Alepochori 

Another trip inland took us to Alepochori, yet another impressive series of crags set in magnificent limestone mountain scenery. The west facing walls are strewn with tufa, resembling orange corrugated cardboard on a huge scale, but the access path was blocked by a fence (and there are only a couple of lines below 7b anyway and these were about to come into the sun). Fortunately, we’d been planning to go to the east facing crags another mile or so up a severely hairpinned dirt track.

Our arrival coincided with a cacophony of goat bells echoing from all sides of the valley, but otherwise there was nothing to disturb the tranquillity. We warmed up on Velanismos, an outstanding 5c (thus breaking my completely arbitrary rule of never starting beneath 6a, and demonstrating its randomness). Felt like a good 6a anyway, but reasonably bolted. We hopped onto the 6a+ to the left, expecting a bit of gradual progression, and I was a bit put out to find it hugely run-out (5 bolts in 20m when the neighbouring route had 10). Other than that, great climbing on very sharp incut holds and holes.

An early lunch break was called whilst we waited for the crag to come into the shade – bread, cheese and olives (as always!) 

A couple more similar routes on the same bit of wall then a battle with a very good but tough 6c I Psilli which ground to a halt at a mono side pull on a razor sharp pocket – not worth losing a finger on!

If you’d been tracking “routes per day” or “average grade” for the last week, you would already come to the same conclusion we’ve finally reached – it’s time for a rest day! 

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