Rock climbing in Kalymnos, Greece

Safety Matters: Scary Bolts on “Wings for Life” + “Wild Country”, and the Season’s First Rescue


Multipitch routes Wings for Life (2008) and Wild Country (2010) are the most popular long routes on Kalymnos/Telendos, with fantastic, moderately easy, well-protected climbing. The bolts, however (made by ex-manufacturer Rockland), have deteriorated to the point of being downright scary. The good news is that Wings for Life and Wild Country will both be rebolted within the year. Until then, we would strongly urge climbers not to climb them. There are several other really good multipitches in Kalymnos and Telendos to try in the meantime; there is a list of the newer ones here.
• Yesterday’s Accident & Rescue
The Kalymnos Rescue Service was called to sector Spartan Wall yesterday to assist an injured climber. The climber fell to the ground because the rope was not long enough and there was no stopper knot to prevent it from going through the belay device; thankfully, he suffered minor injuries. When it comes to climbing accidents in Kalymnos, failure to make a knot in the loose end of the rope is the usual suspect. It continues to be the most common cause of climbing accidents on the island. And it’s unfortunate, because these accidents are 100% preventable and a simple knot takes no more than three seconds to tie. Yesterday’s injured climber at Spartan Wall was very lucky, but one must never take luck for granted. So please tie a knot in the end of your rope every single time you climb, even if you know your rope is long enough.
This is the Kalymnos Rescue Team’s account of the accident:
“The season started in a rough way for the team, as they were called today to rescue at the Spartan Wall, a sector hard to reach. A climber fell 4-5 meters after a running out of the rope and a lack of the safety knot at the end of it…he was extremely lucky to end up only with minor injuries and some stitches on the head. The team was called at 11:20 am, on a working day, and at 12:50 he was being delivered to the ambulance. 8 volunteers left their jobs and ran to the point. The climbers had no idea of our existence, but they showed us immediately their gratitude by thanking us and donating for the team. We return our gratitude to them, and to all of them who support this effort!! We need your help to keep going on!!”
The Rescue Service has also posted some photos from yesterday’s rescue operation.
• Lastly, on a lighter note, many thanks to The Traveling Climber for the writeup in their new “guidebooks” feature, as well as their other informative and entertaining posts about Kalymnos.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 at 15:44 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.

10 Responses to “Safety Matters: Scary Bolts on “Wings for Life” + “Wild Country”, and the Season’s First Rescue”

  1. Bruno says:

    The rebolting project appears to be committed! This project is with a section devoted to the opening of new routes ! Do not you think it is more important to change the rockfax’s bolts (very dangerous) and the belays “Fixe V” (problematic) in first, than to make 100 new routes … for me the priority is obvious! And should not be debated …logically

  2. bruno says:

    the rockland’s bolts problematics are only those of one year so precise! The older was good, and after Rocklands no longer existed 🙂
    So Aris was able to locate the affected routes!
    The problem is that in some cases that there are 2 Raumer, one Hilti … then 2 bads rocklands … not easy to check 🙁

  3. Walter Frehner says:

    There are more Rockland bolts used on Kalymnos. What happens to IROX, for example, are those routes rebolted as well?

  4. Spiro A says:

    We climbed Wild Country last year. I am SO glad I didn’t fall on those bolts!!! I can’t believe other climbers are not worried about those black bolts. (Other than that, great route that deserves rebolting with better hardware.)

  5. bruno says:

    in this routes there are a lot of Rockland bolts!The rockland bolts seem very good and secure … but some one broke like glas i have the experience … my wife broke one only in removing the QD (the traction of the rope), in English climber broke one only in a rest point! This rocklands bolts are easy to recognize, they have few years but the head is already black (oily), and i repeate they break like glass!

  6. Aris says:

    I would rather be safe than sorry and I think it is very bad idea to tell people it is OK to climb these routes with Rockland bolts looking like this, and which have not been tested. Not to mention how hard it will be for rescue team to approach this routes if you have an accident. The routes will be rebolted in November and climbers should wait to climb after that instead of risking to climb on these bolts.

  7. Andy says:

    Just back from Kalymnos after a great nearly 3 week trip, all the people, 11 teams of different nationalities, we talked to that had completed an ascent of Wings and Wild Country NONE of them had an issue with the bolts on the route.

  8. Wally says:

    Hello – the Glaros Snack Bar FaceBook page indicates that folks are climbing this route and do not feel a concern for the bolts. Perhaps the quality of the bolts is a matter of opinion. Any others wish to comment?

  9. Aris says:

    Hi Martina,
    I am sorry for late reply. Actually Wild Country not re-bolted yet, as the 2015 Oficiall Rebolting program it is frozen due the financial crisis. We hope we will be able to start this programm later this year (Oct or Nov).
    For the moment we suggest you to try the new route Eterna.

    have fun in Kaly,


  10. Martina says:

    We will visit Kalymnos in the beginning of September and we would like to know if WildCountry is already re-bolted?

    Thank you and kind regards, Martina

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