Eterna 6b+ (6a+ obl.) is a brand-new multi-pitch route on the South Face of Telendos between Wild Country and Wings for Life. It took the equippers Francis Haden and Gordon A. Jenkin six unglamorous days of dirt and hard work to equip the route, but it was worth it at the end. Notably, they used titanium glue-in bolts throughout the 11-pitch route (124 bolts) plus nine titanium ring sets for an optional abseil descent. This makes Eterna possibly the longest multi-pitch route on Kalymnos, and the first route to be equipped with titanium bolts.
In the equippers’ own words, “we were both in agreement that the route should be friendly, accessible and well-bolted to the best of our abilities.” Francis and Gordon kindly sent us a more detailed account of Eterna below (it’s a good story with a romantic twist!). For more photos and information, see Francis Haden’s blog.
Photos and topo for Eterna courtesy of Francis Haden and Gordon Jenkin.
If you climb Eterna, feel free to share your thoughts. Thank you Gordon, Francis and Donna!
Eterna: A new multi-pitch route on Telendos between ‘’Wild Country’ and ‘Wings for Life’
Six days to fix lines, clean and bolt the line and to climb the route.
Now suddenly it is almost over.
An eventful journey had brought Francis, Donna and myself, to a comfortable ledge at the end of pitch nine. We all look up. Above lies the headwall, which we named The Promised Land.
This is why we had travelled to Kalymnos, a continuous sea of small chicken-head holds leading up over a couple of bulges on a near vertical wall of orange. Two pitches of fantastic climbing interspersed with a wild hanging stance that pushed the sky away.
We were all familiar with the South face of Telendos and the fun of getting lost on its summit. Francis and Donna had previously climbed the original line of ‘Wings for Life’ and I had done ‘Wild Country’. Each individually enjoying the Kalymnos vibe, Francis and I had designs on creating a third route on the wall.
We were under no illusions about the amount of time, dirt, labour and expense it would take, but we were both in agreement that the route should be friendly, accessible and well bolted to the best of our abilities. Francis was the inspiration, and considerable expertise, in the decision to use titanium glue-ins fixed with premium quality (Hilti RE500) epoxy resin throughout. In addition, Francis had worked with the manufacturer (Titan Climbing) to design a fully titanium abseil ring set. The entire route would be equipped for an optional abseil descent.
So there we were. On holiday. Day one. We each picked up a huge haul bag full ropes and drills and started the slow, painful walk to re-visit the summit plateau. By the day’s end we had reached the exposed edge of the wall and had abseiled down, finding our line and rigging 300m of static line (SRT) caving style. The long walk out from the base to reach the cold refreshment of a Mythos beer in the village went surprisingly quickly.
The weather continued unstable the next day, so no boat ride to the base. Loaded up with endless gear it was an hour and a half to jumar to the top of the wall and check in for work. Our plan was to clean and bolt working down the route from the top. In theory(!) each subsequent day becoming easier.
Francis and I had bolted a big multi-pitch in North Vietnam the previous year, so our experience from this was invaluable in working efficiently together to deal with all the logistical nightmares that come with this sort of game. Francis put in a great effort dealing with the headwall pitches, alone, up above me. Also doing all of the glueing of our 124 bolt placement and 9 abseil sets.
In four days the route was complete which is more than could be said for us!
Day six and now we get to climb. Donna joins us for the ascent. A late start but the pitches fly past. Six hours later we’ve climbed the stunning headwall and pull onto the top. The views are dramatic. Francis has planned this moment to propose to Donna. As she makes the very last move on the climb he produces the ring and romance (she accepts!).
We all abseil back down, retrieving the last of our fixed lines to sit on an airy stance as we watch our waiting boatman eventually depart back to Massouri without us. Landing back on the ground in the early darkness we again pick up our heavy haulbags stuffed with static lines and climbing ropes for the long, slow walk to the village.
Eterna: Eleven pitches. F6b+ (F6a+ obl.)
Equipped: Francis Haden, Gordon A Jenkin
First Ascent: Francis Haden, Gordon A Jenkin, Donna Kwok 30th October 2014
Francis Haden (http://francishaden.wordpress.com)
Gordon A Jenkin
A special thanks to Titan Climbing, Aris Theodoropoulos, Claude Idoux, Steve McDonnel and the Kalymnos Rescue Team for their support.