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 theKalymnos 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 Kalymnos rebolting project comes with the following specifications:
• 2400 stainless-steel glue-in bolts (316L, 12mm) are to be used for rebolting existing routes
• 400 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.
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.