Zobolo – Sector Aspra and some petrified trees

Started off chilly so we had a mooch down to the coast to check out Zobolo’s other major attraction (in addition to the very fine crag and aforementioned most southerly point) – its Petrified Forest. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but the coast is scattered with the ancient remnants of the trunks of palm trees, and the effect is quite Daliesque.

If that hadn’t been worth the walk, the fabulous display of wild flowers certainly was.

By which time, it had just about stopped spitting and it was time to go climbing!

Jim and Helen had eyed up the “attractive” corner of Emmanuela, 6a, the previous evening, so we warmed up on that.

Then I put in a lot of effort on an ultimately unsuccessful attempt at Alfa Vita, a 40m 7b, managing the sketchy sloper/pocket moves but grinding to a halt at the final bulge

Then we headed a bit further up the hill to Sector Aspra and Zobolo’s main event. This is an impressive, steep bit of crag with heavily featured rock covered in huecos, tufas and grooves. Here’s Jim on the excellent Farmakotriftis, 6a+ and tough for the grade.

… and topping out in a rare blast of sunshine.

I did Myrtoo Pelagos, an outstanding 7a+ up a tufa corner (my favourite kind of territory) and was so pleased with it I allowed myself to break my “never climb 6c+s” rule and do Dimitra. This is another tufa-encrusted groove – longer, and more sustained, but without any really desperate moves (despite the seepage). You can even get a no-hands rest before the final push…

Fully worthy of the 🎶 symbol, and a contender for route of the trip so far.

Meanwhile, Helen managed to bag another sunny interlude to do Axonas X, 5c

Back down to the van in time for a spectacular sunset

… which painted the crag a vivid red

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