This whole summer was the least summerish I can recall for both of us. Martynas was doing his university project literally all the time, I was looking for a job and that included flying from place to place, interviewing, preparing for the interviews and coding the trial tasks.
Apart form several weekend outings such as a STRCamp festival, LampeTronas multi-sport competition, a trail running race around lake Asveja (both of which I may write about later) or a weekend near Baltic sea, there was not much fun we had this summer.
One week before the end of summer we still had some faith left that we’ll manage to touch some rock before starting studies (Martynas) or job (me) in the middle of September. One day we ran into Vilija while cycling home, had a small chat about how much we crave for some warm rock and bam! we have the flight tickets to Kos - an island just one hour ferry ride away from the climbing paradise in Kalymnos.
On the 1st of September when the children were carrying flowers to school, Vilija and I were carrying our backpacks to Kaunas airport. We flew to Kos, took a bus to Mastichari, then a ferry to Pothia in Kalymnos and another bus to Masouri. And the same day in the evening we were sitting in the balcony of our studio and watching the beautiful rocks, drinking wine and waiting for Martynas to come from Zurich, which he did later the same evening.
The next morning Vilija learned how annoying I can be in the morning when I’m psyched to do something :) Well, I like early mornings and I like climbing. A lot. Because in summer the shadow stays only until about 1-2 p.m. in most of the sectors, we have to get up early. Even better! And so we adopted a 6 a.m. morning routine for the rest of the trip.
For the first day we chose the sector Poets because of the low grades. It was good for the first day and quite nice, especially if you haven’t tried the other sectors. But the sun came as was promised in the guidebook and so we climbed only about 5 routes that day. However, we managed to get used to the rock a bit. Later that day we went swimming, made a nice dinner and planned the next day. We decided to rent scooters for three days in order to be able to explore the more distant sectors. So we did that in the evening.
On Wednesday we went to Ghost Kitchen - a sector on the midway from Arginonta to Emporios. This was a very nice place. We climbed Remember Wadi Rum, the route that Vilimantas recommended me. An amazing route indeed! Long, varied climbing, tufas, not too difficult - all you need to enjoy!
Unfortunately, an unpleasant adventure was awaiting us here. I was belaying Vilija on Dafni, a route in between Remember Wadi Rum and another one that some guy (a climbing instructor as we later learned) was starting to climb. Suddenly, I saw a dark cloud rising from the ground around that guy, I saw him running down away from the route swinging his shirt around his head and shouting. Then I heard Martynas also shouting somewhere around and only then I realized what the heck was going on.
The guy put his hand into the wild hornets’ nest and now they were attacking everybody around. Ok, I see, I got one already, it f***ing hurts, but I was still belaying Vilija so I couldn’t run away. I was still observing the situation, trying to decide what’s best to do. After some more minutes the hornets started to notice me better and I got two more stings. And when all this mess became uncontrollable, me and Vilija decided that I have to lower her down fast. As soon as she was on the ground, we both ran away. Fortunately, Vilija got away with no stings. Martynas got one, I had three. The poor guy just said he got like fifteen and that he was allergic. So he rushed down to the car to drive to the hospital. We did not hear how he was doing later.
Because all our gear was left in the possession of hornets, we could not climb any more that day. Nor did we want because our heads were starting to swell. So we wanted to ask the natives whether it’s dangerous or not. Everybody said it is if you are allergic. If not, it is just very unpleasant.
So we just rested until the evening and then accomplished a mission called get back you stuff from the hornets while they are asleep. We brought headlamps, climbed the same route at night, collected our draws and other stuff and rushed back down. We still saw the rope and QD’s of the other guy. So they hadn’t got back by then.
In the morning we saw our double faces and yes indeed it was unpleasant. It faded away in four days so let’s get back to climbing. In the next two days we went to Secret Garden, which was an awesome crag for summer because the sun comes only at 6 p.m., and Arginonta, a beautiful crag with exceptionally good, long routes even in lower grades. We also went to Palionisos bay, to the Beach sector, and to Emporios, because we still had the scooters.
In Palionisos bay we met Nicolas, a guy who owns a tavern and is super inviting. He treated us to home made vine and olives form Crete and told stories about the place he lives. We were also lucky to see a native fisherman preparing octopuses. It seemed like a nice job - sitting on a pier, doing something (we did not fully understand the procedure) with the octopuses and jumping in the water form time to time when it gets too hot :)
After three days with the scooters were gone, we returned them back. We still had two days of climbing, so we decided to climb in Kalydna one day and in Grande Grota and Panorama the last one. I think Kalydna was my favorite sector, maybe because of the long routes on which you usually run out of quickdraws, maybe because we were acquainted with the rock already, maybe because we felt that it’s almost the last day here and wanted to climb more. So if you can climb 7a, you must visit this sector. I promise you will not regret. Sickle (7a+) and Nickel (7a) are the routes that I personally recommend. There are also some easier ones, but these ones are just amazing.
I am pretty sure that we will come back here. Next year! Maybe the next time we’ll go when it’s a bit colder, probably in October/November or March/April. However, summer is also nice, like a definition of holidays :)