Propolis: a Kalymnian Classic….too much fun in the sun.

Karine and I went to bed with a good plan for the next morning, sleeping soundly for the first time in a couple of days. Mosquitos and the sound of a dog continually barking makes for disturbed sleep more often than not. Our plan was based on the simple acknowledgement that we were both tired and a little worn out and we needed to have some fun. The plan was Karine’s brainchild and it was simple and easily completed.

We rose the next morning and the wind was howling across the terrace outside our little studio apartment and it was a little cold. The coffee brought with it a sense of warmth and fresh bread, still warm delighted our taste buds and tummies. We packed our gear and checked we had everything. We were indeed ready to go. Off on our scooter we rode for at least three hundred metres and parked at the trailhead (lazy people of course).

Walking up the trail, I stared up ahead of us and saw our prize. The right hand buttress of one of the closest climbing sectors in the area. As we got closer the wind abstained from blowing us off our feet and subsided completely by the time we got our destination. We were standing under Karine’s idea of having fun. A seventy metre high wall. Doesn’t seem much really in terms of climbing far, but it was what she wanted to do and thats what mattered most.

We racked up our gear and I set off on the first pitch. The wind howled through my helmet and was cold on my arms. The route was an easy push for me, but my mind was on rope management and keeping us safe. As I got higher the wind increased again and made communication with K on the ground difficult. Arriving at the end of the first pitch I went in hard and set up the belay and yelled “In hard”. I pulled the rope through and yelled “Climb when ready!” Karine put on her shoes and said loudly “Climbing!”

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Karine setting off at the start of the second pitch.

Its great being a spectator from the top of a route and watching how your partner climbs. You can learn a great deal. Karine was cruising up the pitch and making it look effortless. She has a knack for this, even when being stressed or anxious. As she got closer the pitch got harder and she just stopped briefly to assess the situation and moved through to the anchors and sat next to me and smiled.

We were now only thirty-five metres off the ground but we felt like we were free. Like birds perched high above the ground surveying their territory. I had managed to keep the rope rather tidy, even with the high speed winds whirling around up here. We swapped roles and I began to climb the second pitch. This was the money pitch for me. I could see from the ground that this was going to be super fun and put me a little out of my comfort zone. Not so much the grade, but the style of climbing was new to me. I was excited.

Pulling up into the dihedral and spreading my feet wide, I settled into this beautiful lay backing corner, taking my time and just simply enjoying the position and movement. I stepped across and began the same process again facing left now for the final ten metres. This pitch was just so good. As I approached the anchors I had to step across into space to position myself atop the headwall. Again I set up the belay and yelled “Climb when ready!” to Karine.

Thirty metres below me and sitting contently on her little ledge, K smiled and said “Climbing!” She makes this climbing stuff look very easy, doesn’t look troubled in any way, shape or form. Cruised up, ever so slightly looking around for the next best foot placement and bridge position. The wind was now howling around as she reached the sixty metre mark. She looked up and smiled, clipped the last two bolts and was standing to my left.

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Summit Selfie…….

The view was just magnificent and we had to take a selfie to celebrate our ascent. It’s way more important to enjoy the moment and just simply look around. We talked briefly about how good the route was and how it was great to just do something very relaxed and cruisy. We setup ready to abseil and proceeded to descend back to the ground one at a time. This was only Karine’s second multi-pitch route and she enjoyed it greatly.

Back on the ground we embraced and laughed about how much we really enjoyed the morning. I always remember my dad saying to me “Mate, remember the summit is only halfway!” I was reminded of this as I began to pull the rope. I was also hoping the wind would not cause to many issues as the rope descended back to earth. It landed safely and soundly at the first  anchor and then again it landed about six metres away without and hitches back on the ground.

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Ascending from the heavens. The sister of Icarus.

It was a fabulous outing on a great little route that has made our trip so far. If you get a chance to do this route, we cant recommend it highly enough. Propolis is two pitches of great climbing 6a (18) and 5c+ (17). Perfectly bolted and too much fun in the sun!

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