Just had a week climbing on the conglomerate towers of Meteora in central Greece with my girlfriend Bron. This place seems to be a bit off the radar for most climbers in the UK, which is a shame because it is, totally, awesome!
I felt like it provided quite a different experience to a lot of "clip and go" euro-sport holidays, which can feel a bit sterile. All the bolting was done ground up and as such it's pretty runout in places, definitely worth bringing a trad rack as most of the routes we did had an average of about 3 bolts per pitch!
Just looking around in the mornings at all these huge 300m towers filled me with childlike psyche to get out climbing, "I wanna go up there!"
This was my first time using the Edelweiss Oxegen II half ropes, I was amazed at how much lighter they were than my previous half ropes and after a week of heavy use they still looked like I'd just taken the out the packet, highly recommended.
Day 1: Obviously had to involve climbing this:
Day 2: We decided to go straight away for the classic route of the area; Traumpfeiler or Pillar of Dreams is a 9 pitch grade VI in the UIAA scale, which corresponds to about HVS, sounds easy! Well it was, but I wouldn't have liked you to tell me that halfway up pitch one. I found myself adrift in a sea of mossy pebbles with not a bolt in sight above or below and no obvious trad placements except optimistically equalised slings on crozzle! Thankfully after this it was slightly safer, although pitch 7 also had 3 bolts in 40m! Here's Bron seconding pitch 4:
In the evening I snuck in an extra cheeky solo up this huge block, it had a cross on top and I thought "if a monk can get up there, so can I!"
Day 3: This perched block is still up there as far as I know!
Day 4: We decided to try and climb our two favourite looking towers in a day, both via 5 pitch VIIs (E3ish). First up was Teufelsturm, which I am unreliably informed means "devils tower".
A missed belay meant we simul-climbed a large section in the middle and the final pitch apparently had no bolts! Summit one:
Next up was "Kastrakiturm", the final pitch had some incredible exposure!
Ten pitches climbed, hi-five!
Day 5: A 6 pitch VII on "Dupianifels" had a SWEET picnic spot in the middle:
Also from here I had an hour and a half in which to attempt Meteoras hardest route, "Crazy Dancing" IX+/7c+ is a totally wild horizontal roof crack blasting straight out of the cave!
Unfortunately I didn't quite send, but it felt hard to be upset in such amazing surroundings.
Day 6: Last day! We wanted to try a route imaginatively named "Action Direct" but it turned out to be wet. Instead we went for "Keisel Am Himmel" a 5 pitch VIII/7a. I linked the first two pitches to make a 50m 7bish monster pitch. It had a bit of everything, loose pebbles, crozzle crimping, running out of quickdraws... Here's Bron seconding the crux:
All in all I'd definitely recommend the place if your looking for a different kind of climbing trip. Do get in touch if you want the beta on where to stay, what to climb etc!