After another circuitous drive up the “Peloponnes forefinger” and over the mountains from Sparta, we’re back in Leonidio – familiar territory from our 2017 trip it feels like coming home. Checked into Camping Semeli we catch up with Jim and Claire for a fish supper in one of the restaurants at the port. Mike and Heidi are also recently arrived, so The Rucksack Club 2019 SunRock Meet is well and truly in town.
It’s a glorious day, so after a few van jobs we’re heading up to Kokkinovrachos to get cracking.
This is the huge wall of red rock (Kokkino = Red, Vrachos = Rock) above the town of Leonidio, and is the signature crag of the area. Despite spending a couple of weeks here on our last trip, we never made it onto this sector – it’s a perfect solar concentrator and completely incompatible with the high 20s temperatures we had. 18 C today, so it’s toasty – shorts and shirtless is the order of the day.
Great views up the valley to the Monastery sectors and a snowy backdrop…
… and down towards the sea, the town and the fertile river delta that makes the economy here tick.
Much of the right hand end of Kokkinovrachos was bolted in 2015 by the prolific Remy Brothers as part of the first wave of development, giving row upon row of well bolted 40m routes (and a few huge multi-pitches that we’ll hopefully revisit later in the trip). I’d feared that this might have resulted in “Industrial grid bolting” of samey, indistinguishable and undistinguished routes, but all those we did were interesting and thoughtfully created.
Here’s Jim getting things started on Happy Life 6a+/b at the far left end of Orama
…and Helen on the appropriately named adjacent 6a
Also good was Stamo, 6b+, though the 6c extension didn’t seem to have any holds!
Moving rightwards you come to Rock Spot and an excellent sector of reddy-brown pocketed rock. More 40m routes, characterised by a longish approach on easy ground with the action packed into a tough 5 to 10m section followed by a romp to the chains. I managed Makis, 7a, with a steep and reachy crux on fairly obvious holds,
but didn’t read the more devious sequence quickly enough on Cern, 7a. Maybe one to redpoint sometime.
Finally, working rightwards again, we sample sector Douvari with its somewhat slabbier routes on grey rock – you can just about make out a one of a Polish team in pink in the lower centre of the shot below
A good exploration with another hundred or so routes to go back for now we’ve got our bearings. Walking down we can admire the even redder wall in the setting sun