Meteora is a complex of giant rocks that rise above the settlements of Kalambaka and the picturesque village of Kastraki in the plains of Thessaly.
In Meteora there are about 800 multi-pitch and sport climbing routes on the towers.
The scenery of the rock, the fairytale environment and the fact that each route really ends at the top of the rocks, make climbing in Meteora a fantastic experience.
Climbing: The texture of the rock consists of a wide variety of pebbles, shingles and larger stones that are embedded in a cement-like surface. It is a mixture of sandstone and conglomerate rock. You will often encounter shallow holes in the place of stones that have been peeled off. At first you will have difficulty trusting these small pebbles, but before long you will realise that they are very strong. Climbing on the majority of routes requires good balance. The only thing that changes as the difficulty of the routes increases or decreases is the size of the pebbles and the slope of the rock. One can experience pleasant, technical and delicate climbing which doesn’t require special athletic skills, only on very difficult routes.
Although most of the routes in Meteora are traditional bolted face climbs, there is mixed sport and trad climbing on many routes. The multi-pitch routes that are trad ascend cracks or chimneys and are secured with cams and nuts.
The oldest classic routes have been established mainly by Germans, since they were pioneers in the field.
Climbing history: Modern climbing (after the ascents of the monks and some other older sporadic ascents) began in 1975 by Dietrich Hasse and Heinz Lothar Stutte along with other German climbers who established a plethora of routes and organized climbing in Meteora. The Germans, as pioneers, created stringent ethical rules, which are followed until today, establishing the routes in the traditional way from the bottom up (ground-up ethics).
Between 1975 and 1985, more than 200 routes were established and almost all the towers were climbed. Since the 1990s, the Greek climbers have followed suit, respecting ground-up ethics and bolting procedures, but putting more nails in their routes. There are two young men from Kastraki, Vangelis Batsios and Christos Batalogiannis, who have established very impressive routes, including Action Direct, Orchidea and Crazy Dancing. The two aforementioned climbers, along with several more active local climbers, are part of a strong local climbing community. They have set up the Kalampaka Mountaineering Club, which, in cooperation with the Mountaineering and Climbing Federation, undertake the difficult task of constantly maintaining the climbing routes.
The thousands of climbers from Greece and the rest of Europe who visit the region recognize the rocks of Meteora as very important cultural heritage monuments. At the same time, however, Meteora is a unique natural monument. Climbers are practicing their hobby in this beautiful landscape, approaching it with great respect and a sense of responsibility towards the integrity, cleanliness and protection of the sensitive ecosystem of the area.
Text/Photographs: Vangelis Batsios