With Jim’s departure the team was down to the usual complement of two (though actually we’ve just bumped into Steve who is out with Keith, and Pete is arriving later in the week, so the Rucksack contingent continues to be in residence!)
Anyway, branching out from the usual stomping grounds we decided to check out Pomegranate, a fine-looking new sector on the way up to Skiadianiko.
It’s all 6b and up so, after the still-damp ford crossing, we nipped up to warm up at Skiadianiko.
Here’s Helen on Fola
… and the excellent Fever Tree, 6b
She also romped up Lehina, 6a, and Sterna, 6a+, and felt the grades should probably be swapped.
Back down to Pomegranate and I jumped on Arabesque, a 40m 7a at the right hand end of the crag. Someone on UKC had described it as “immaculate and highly enjoyable” which sounded good. Judging by the amount of loose rock lying around beneath the crag, the first ascentionists had quite a job cleaning the routes, and they’re still settling down somewhat. The crux relies on some very thin layaway flake holds and I managed to pull one of these off (only fingertips-deep but a whole layer of rock dinner-plated off).
I managed without, so it’s still doable, and the finish is well worth persevering for, up a fun flakey arete that was still catching the sun.
Just right is Madame Pomegranate, which gets 7b in the guide. It’s got a weird cruxy move about 3 bolts up, on tenuous holds, but probably isn’t harder than 7a. More to come back for, and “A Tufa Too Far” looks worth a look, but beer o’clock was fast approaching.
It’s taken us 3 weeks to find it, but the Bus Station bar is an excellent spot for a sunny sundowner, with superb views of Kokkinovrachos. Great spot for a Fix!