The Ratings

We’re back climbing, this time trying out a newly bolted area called Manikia in Greece. The climbing is lovely as many new sites can be; nothing is slippery from overuse. You can kind of see where other people have put their feet, and sometimes there’s a bit of chalk on holds, but that’s about it.

It’s not touristy at all, which is both good and bad. The good part is that all the businesses around here are incredibly happy to see us. The bad part is that it’s November and many things are closed, or closing soon. No matter, though. There’s a grocery store, and we’ve rented a place with a kitchen so we can cook. For whatever reason, my partner has taken over cooking. He likes it and he’s able to deal with an unknown kitchen better than I can.

The hard part here is to figure out the difficulty of the climbs. There’s a rating system, but there’s what I call the “Kalymnos effect”. Kalymnos is an island famous for climbing, and (maybe to attract more tourists) they over-rated most of the climbs. There, I could do a 7a (which is normally impossible for me). Here it’s all over the place. We’ve climbed in three spots. The first two were single pitch and were rated 3-4 grades harder than they actually were (a 6b was more like a 5b). Then we did a multi-pitch climb yesterday, and it was only overrated by only a half grade at most. I mean, can I do a 6b+ or not? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It’s hard to know what is worth attempting. The climbs are also extremely well bolted, so it doesn’t matter so much. We’ll get to the top.

I spoke too soon about the wonderful bolting. Today we did a climb that was entirely normal, which was abnormal here! The difficulties were on par with the rest of Europe, and the spacing between the bolts was just fine but spaced out further than anything we’d climbed so far here. A couple of times I looked back and didn’t like what a fall would look like if any of the rocks came loose (which is more of an issue since everything is so new here.)

There is also very little information about belays and such, so getting down is sometimes not what we expect. It’s all part of the adventure!

Today’s route: this was a 5c+ that was really a 5c+, not harder, not easier, and the bolts were close but not overly so.

However, today was hard on the arms, so we’re taking a day off tomorrow. I hope we’ll go to the beach, or visit another town or something. Certainly we’ll sleep in! I could also just read all day, and hang out with Foro.

Sometimes I wonder why he doesn’t talk, and then I think, “because he’s a stuffed animal”. Willing it won’t make it so.

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