Frygani

Winding our way up into the mountains via tortuous zigzags we arrive at Frygani and our first cragging away from the coast. At almost 1,000m and nestled beneath a ski resort, it’s an unlikely winter climbing destination, but sure enough it’s mid teens and T-shirt weather. The rock is fine conglomerate (cherry tomato-sized pebbles rather than the potatoes or even pumpkins you get in Meteora or Riglos) making for finger pockets or pebble pinching on the trickier routes.

Development of the crag was funded by local businesses and community groups, hence the “thank you” noticeboard in the picture below, and some unlikely route names.

Here’s Helen leading “Sikyona Municipality”, 6a, as an example!

There are three 🎶 routes and we somewhat greedily guzzled them: Armonia, 6a+:

Ladolea, 6b and Arxontiko Kefalari, also 6b. As I was starting up the latter we heard a bit of commotion from the vans parked below (just a couple of minutes from the crag). A bloke had pulled into the lay-by and was talking to Claire. We heard the words “… problem for you…” and Jim did his shining Knight impression to make sure everything was OK. It turned out the bloke was politely enquiring whether it would be OK to use his drone to film me climbing! I felt just like Alex Honold!

Video footage to follow if we ever find enough WiFi…

Here’s Jim making slick work of the crux initial bulge.

The main Frygani crag goes into the shade around 3pm, but no need to get chilly – just head a mile down the road to its west-facing sister crag: Mylos:

I had a bit of excess energy to burn so threw myself at Magas; an attractive looking 7a+. Surprisingly good progress, despite some seeping holds, led to a no-hands knee-bar rest within sight of the chain, but a heart-break crux move spoiled the day.

On the way back to the van (another 3 minutes approach!) we met the cutest apprentice sheep dogs you could imagine…

Then it was time for a beer, and we enjoyed the first Fix of the trip in a local taverna.

We parked up overnight overlooking Lake Stymphalia, famous as the setting for one of the Labours of Hercules and now protected as a nature reserve. We parked strategically to have a panoramic view of the birdlife when we woke, and weren’t disappointed!

… at least once the early mist had burned off

Back to the main crag for more “Poudinage”. Here’s Helen on Pleiades-Patriko (you can just about make out the snowy mountains in the background).

Next I had a go at Velina, 7a: a series of stiff pulls on sharp finger pockets and tricky to on-sight with no chalk on them – too many options and not enough gas to hang on and find the good ones. Close, but no cigar!

Jim and Helen then both onsighted Kastania, 6b. It took Jim a while to work out how to switch my phone out of selfie mode

… but he did manage to get a decent shot of Helen topping out:

I turned my attention to Feneos, 7a, which is fairly amenable to 2/3 height but then steepens up with a vengeance just as the pockets run out. Got lucky this time and guessed the sequence right!

We might have run out of 🎶 routes, but we all enjoyed a WooHoo!! route instead.

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