Olympic Blocs: Bouldering in Greece

Review by planetFear
Sunday 26th November 2006

Greece has really come to the attention of climbers in the last decade due to the ever growing popularity of the island of Kalymnos. It's quickly become the 'in-place to be' for sport climbers and it has certainly put Greece on the map in relation to climbing.

Olympic Blocs is a simple, small guide to established bouldering areas in Greece. I use the word established loosely as the author constantly states the number of boulderers in Greece is minimal and that the areas covered are only a selection of what's possible and been 'discovered'.

The author, Krsten Oelze is German and has published this book after a number of years of visiting and travelling around with locals, opening many new bouldering / climbing areas.

The bouldering areas highlighted are pretty much spread around the mainland except for the island of Kos (which lies close to Kalymnos). All problems are given Font grades and vary from 4+ to 7c+. All the locations have a main hand-drawn topo alongside photo topos for individual boulders.

The topos are certainly simple but are clear and concise and certainly should be enough to get you close to the main bouldering. One of the main themes running through this book is exploration and as such a visit to these areas may not be to 'send the classics' but more a chance to explore and expand the bouldering potential. The author states that many new lines and areas are waiting to be discovered.

The rock ranges from water polished limestone to sandstone to rough, mountain hillside granite. Photos are spread throughout the guide (all black and white) and give a good idea of the climbing involved and the locations covered.

Areas covered include:

  • Kos
  • Volos / Bollywood (Central Greece - near Meteora)
  • Pinovo (NW Greece - border with Macedonia)
  • Maronia (NE Greece - near Turish border)
  • Rizoma (Central Greece - near Meteora)
  • Varasova / Blue Se Boulders (SW Greece - a well known alpine / big wall area)

All these areas are pretty spread out and certainly all couldn't be visited in one trip.

Having spoken to a few people who have visited and climbed on the mainland (including a close friend) followed up by some reading and researching on the internet, it's pretty obvious that mainland Greece is an untapped destination that will certainly grow over the next decade. Kalymnos may have brought the outlying islands onto the world sport climbing scene but the Greek mainland is likely to become very popular with all-round climbers - be it sport, bouldering, trad, big wall, DWS or alpine, Greece seems to have a bit of everything...and glorious weather!

This guide is therefore best thought of as an accompaniment, or rough guide, to climbing in Greece. If you're bored of Font's fickle weather in winter, too poor to go to Hueco or Thailand, or are heading to Greece for some winter sun, then this guide is a worthy book that will aid exploration and certainly help in finding somewhere new and different.

Pages: 95 with Paper / Card backing
Text: German / Greek / English in equal measure
Photos: Black & White

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