Rock climbing in Kalymnos, Greece

The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival: day-by-day



Saturday, DAY 3 | Last day of the PROject Competition in unseasonably hot and humid conditions. Neither of the hardest routes was done by the athletes (Men’s route Sandmann 8c+ and Women’s route Le Vent Nous Portera 8b+). However three of the four competition routes were done by several athletes; official results here and video footage from the festival here. They were all phenomenal, especially under such unholy weather conditions. We are especially happy about Alexander Megos, who ticked the first three routes as early as Friday morning and worked hard on the fourth route (his father is Greek, you see, and though Alex has never lived here, he visits often and speaks fluent Greek. So we feel a kinship of sorts.) Alex Megos was in great form; just before the festival began he also redpointed the classic Inshallah 8c+ at sector North Cape on his second attempt.


The Open & Big Marathon also wrapped up on Saturday, with about 300 climbers of all ages and abilities participating; official results here.


A large and lively crowd gathered at the Festival Base Camp after 8pm. Approximately 400 people or so mingled around the pool and video projection area under the full moon. The awards ceremony came after an hour of (loud!) Greek music and dancing and was followed by another mayoral speech. No athlete was awarded individually; rather, each route was awarded an amount just over €1600 on a giant symbolic check, presumably to be shared by the athletes who climbed it. The late-night DJ set lasted until well after 2am.
















Friday, DAY 2 | By the end of Friday Alexander Megos and Michael Fuselier had completed three of the four competition routes (Early Bird, Fruit Ninja, Il Re Della Pioggia). The fourth and hardest route, Sandmann 8c+, was already attempted by Megos and Kilian Fischhuber. In the women’s competition, Mélissa Le Nevé completed three of the four routes (Tizi, Jonas and Cottero) and has already attempted the hardest route, Le Vent Nous Portera 8b+. Official results here. As for the other competition, the Open & Big Marathon, it started today with approximately 300 climbers competing.


‘Seaside Storytelling Night’ started around 10pm on the terrace of Elena Village Hotel. The delightful pair James Pearson and Caroline Ciavaldini talked about their recent expedition to Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia, together with the inspirational Yuji Hirayama. Next up the smiling Nico Favresse and his ukulele (how can you not like this guy?) showed photo & video footage from his latest big wall adventure in Venezuela. For us Greeks, though, the evening’s highlight was Nico’s intro, when his girlfriend Argyro Papathanasiou (the strongest female climber in Greece) sang a beautiful Greek son accompanied by Nico, to heartfelt applause. Swoon!









Thursday, DAY 1 | The PROject Competition started early Thursday morning at sector Psili Riza, the crag The North Face selected and bolted specifically for the festival high above Panormos village. Because of the long approach and the crag’s early exposure to the sun the competition started at 7am.



The best male athletes on Day 1 were Alexander Megos and Yuji Hirayama, who each did two out of four routes. The best females were Anna Stöhr, Mélissa Le Nevé and Anna Mikushkina. Results are officially posted here, though not complete. A topo and photos from Psili Riza are posted here. James Pearson said to “I was very nervous and I had some night mares saying that all would onsight everything. Luckily it turned out just perfect and if it just will be a bit cooler also the hardest routes like 8c+ or 9a for the guys and 8c for the female will be done. Alexander Megos looked very strong but I was most impressed with Anna Mikushkina, who just showed up and first failed in the sun, when everyone had given up, and then went up again and did it. Amazing!


The festival’s official opening ceremony was at 5pm at the outdoor pool area of Elena Village Hotel, where the Festival’s Base Camp has been set up; the ceremony started a bit later, to allow for temperatures to drop – the September sun is still quite warm in Greece. After the requisite speeches by the organizers and reps of the municipality, Andrea Di Bari and Simone Moro spoke briefly, and then each athlete was called up and presented. The ceremony was fun and lively, and people stayed around the pool for a little while longer before breaking to prepare for Friday’s early start.































Wednesday | Most of the athletes were already here and they spent the morning climbing at various crags around the island. Registration for the Open Marathon and Big Marathon was ongoing at the nicely set up Festival Base Camp at Elena Village Hotel, with people trickling in and out all day. In the early evening the athletes gathered at the outdoor area around the pool; they were given equipment by the organizers and guidebooks courtesy of the author. Also, the photo exhibit by Kalymnian photographer Nikolas Smalios opened in the front area of the Festival Base Camp.























































This entry was posted on Thursday, September 27th, 2012 at 08:30 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.

2 Responses to “The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival: day-by-day”

  1. Jos says:

    Nice writeup, thx!

  2. Lez says:

    Since he has not been mentioned, I would like to talk about Gabriele Moroni, who sent three routes in 5 attempts (2,2,1), the best performance in the Project Competition. I know that there wasn’t a classic podium, but in my opinion, Gabri is the real winner of the Comp 🙂 BRAVO GABRI!

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