Kardamyli

Heading south from Frygani was a thrilling adventure through pre-Alpine territory, with an hour’s drive on switch-backing, often single-track, roads without encountering a single other vehicle! The A7 appeared against all expectations (should have trusted Google Maps, but it has had its moments!) and we quickly romped the last 100km down to Kalamata, and a handy stopover at the Marina – hob-nobbing with some swanky motorhomes and even swankier yachts (as well as a smattering of working boats).

Next morning, another windy hour’s drive down the coast and we’re in Kardamyli, a really charming low-key seaside village – it’s almost tempting to skip the climbing and just mooch and chill… But only almost!

There’s just the one developed crag here – seen top left in the picture above (but plenty of rock for many more) and it’s NW facing (photo taken around 5pm – when most of the crag is still only getting glancing sun) so it’s one for a warm day. Luckily it’s 20C so all’s well!

Here’s the view from the top of the crag – not too shabby…

There are about 30 routes here and, as the guidebook points out, they can be a bit vegetated in the spring – and any wetness will take a while to dry out at this time of year. Our experience was therefore a bit of a mixed bag, with some outstanding routes and a few poor ones which might be transformed later in the season. There also seemed to be a few grading anomalies, which it seemed to be worth trying to sort out, so in the spirit of trying to help fellow travellers, here’s our best guess for the routes we did:

Here’s Helen on the 🎶 Pick ‘n Roll, 7a (soft touch 6c? but very good)

Jim on Gaia, 6a+ (about right and worth 3*)

Helen on Prasinos Skorpios (Green Scorpion) 6a (again about right and worth 3* – the extension to 55m is an excellent lung-buster of an outing and good value for 6b)

Helen on Gerakotrypa Extension (this is the oddest guidebook entry – the extension gets 7a+ 45m and 2* whereas it’s more like 6b 37m and 🎶! Certainly well worth doing so don’t be put off by the 7a+ typo)

Me on Lamia, gets 6c+/7a in the guide but follows a water streak so a bit grim in current conditions.

Jim on John Lawton (another oddball – given 6b+ but more like 6a, but amongst the best routes here)

No picture, and one to avoid when wet (as it is currently) is Antartiko Xydea extension which goes the full height of the crag for a rather damp and dirty 55m of character building 6b+ (and then some…)

A dozen routes over two days and a tranquil beach-side van spot… We’ll be looking forward to reports of the next phase of development.

Meanwhile, we’re back on the road south with a great overnight stop at Taverna O Faros at Karavostasis – free van parking, outstanding hospitality and great food. What’s not to like?

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