Rock climbing in Kalymnos, Greece

Route rebolting to begin in Kalymnos later this year


After the coldest, rainiest, windiest winter in recent memory, the weather in Kalymnos has done an about-face and now the sun shines bright and (too) warm. The season seems to start off with lots of climbers, Masouri is out of hibernation and a couple of new mini-markets and restaurants have popped up, though not much else has changed. But there’s also really good news on the rebolting front this year.
The good news is that funding for an official rebolting project has been approved and will be implemented in Kalymnos later this year. After many years of emergency route maintenance done by volunteers, this year funding through a proper EU program will be provided via a local contractor to use primarily towards route rebolting and additionally toward some new routing. Works will start in the summer and must be completed by the end of the year. Overseeing the project will be Aris Theodoropoulos alongside a team of other qualified, experienced equippers, including members of the Kalymnos Rescue Service.
For the record, the last official rebolting program was nearly five years ago, so to say it’s long overdue is an understatement. This year’s rebolting program is described in more detail below.
The specifics
The Kalymnos rebolting project comes with the following specifications:
• 2400 stainless-steel glue-in bolts (316L, 12mm) are to be used for rebolting existing routes
• 500 V-type anchors with two opposed carabiners are to replace older lower-offs
• 580 carabiners are to be placed on anchors without carabiners or used to replace worn carabiners
• 100 new routes are to be equipped using stainless-steel bolts (316L, 12mm) and V-type anchors with two opposed carabiners
• Some roadside crag markers/signposts will be added
• All parts of the rebolting/equipping program must be completed by the end of 2015.
Thinking long-term
No doubt this rebolting program is a very good thing for Kalymnos, but it will only help to rebolt about 10% of the total routes. And the fact is that funds for rebolting are almost non-existent. Now, more than ever, we must work for the longevity of Kalymnos; besides correcting the routes in need, future climbing development must be done the right way to ensure that Kalymnos remains one of the safest family climbing destinations in the world.
To this end, a collaboration is underway between the Greek Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing, the Hellenic Mountain Guides Association and Climb Kalymnos, to put together a set of official guidelines for equipping sport routes all over Greece. They will be largely based on these principles. The goal is to provide some structure and quality control, because when new routing is left completely unchecked, as it has been over the last few years, many new routes in Greece and Kalymnos end up poorly-protected or equipped with inappropriate materials which become corroded after a matter of months or a couple of years (i.e. homemade bolts, bolts with no certification or bolts by unreliable manufacturers, to name a few). Effective sometime next year, this set of guidelines will be proposed for all new sport routes in Greece. Perhaps not a perfect solution, but in the absence of funds and resources for rebolting it is a step in the right direction.
Starting with the Kalymnos rebolting project this year is something of a transition, the goal being to “tidy up” as many existing routes as possible and to slow down haphazard new routing. So if you were planning to equip new routes on Kalymnos this year, may we suggest that you put your new routes on hold and devote your time to checking your older routes instead. If their materials, bolting or cleaning need improvement, please correct them.
Not everybody will agree; but to those who do, we would like to say that everybody involved in route maintenance, rebolting and rescue on Kalymnos greatly appreciates your understanding and cooperation.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 13th, 2015 at 23:04 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.

42 Responses to “Route rebolting to begin in Kalymnos later this year”

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  1. regula rutishauser says:

    I think there should be a way to collect money from all the climbers who come to Kalymnos by a voluntary fee, paid at the place of accommodation or another apt place and passed on to the ones responsible for the rebolting! I would be very willing to contribute my share to make this climbers paradise be a safe place and last for a long time.

    regards from Switzerland

  2. ralph says:

    Why don’t you offer a voluntary climbing card which includes a contribution to the rebolting project as well as the mountain rescue team. Therefore climbers get a printed version of the latest route updates, infos regarding the rescue team, discounts in climbing shops/moto rentals or maybe a free ride to Telendos…

    Best Regards,

  3. Tom Serra says:


    Why are they using stainless steel? Please research the titanium project in Thailand and don’t waste thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours placing stainless steel anchors/bolts that will FAIL AGAIN in only a few years. TITANIUM ANCHORS/BOLTS SHOULD BE THE ONLY CHOICE FOR CLIMBING AREAS IN THIS TYPE OF ENVIROMENT!

  4. Laura Domoto says:

    We just returned from Kalymnos and were impressed with how safely the routes were bolted for the most part, and are glad to hear that rusted bolts are going to be replaced. We would also be willing to make a contribution to a bolting/re-bolting fund. Also, although the guide book clearly addresses it, maybe some additional signage regarding garbage and human waste at the crags would be helpful. Who just leaves toilet paper under a rock? Disgusting.

  5. George metaxas says:

    i totally agree with the previous comments….
    Why use stainless steel and don t go for the best option that is best suited for places near the sea….
    The cost of course is much bigger but anyway with the current plan only a part of the routes will be maintained ,why don t spread the cost by starting a 5 years or long term project with titanium and by giving the chance to all the climbers that visit kalymnos to contribute to the project through a voluntary or even mandatory donation of min the cost of placing 1 titanium bolt and up to as many as somebody might want…
    Another question is who the producer of the bolts will be if it is already decided and of course if he can provide titanium bolts
    Thinking long term and creating the conditions to get help by the climbing community to keep kalymnos not only safe but self-“sufficient” and not only depended by goverment or eu funds in my opinion is the best solution

  6. bruno says:

    TITANIUM BOLTS!!! … Why use Expensive titanium … use good inos (316L) is the best solution; the inos boats are not in titanium … and never hey has problems!

  7. george metaxas says:

    bruno read this article about glue ins and check also prices from the thaitanium project and by this producer thai
    and i m sure the cost if we also put the total longevity of the bolts in the equation will be even less than the 316….
    in my opinion a test of using both materials in the same high corrosion environment in 2 routes next to each other will give the answer….
    i remember some really corroded bolts on the sector pescatore at telendos where the routes are in a really extreme environment in terms of corrosion….

  8. bruno says:

    i think that the “lobby” of the titanium project must also ask the question, why everywhere (except Krabi) inox (good inox 316L or better 316Ti, is only utilised (and with succes) ? And answer to the question why the hulls of boats are stainless steel, not titanium … also why the big factories like Petzl use Inox and not titane?

  9. Emanuele says:

    Titanium vs Stainless.

    Titanium has some/many advantages. But it cost about 4 times more than Stainless and it has the issue with glue.
    Most recent accidents that I am aware of (San Vito Lo capo (I), Val Daone (I), Valeria (E)) had issues related to the rock, not the bolts: the all piece of rock came out. Do you need photos?
    This makes you think…

    In an ideal world (safety of working places), you need to inspect gear and concrete/steel every given time. Everybody does it.
    In an ideal climbing world you need to inspect gear and rock every a given time. Nobody does it.

    My two cents is that Titanium is better, but had I to choose, I will take Stainless and inspected (rock and gear) every 10 years for the next 30 years, at the price of one single “forever” bolting with Titanium but with no future inspection of the place. Inspection means you check rock, replace worn carabiners, etc…

    Said so, all the issues that I am aware of 304 (A2) and 316 (A4) in most parts of Europe are very difficult to compare with what is happening/happened in Thailand. Nobody says there are no issues in Europe, but I think the scale of the problem, needs to be considered and here is significantly way less problematic.
    There are some parts of Kalymnos/Telendos that might have issues like in Thailand, but big majority, they have not. Climbing in Kalymnos, I am more afraid that with wind I get a rock in may face, or a belay pulls out attached to the rock, rather than a bolt breaks

    PS: Climber, Equipper (+2500 bolts placed) and Bolt (stainless) producer.

  10. bruno says:

    the titanium project lobby is not objective because they want to sell their equipment and therefore tries to persuade the world that it is the only solution … 316L is enough for safety and a lot cheaper! Not good reason to use tatanium everywhere!

  11. Joshua Janssen says:

    I live in Mallorca and I have expereance in bolt replacement here. The 316L bolt is not the best solucion for sea environment.I used and due to the galvanic current between components, the corrosion accelerates. And at the end the bolts do not last more than 10 years. Rebolting with this material is not the best way to doit. But the 316L chemical anchors dont have this galvanic currents, because is made in one piece. So in this way the chemical anchors last more than 50 years. And is the best solution for the future.

  12. George metaxas says:

    Maybe combining both options is the best solution and only use titanium at specific crags and routes or single bolts that saw increased corrosion…..

  13. Emanuele says:

    @Joshua: you are making a bit of confusion.

    I suggest you to go to the web site of You are going to see glue ins “broken” that were both welded, and forged. For some times, it was thought that the glue was protecting the metal, but in reality, it’s not.
    A bolt is made of 5 parts: rod, spacer, expansion, nut and hanger. I save you most of facts, but I take the liberty to inform you that the “weaker” part is the one attached the most by what we call “corrosion”. The weaker (smaller mass) is the spacer, which is useless in strenght. Sure, in bolts there are other things that might accelerate “problems”, but there is no evidence that at chemical is better than a bolt concerning corrosion (as long as you use correct bolts). Bolts are “pulled”, while chemicals are bent (same thing), so there is (almost) no difference. Galvanic happens ONLY if you mix materials, a thing you should not, or, as I said before, it attachs the smaller mass of the same material. Unfortunately in a glue in, the only part that can be attached, is the rod (bearing material). Finally, on the web you can find a lot of manuals on welding, and it’s interesting to read them. You might be surprised in what you read. My “two cents” are that probably a bolt is more resistant to corrosion that a Glue in (if they are both made with the same material), manly because there are smaller parts than the rod (only part of the chemical) to “absorb” corrosion.

  14. Reinald says:

    I am also excited that systematic re-bolting is under way. But, moreover, I hope that the “long-term” aspects mentioned by ClimbKalymnos will be pursued with similar vigour. Climbing Areas like Kalymnos need Standards and “quality control in order to slow down haphazard new Routing”.

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