrove says:

    Like most climbers I think that the double Inox carabiner is best for ease of use and general safety but the cost implication is huge.

    I run the bolt fund in Yorkshire, here in the UK, and for many years our lower-off of choice (and cost necessity) has been two single rings set one slightly above the other to avoid twisting. Climbers soon get used to the safe methods of untying and re-threading. However many climbers do this by pulling through a loop of rope first, tying a figure of eight and then clipping in before untying from their waist belt. This leaves a tail of around two to three metres of spare rope. This is rarely a problem on our short routes in the UK but in Kaly many routes are 35 metres or even longer and getting down is often only on the stretch of the rope from the current clip belays. Using rings on such routes may well increase the number of climbers being dropped off the end of the rope.

    If you intend to change to this method Aris I suggest it is only on shorter routes of less than 25 metres. I am a little worried about this on my own route Xerxes on Spartan Wall for which only rings were available at the time.


  7. Giorgio Segafredo says:

    @dave if someone is unable to untie and rethread without using double rope (and losing potentially precious rope meters) then I reckon what Halvan said applies here too, back to the gym that is.
    double carabiners are expensive and can cause rope damage once they begin to be eaten (on one side only) and people clip only one of them (yes, that happens). What’s wrong with rings, they last forever and may even get you to turn around after clipping the chain and enjoy the view. Agree with Lee btw.

  8. thodoris panou says:

    the two rings (with or without inox maillons) is the most logical solution!!!! if someone does not know how to manipulate the rappel situation must either go for a elementary rock-climbing course or go to sea and have fun….

  9. Lez says:

    Free Ring: Security problem during manipulation, potential loss of rope length (and time consuming)

    Double Carabiners: Cost and potential rope damage (when clipping only one carabiner after asymmetric erosion)

    Single Carabiner + QD: It’s my preferred – you MUST clip both QD and the carabiner

  10. Emanuele says:

    I think climbers are too cheap. They deserve what they get.
    C’on what the hell to replace a biner?
    Rings are a good solution, but they are inconvenient. Very unconvenient.
    Do not replace carabiners. Leave worn biners as they are.
    Climbers are human being. They have a brain. They must understand their life is worth a biner.

  11. Normand Robert says:

    Climbers converge in a limited number of places at night. A few posters in strategic locations might be a helpful reminder. Glaros, the climbing shops etc.

  12. Dan says:

    @ Emanuele
    Rings are “very inconvenient”??? In what way? Here in the UK I’m used to re-threading at the top of a sports route. It takes 2 minutes to do. How is that very inconvenient? Especially when it’s preserving the routes for far longer use?!

    @Dave Musgrove – if people are worried about the rope length then once you’ve brought the rope through the rings, you can of course simply retie your original figure of 8 back into the harness rather than come down on a karabiner and keep the full length of your rope? Takes an extra 30seconds to do….

  13. Inva says:

    Well, all the wear and tear is when people ar lovered down, so adding an extra carabiner that takes that load is something everyone should do. -With the backup use of those already fixed ancors.
    So when you are about to take down the rope you should rather rappell/abseil down. I.e ther will be no load on the fixed ancor afterwards when pulling down the rope.
    How to organize the rope for abseiling? -If you don’t know: Take a climbing course…

  14. duder says:

    The ONLY drawback on the carabiner solution is money. Climbers will drop $150/yr on shoes, $18 on 1 QD’s, and countless $ on beer and fancy protein cookies. How about for each 100 routes climbed each person donates an anchor biner or two. That’s the real solution. We all need to give back a little more from what we take.

    (funny the submision password was “GREED” 🙂 )

  15. Marco M. says:

    Hi, I vote for the solution with two rings interconnected with a maillon.

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