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The new climbing area Leonidio in Greece
Photo by Claude Remy
Yves Remy climbing Draculine, 6b+, Hot Rock, Leonidio, Greece
Photo by Claude Remy
Argyro Papathanasiou climbing at Leonidio in Greece
Photo by Aris Theodoropoulos
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Leonidio and the crag Hot Rock in Greece

Located in the Peloponnese, just 3.5 hours south of Athens, Leonidio is Greece's newest trendy area, with more than 20 crags and 300 routes; single and multi-pitch climbing up to 250m high, from 5a to 9a. Aris Theodoropoulos introduces one of the best crags in Europe for winter climbing.

A town with approximately 6000 residents, Leonidio is built in a valley at the foot of Mount Parnon, on the east coast of Peloponnese. Towering above the homes like a giant fiery waterfall is a jaw-dropping, 250-meter, red limestone cliff. The entire area around Leonidio is well on its way to becoming an enormous climbing park. At the time of writing there are about 300 routes and counting. The vast potential is obvious: Leonidio has morphed into a climbing ‘worksite’, with new crags and routes going up feverishly.

Climbing in Leonidio started in 1987 with the opening of the legendary multi-pitch ‘Pillar of Fire’. A few more trad lines followed, but then for several years climbing went into hibernation. However, the opening of a new crag called Elona in 2008 reawakened climbers’ interest in the area. By this time, the success story of Kalymnos had also spread far and wide, so a regional development office was able to obtain EU funding for the equipping of 100 new sport routes in collaboration with AOS (an Athenian Mountaineering Club). The municipality of Leonidio went on to finance additional new routing by experienced equippers such as the Remy Brothers.

Most crags are not situated directly above the town but are on the surrounding hillsides. The rock is highly-featured limestone, and climbing is enjoyable and varied: endless tufa columns, smooth crimpy walls, caves with stalactites, gray balancy walls. The concave red cliff face above Leonidio is the town’s natural shield against bad weather. Accordingly, Leonidio is possibly one of the best European destinations for winter climbing: the climate is very mild, rainfall is usually brief, and the valley basks in extended sunshine.


TOPO: Hot Rock, Leonidio

Greece Sport Climbing: The Best Of
by Aris Theodoropoulos
Includes the following area:
Thessaly: Meteora; Pyli Little Gorge; Mouzaki; Almyros
Athens area (Central Greece): Mavrosouvala; Hasia Cave; Acharneis; Mikri Varasova/Epos Filis; Sesi; Vrachokipos; Lelaki; Chaos
Patras area (Western Greece): Alepochori; Chatzouri; Kleisoura; Varasova
Peloponnese ( Southern Greece): Nafplio; Leonidio; Kyparissi; Zobolo; Lagada; Nedousa
Aegean islands: Symi; Anafi; Crete (the crags: Voulismeno Aloni, Plakias and Tersanas Cave)

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