the adventure continues:- glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity

September 24th 2015 – Today has been a very big day indeed. It all began with a trip to Olympic Wall at the Odyssey Sector to have a lot of fun with Doc (Darryn) and Tracey climbing and to really give some of the harder routes up there a red hot go! The walk-in was about 40 minutes and we got away early so we could be there first and get on the routes we wanted to try.

Tracey and Doc got on this horrible chossy thing called “Cantela” 6b. It just looked like a shitty climb but they got on it………….and it was shit all the way to the anchors. I decided against this and warmed up on “Alpha” 6b…….steep bouldery start to a slight technical slab and an airy finish to the anchors. It was a lot better than the other choss fest.

Once this was done Tracey suggested we get on “La Bite ne Fait pas le Moine Extension”. This 7b (25) was indeed a daunting looking ascent with its bouldery start, solid slab line and then 15 or so metres of serious tufa climbing with a small traverse just for kicks. Tracey, Darryn and I decided to give it a shot. I put the draws on and struggled up the first shot, Tracey did great and came of just below the anchors and Darryn gave it a good hard shot and fell moving off the first big tufa. The best line I have climbed in Kalymnos yet!

Second shot everything fell into place and I sent the route clean……this is exciting stuff indeed!!! 🙂 Tracey ticked it second shot and Darryn achieved a new high-point and fell at the evil pinches that are unforgiving.

September 27th 2015 – I guess the reason I am really writing this blog post is that today I realised that I have been self-sabotaging myself for a long time now and in the last week it has become very apparent. I am saddened by this and it makes me feel very upset with myself. The positive side of this is that I have now realised this and I can begin to work through removing this behaviour from my life. It has caused many problems over the years with work, relationships and now climbing. This self limiting behaviour has stopped me from doing so so much……..but no more!!

I sent a 7a+ route that I knew I could climb, but for so long I would make excuses and not get on routes that were this hard or harder. I would have one extra glass of wine the night before, I would go to bed too late and feel like crap the next day, I would even make excuses when I got to the crag about not “feeling the vibe”. This behaviour has limited my success and maintained a “failure constant” because I feel like I am not deserving of achieving these things………This is not true and I do deserve these things.

I also deserve to have the support required to achieve these things, and I have them here and now in Kalymnos in the form of Darryn, Tracey, Karine, Beatrice, Akiko, Lillian, Anne and the yoga crew,all the other friends I have back home and around the world……….I will most importantly succeed for me, however I will also succeed because of you too. 🙂 and I am coming back stronger!

One likes to believe in the freedom of music, but glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity.” – Neil Peart 

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the adventure continues:- aussies abroad………….endless surprises, reflections and great times ahead.

Today was Doc’s (Darryn) last day in Kalymnos with me and I must say I would be remiss to say I was not a little saddened by this. He has been a great source of information and support whilst we have been creating havoc on the Hellenic shores that we currently grace. Its hard to know where we began, but put simply we just contacted each other and decided to do a climbing trip together…….it was that easy.

Today Doc decided on the Seaside Kitchen (Ghost Kitchen) sector to throw his weight around and take in a day of hard climbing to ease the burden of travelling tomorrow. The effervescent Tracey Hua was with us yet again providing a source of insanity and fun that belies her age, she is truly a Weapon of Mass Distraction. When we arrived at the base of the cliff we heard a noise and there it was………….a bloody goat eating 12 metres up a 6a+ slab…………..hilarious!!!

Feeding on a 6a+ slab........its just walk in the park.
Feeding on a 6a+ slab……..its just walk in the park.
Moving right along..........
Moving right along……….

We warmed up a route called “Joy in the Garden” 6a+. Doc put the draws on it and with a very humid and sweaty ascent after him I followed. Tracey had warmed up on a solid 6c+ called Globus and decided to stay on the anchors and take some photos. Here is one of the many…….

The author warming up on Joy in the Garden 6a+.
The author warming up on Joy in the Garden 6a+.

Today’s “Send of the Day” definitely goes to Doc. He had a shot at “Ioli” 7a and struggled a bit at the crux, but on the second attempt he completely nailed it! It was sensational to watch as he cruised up through the steepness and pulled into the crux as fresh as a daisy and stepped up to complete the route. Great ascent by a truly great guy and very deserving indeed.

Doc sailing through the steepness on Ioli 7a.
Doc sailing through the steepness on Ioli 7a.

Tomorrow Doc is off to Italy to meet his other half for three weeks of museums and touristy stuff. I think he will enjoy it immensely but I know he miss the insanity and fun that we have had over the last four weeks together with our little buddy Tracey. Truly a trip to remember and we will always be the Kalymnos Kalimbing Krew……… 🙂

the adventure continues:- thunderbolts and lightening very very frightening……………….me!!!

Today is another rest day for the trusty Kalymnos Klimbing Krew after a couple of solid days in the vertical world. We are managing to stay fairly well rested and in our down time we try to get out and see a few things and recover from the brandishing that our bodies are receiving on a regular basis. You realise as you get older that climbing hard has to be managed with a stoic and resilient approach otherwise you simply break.

Dionysos 7a Odyssey Wall.
Dionysos 7a Odyssey Wall.

The rain has settled in overnight and mother nature is putting on a fabulous show with rolling thunder and incredible lightening flashing across the sky. This is the first time I have witnessed a thunderstorm since I left Sydney six months ago. The smell is just wonderful and I love the scent of the rain as it falls. All the positive and negative ions screaming around the atmosphere……….truly wonderful.

In typical Greek fashion the power occasionally flickers and we are in the dark on and off for less then three seconds at a time, but I find this totally hilarious and  think its truly part of the experience. Oh hang on a minute! I am now sitting in the dark, the screen of my laptop lighting the way through a more prolonged power loss. This is what storms are supposed to be like 🙂

I have Gangajang’s song “This is Australia” pouring through my head “Out on the patio we sit. And the humidity we breathe, We’d watch the lightning crack over canefields, We’d laugh and think, This is Australia”…………….Memories of home and the great storms my great southern land experiences.

I think it’ll be a day for sitting in the cafe and just going through what needs to be done to prepare for my next little adventure.

stay tuned as the adventure will continue…………………………. 🙂

the adventure continues:- its always important to have the experience…………thanks Darryn.

One of the great things about taking photos is that you will always have the memory of the experience and I for one, travelling the world want to remember this adventure. I know recently I have not been regularly blogging. This may in fact be due to the great time I am having hanging out with a group of people who are so much fun to be around and so uniquely interesting as individuals that I just want the experience.

Spending time with a climbing partner you have not spent more than 7 minutes talking to previously is a pretty cool thing. The conversations are interesting as you get to know each others quirks and eating habits, tidiness levels and just simple living styles. I, on this current Kalymnos adventure have been fortunate to be spending time with a very cool man. Darryn is a very chilled and calming partner to have and continually reminds me to not take climbing so seriously and just have fun doing it.

Darryn and I in our Sunday best............
Darryn and I in our Sunday best…………thanks for the photo Tracey Hua……love you longtime!

In the initial days of this trip we were both a little unsure of where to start with our climbing and so having been here before I took Darryn to the places I went to last time and we had some great days in the vertical world. On one of our early rest days we did a recon mission on our trusty scooters to find out where the other areas and sectors where. This worked a charm as it saved us time trying to find things on the day when we rather just go and climb.

It has always amazed me how quickly we develop a level of trust with our climbing partners. Our lives are literally in each others hands and despite some peoples views, climbing is and always will be in my humble opinion…….and extreme sport. I know that when I am climbing that Darryn is totally there and focussed on keeping my skinny butt off the ground and I his. Its a great partnership developed at speed under extreme circumstances……………………..this may sound overly dramatic……it is not! Its simply a statement of fact.

The boys doing the business......note the spanner....yep we do find loose bolts.
The boys doing the business on Thetis 6b for the warm up……**Note the spanner. – Photo Tracey Hua

You’ve got the spirit mate! You really do :-)………oh and OMG!!! Those perfectly toned calf muscles to help propel you skyward…….. 😛

the adventure continues:- you’ve either got the spirit or you don’t…………….boutique sports climbing.

Its an incredible thing to be able to live out a life long dream of travelling the planet and visiting places that you have only dreamed about and seen on documentaries or in movies. I am truly one of the most fortunate human beings. I am continually surrounded by amazing athletes and very fit and healthy people. They share information freely about where to get the cheapest food (the dirtbags know this stuff), what to take when your injured to speed recovery and just generally love to talk about their experiences and travels.

Me warming up on Harakiri 6b at Spartacus Wall.
Me warming up on Harakiri 6b at Spartacus Wall.

As I sit and write this blog I am sitting about ten feet from Alex Megos. He is currently one of the best sports climbers on the planet. Access to these people in Kalymnos is just so easy; they are all really approachable and happy to chat briefly. This is the place to be right now as the climbing season here is well and truly on and the stars have come out to play.

See I told you Alex Megos was there...........but I did think he'd be bigger :-)
See I told you Alex Megos was there………..but I did think he’d be bigger 🙂

It makes me laugh a little as climbing in Kalymnos is a little different. You have high fashion, high grades and the high life. You can almost tell the nationalities by what they are wearing at night. It is very much boutique sports climbing at its best…………not that there’s anything wrong with that…….. It makes sports climbing and exploring other cultures all the more exciting and at times challenging because I simply do not know what to wear.

Pulling the crux on Kerveros 7a Spartacus Wall
Pulling the crux on Kerveros 7a Spartacus Wall

The language barrier that we all struggle with is never an issue with climbers. There is enough information (beta) flying around using arm movements, hand gestures and jargon in the restaurants and cafes to assist you getting on pretty much anything……….this is exciting stuff!!!!

I have recently up’d the anti myself and I am now pushing myself to get on the routes that I find really inspiring aesthetically and that I really want to climb. These routes just happen to all fall around 7a (23) and above.

IMG_4867

I don't have the spirit.........I left it on the ground in my pack.
I don’t have the spirit………I left it on the ground in my pack.
Getting cruxy and thrutchy on Sevasti 7b Iannis Wall.
Getting cruxy and thrutchy on Sevasti 7b Iannis Wall.

I think one of the funniest and most inspiring quotes I have heard over my climbing life is one by famous american adventure climber and total bad ass Leonard Coyne.

“Its not about ego’s, its not about fuckin’ numbers, its not about who did what to whom when!  You’ve either got the spirit or you don’t……..and if you’ve got the fuckin’ spirit you rock……….and if you don’t………………………….you’re a sports climber!

– Leonard Coyne

I feel very at home here now and I also feel…………..very inspired!

Pulling through the steepness.....Dionysos 7a.
Pulling through the steepness…..Dionysos 7a.

the adventure continues:- a flat battery, a stomach bug , tightening bolts and climbing on jugs.

Well since my last update I have to say life on my island home has been a little bit interesting. About to head out climbing nice and early with Darryn and Tracy on Saturday just past and I went to start my groovy little 50cc Peugeot scooter and………nothing………dead in the water……….not a sound. The bloody battery was flat and it was 7am. Nothing opens here until about 9am and by the time the hordes are moving around in droves the sectors are swarming with scooters abandoned by their owners.

Scooter hell at Aginonta Sector...........
Scooter hell at Aginonta Sector………..

I had breakfast again as there was no use going out climbing if it was that late already and the scooter wouldn’t have been ready until about 10:30-11:00am anyways. I spent the morning hanging out with Karine sorting out my next big adventure trekking to the summit of Kilimanjaro and doing a safari across the Serengeti. Then headed around to Pothia, had an early lunch at a fav local establishment and rode to Varthy village and around the island on my updated scooter with Tracy and Darryn and then down the beach for the afternoon.

A beautiful fishing boat in Pothia harbour.
A beautiful fishing boat in Pothia harbour.
The port of Pothia is a serene and beautiful town.
The port of Pothia is a serene and beautiful town.
Fish farms in the Aegean Sea on the way to Varthy.
Fish farms in the Aegean Sea on the way to Varthy.
The town of Varthy nestled in the deep valley, truly stunning.
The town of Varthy nestled in the deep valley, truly stunning.

The next day was a legitimate rest day. So it was bacon and eggs for breakfast at Glaros Snack Bar with Karine and Darryn. A couple of americano coffees later it was time to get some work done. Finding the next crag to visit and selecting another project, doing the laundry, figuring out what time to go to the beach etc etc etc……………life is truly difficult for me right now 🙂

As part of our way of contributing to the climbing scene here in Kalymnos Darryn and I have been putting in our ten cents worth and tightening bolts where we find them loose on routes. It doesn’t take much effort to check a few bolts on each route and verify the anchors are safe and sound. Such a little effort for such a great outcome. To keep Kalymnos climbing safe. Steve and Sue from Glaros Snack Bar provided the spanner and a few additional fixed hangers………thanks guys.

Sunday night Darryn, Tracey and I headed out for dinner to a great little place a the north end of town and had a good fun evening. We decided to go to bed early and head out climbing early the next day, its great getting to the crags before the hordes of vertical animals turn up.

Darryn and I in our Sunday best............
Darryn and I in our Sunday best…………

The next morning I was awakened by serious stomach cramps and knew immediately that I was a victim of a bout of food poisoning. I was going to fight it and go out climbing but within fifteen minutes of being upright I realised this was absolutely pointless. Another forced rest day and I was down for the count. Darryn had some good drugs to sort out the cramping and associated results of this issue. I rested and was looked after by the lovely Karine; she made sure I did nothing but rest all day. I really don’t do being ill well and feeling like that, its just debilitating.

The next day feeling better Darryn and I headed out to the Aginonta Sector and did a series of cruisy routes, checked some bolts and climbed on a couple of crag classics that were almost steep and juggy. Its great cruising up fun routes on good holds and just simply enjoying the movement. I felt a little tired on the 7a “Sex in the City”, bouldery bastard of thing 🙂 but sent it with one rest.

This life is truly a blessing.

the adventure continues:- some days are diamonds, most days are stone…………..love it!

Its been a few days now and I am happy to report that the climbing has been improving and we are getting a variety of styles and routes. It is always refreshing to go back to where you started and really check out where you came from and how you have progressed. In June this year I felt intimidated by the grandiose scale of the Kalymnian cliffs and now they are very much like a second home.

Friday just gone I put a request in with Darryn to head back up to where we began our climbing here………Spartacus Cave. I was motivated to get on a route called Kerveros 7a. It is a beautiful and inspiring line that travels 30 metres up the left hand side of the cave and onto a sustained headwall for 18 metres to the anchors. We warmed up on Harakiri 6b and then I proceeded to put the draws on my project for the day.

The author warming up on Harakiri 6b.........
The author warming up on Harakiri 6b………
Darryn Rogers on Nabuchodonosor 6c+
Darryn Rogers on Nabuchodonosor 6c+

The delightful and very funny Tracey Hua has now graced us with her presence and she is a source of Gen-Y social media insanity that keeps the two of us amused no end. Darryn has nicknamed her the “selfie ninja”, a name she has taken to rather nicely.

The delightful Tracy Hua........our Gen-Y social media and marketing manager
The delightful Tracy Hua……..our Gen-Y social media and marketing manager

After the first attempt on my project I rested for a good 35-40 minutes and re-fueled with what snacks and water I had in my pack. Feeling ready for a second shot I jumped back on for a possible red-point of a tough and committing 7a………………..SUCCESS!!!!! First 7a of the trip is now sent and I am stoked.

The author red-pointing Kerveros 7a on his second attempt.
The author red-pointing Kerveros 7a on his second attempt.

Two days earlier Darryn and I went checked out the Seaside Kitchen (formerly Ghost Kitchen) and the slab and vertical face climbing there was sensational. We had such a great morning climbing these 32 metre walls and it was great to really test out the slabbin’ skills. Our goal was to on-sight as many routes as we could and it was so much fun. Mainly routes in the 6a to 6c+ range but all in all super super fun.

The Aegean coastline in panorama.........love my iPhone 6.
The Aegean coastline in panorama………love my iPhone 6.

The rest day the day before was just relaxing and hanging out with the yoga crew climbing again and belaying them on some easy routes at Summertime crag. this place is truly beautiful……..reminded me of a scene from a 70’s cigarette commercial……….such an amazing location.

Karine warming up on the slab at Summertime Crag.
Karine warming up on the slab at Summertime.

Dream BIG!!!! 🙂