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The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival
Photo by The North Face ® / Ricky Felderer
Everything is ready for the The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival
Photo by Hansjörg Auer
Marathon Competitions
Photo by The North Face ® /Chris Boukoros
From 9 - 12 October 2014 the third edition of The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival 2014
Photo by The North Face Kalymnos

The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival 2014: kick-off!

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The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival 2014 begins today. The international climbing meeting takes place on the island of Kalymnos, Greece, from 9 – 12 October 2014. More than 2500 climbers are expected for this third edition that will celebrate sport climbing with a handful of true climbing legends: Patxi Arocena, Yuji Hirayama, Gerhard Hörhager, Ben Moon, Jean-Baptiste Tribout and Boone Speed.

The hustle and bustle down at the port at Pothia is continuous and frenetic. Boats filled to the brim with climbers and their enormous rucksacks continue to reach Kalymnos and they're immediately whisked away by the taxis. Away from the island's capital, up the hill, on down past those slippery hairpin bends, towards Massouri where they're greeted by their pristine studios apartments. By the ritual scooter hire, the first evening meal – grilled fish and a Greek salad – watching the sun set over the island of Telendos and, above all, by the event that most have travelled to Greece for: The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival 2014. The excitement is almost palpable for this third edition that promises to be a true climbing festival for everyone and by everyone. A celebration of this sport, one that glances back at its past to look towards its future. And to do so the 2014 editionhas introduced a series of novelties that join some of the events tried and tested in the previous editions.

Climbing Marathon
The Festival begins today with the start of the official registration: between 600 and 700 climbers are expected to register and receive a T-shirt and goody bag. To these one also needs to add "friends & family", all those who don't officially register but who nevertheless take part in the festivities, meaning that circa 2500 people are expeceted be involved in the meeting. The registered climbers will obviously be able to take part in one of prime events, the Climbing Marathon that takes place on Friday and Saturday at all the most important crags on the island. As usual there are two categories, Open and Big, and as usual the name of the game is climb as much as possible, register all the ascents on the comp sheet, and have fun with everyone else. Because, as always, in this "competition" everyone's a winner.

1 climber = 1 bolt
The name says it all: for every registered climber, The North Face will substitute one "old" bolt with a new one. In practice, this means that at least 600 new bolts will be purchased to substitute those on routes that require urgent maintenance, and also that this important (and difficult) job will be financed by The North Face and carried out by its athletes in the coming months, together with the recently founded Kalymnos Rescue Team. In short, TNF wants to invest in safety and wishes to give something back to the island and to the climbers who'll come here in the future. This also explains why this year's 5000 euro prize money will be donated to the Rescue Team and the Orthopaedic Ward of the Kalymnos hospital. In the almost paradoxical hope that this... is a bad investment ;-)

The Legends
To celebrate climbing in a fit manner, to understand how we have reached the current limit, that incredible 9b+ redpoint, 9a onsight, millions of sport climbs and climbers worldwide, this year the Festival has decided to concentrate on those who have played a leading role in the development of this sport. And this is why 6 true climbing legends from the '80's and '90's are on the island: Spain's Patxi Arocena, Japan's Yuji Hirayama, Austria's Gerhard Hörhager, Great Britain's Ben Moon, France's Jean-Baptiste Tribout and America's Boone Speed. On Friday evening, as the moon illuminates Grande Grotta above the Elena Village Base Camp at Masouri, these pioneers will share their stories, recount how their interpreted the battle against gravity (and at times against the way of thinking back in those days) to refine and redefine sport climbing as we know it.

But the meeting with the Legends doesn't end here: on Saturday morning, while many head to the crags for the second day of the Climbing Marathon, the Legends will hop on the ferry, reach the island of Telendos and climb together at a Princess Canyon, developed further by Jacopo Larcher, James Pearson and Caroline Ciavaldini with 15 new routes from 7a to 8c. This will be a great opportunity to watch all the Legends in action and, perhaps, for some this will even be the first time they tie in to the same rope. Fantastic. After which, the day ends in style with the Award's ceremony and the traditional Greek party. During the first edition the local dancers managed to get everyone to their feet, first and foremost Iker Pou and Yuji Hirayama...

Deep Water Solo
Another novelty for 2014: Deep Water Solo, alias DWS. Climbing above the sea is growing in popularity and seeing that this could obviously not be missing from the Kalymnos repertoire, on Sunday there's the chance to jump on a boat and climb above the mirror-like waters in the small Vathi inlet, on the island's east coast, together with Iker Pou and his brother Eneko. For safety reasons there are a limited number of spaces available, so if you're interested we recommend you book immediately.

Special guests
There is no such thing as special guests. Better still, apart from the Legends, everyone is a special guest, all those who've decided to take part in this great international meeting on their own accord. Climbers have come with family in tow, there are those who climb 6b, others who have only just begun, others redpointing 8c. Climbers of all ages, shapes and sizes, including Alexander Megos, the German hotshot who's got a bit of Greek blood running through his veins and who's decided to come to Kalymnos to enjoy the fesitval along with everyone else. On his first day here he repeated the hardest route on the island, Los Revolutionarios 9a, while two days ago at Arhi – the crag where the Kalymnos fairy tale began in 1997 thanks to Andrea Di Bari – he made the first ascent of an 8c and an 8c+. The question arises spontaneously: if he decides to take part in the Climbing Marathon, does it really count?


PROGRAM 2014
Wednesday, 8 October
11:00 – 22:00 – Official registration for the Climbing Marathon and Deep Water Solo
at the Festival Base Camp (Elena Village, Masouri)

Thursday, 9 October
11:00 – 22:00 - Official registration for the Climbing Marathon and Deep Water Solo
19: 30 – Official start to the The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival
at the Festival Base Camp (Elena Village, Masouri)

Friday, 10 October
8:00 – 13:00 - Official registration for the Climbing Marathon and Deep Water Solo
at the Festival Base Camp (Elena Village, Masouri)
9:00 – 18:00 – OPEN Marathon e BIG Marathon – day 1
21:30 – Legends Story Teller Night by the seashore. Stories of exploration and adventure
at the Festival Base Camp (Elena Village, Masouri)

Saturday, 11 October
9:00 – 17:00 - Legends Invitational Event
9:00 - 18:00 - OPEN Marathon and BIG Marathon – day 2
20:30 – 22:30 – Greek dinner
22:30 – Awards ceremony
at the Festival Base Camp (Elena Village, Masouri)
23:30 – Party by the beach with DJ set (Masouri Beach)

Sunday, 12 October
11:00 – 16-00 - Deep Water Solo Boat Trip with The North Face team athletes


THE NORTH FACE ATHLETES AT THE FESTIVAL

Hansjoerg Auer, Hervé Barmasse, Caroline Ciavaldini, Jacopo Larcher, Tamara Lunger, Simone Moro, James Pearson, Eneko Pou, Iker Pou, Matt Segal, Siebe Vanhee

For further information: kalymnos.thenorthfacejournal.com and via the social media using #Kalymnos and #KCF14

THE NORTH FACE KALYMNOS CLIMBING FESTIVAL

15/10/2013 - The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival 2013, everyone wins 
02/10/2012 - The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival 2012: a huge success

TOPO: Climbing at Kalymnos, Greece

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