Meteora: new route on Kapelo Peak dedicated to Dietrich Hasse

Vangelis Galanis has made a rope solo first ascent of a new multipitch rock climb on Kapelo Peak in Meteora, Greece. The route is dedicated to Dietrich Hasse, the German climber who pioneered rock climbing in the conglomerate area in the late 1970's. Galanis reports.
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Vangelis Galanis making the rope solo first ascent of 'Dietrich Hasse' on Kapelo Peak at Meteora in Greece, June 2024
Vangelis Batsios

In spring and at the start of summer 1995 I spent lots of time with German climber Dietrich Hasse. All our hours together revolved around climbing, because usually we climbed during the day and later, when we came back home, we'd end up talking about climbing. At the time we both craved rock climbing and nothing could satiate our hunger. During those days almost 30 years ago we repeated some existing routes and we opened two new climbs, the second being The grey cat. While looking at the Meteora towers and the walls to spot a potential route, both of us were very impressed with the huge west buttress located right of Kalambaka's Tower. The big and steep pinnacle was unclimbed and we didn't know if it had a name. I don't remember why, but Dietrich wasn’t interested in climbing it and so we went on to establish The grey cat on Nun's Wall.

In the autumn of 2022 I visited Meteora after years of absence and I was overwhelmed by an ocean of memories. Remembering my old art, I rope soloed a new route. I was alone, but in my mind I was always with my old friend Dietrich. He had passed away some months before and I had the feeling that I was talking with him through my solitary climb. I named the route The old soldier because I believe that people like my friend and me are like soldiers, dedicated to their obligation and risking their lives for this duty.

Once again I was impressed by the unnamed, for me, west buttress that was still unclimbed. and so I decided to open two small routes starting from the path that leads close to the top, and to install a metal canister for the summit book. The book includes the name of the peak, and after a long conversation with the local climbers and looking at old books I found out that the tower is called Kapelo, the Greek word for the hat. Indeed, the top of the peak looks like a hat.

I returned to Greece two years later, this April, with the thought of establishing another route rope solo. Although I had some ideas, I was not precisely sure where. I had considered adding a third route to Kapelo Peak, but initially I wanted to do this with a partner.

When I finally stood in front of the buttress, looking for a logical line between cracks and slabs, the truth was revealed to me. This, I realised, was my route and I had to try it alone. It was a personal project and if I'd succeed I'd name if after my friend.

I was not sure if I was strong enough to finish it alone. I am 60 years old and undeniably a shadow of the climber that I used to be, but nevertheless the next day I started climbing. After some days and a night on the wall I finished the route and I named it "Dietrich Hasse".

I feel that one more time, just like an old soldier, I paid my duty to my friend, to the climbing community and to myself. Climbing is my way of renewing my self-respect that I myself bring into question. I am my strict judge, almost my own worst enemy, and climbing is my salvation. Solitary climbing on a long and hard route exceeds the given limits of climbing and it is nothing more than an extreme way of communicating with the deeper self, a long dive into the personal abyss.

The route is now waiting for a second ascent. Except the first part of the sixth pitch, an overhang and absolutely blank wall, the rest of the route can be climbed free. The topo includes all the necessary information for a second ascent.

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