Kalymnosing is a form of climbing normally used in Paradise Island in Kalymnos. But not only there. Techniques you learn on Kalymnos can be used also in other places around the world in all kinds of rock types. The main ingredient of Kalymnosing climbing techniques are TUFAS. Those cool fragile and yet solid features at first look easy to climb on but once you start climbing usually they are not as good as they look. And yet, sometimes you can see some humans doing a NO hand rest where you were struggling to just stay on the wall. Why?
They are not normal holds (and footholds). Most of the time tufas are vertical slopers and it is very important what you do with your body in order to push in the right direction and maximize the grip so you can rest or continue with the next move. Sometimes it’s hard to find a “Perfect” hold on this big thing attached to the wall and we use a lot of time and precious energy searching for it. And when (IF) we finally find it we are too pumped and can’t do the move anymore.
Solution: Grab what you have and go for it as long as you still can. Instead of looking for a more comfortable hold put your body closer to the wall. Press with your feet in the opposite direction of the hold and get as much weight on the feet as possible (anyways hands are there just to keep you close to the wall, feet should push you up). In ON Sight attempts it will be much easier/faster to find good footholds and with a bit of practice, they will also tell you where the next hold might be ;). Try to play with the position of your body and pay attention how the pressure on your fingers will change every millimeter you move. Closing your eyes while searching for the optimum position might help you.
Kneebars. Your best friends in tufas. You can use them everywhere, not just in big holes where you can see obvious no hand rest. If you press your knee against some feature on the wall it might help you to push your body in the right direction or maybe just take a bit of weight of your hands to carry up. Remember, your legs are much stronger than hands and always you need to use them as much as possible. When was the last time you got pumped in your legs?
Heel hooks. Every good climber uses them and most of us could use them much more. When there are no handholds you can sometimes basically just sit on your heel and balance yourself over the crux. They can be used for resting, pulling, escaping from troubles and much more. But be careful. Sometimes using your heel can stop your progress since you cannot reach or jump from it as far as you could with using normal toe stepping technique. You need to learn when is the best time to switch heel to toe or another way around.
Toe hooks. Super fun, many times can be used similar than heel hooks to pull you to the side or up. You can hang from them and make a no hand rest to look cool but don't forget it will take a lot of energy to climb back up. Practice makes perfect here and to master this you need to practice a lot.
Different variations of the above mentioned: Use your imagination and look outside the box. Our world is in 3D so don't forget that in Tufaland perfect rest might be just behind your back, you just need to lean back and enjoy the view. My best rest so far I found was in Drašnice using Knee-heel-toe-ass bar rest. Check out Drašnice Moments to see how this works. A good combination is also toehook drop knee but this maybe already goes to advanced climbing techniques.
Using chalk might seem necessary and I heard many excuses why climber has to chalk up in the middle of the crux. The crux is normally the hardest part of the route so you shouldn't stop in the middle of it. Chalk up before and then go fast. Faster you go, less energy you will waste more chances you have to get over the crux. If you think your hands are also sweating too much, make an experiment of climbing without chalk for a week. You'll be surprised how you get used on it and after one weak you will not miss it so much anymore. I know a strong climber from Kalymnos who never uses it and he can still climb just everything. But he also climbs bare feet so...
Also, don't forget, if you use chalk always clean it after yourself. Let's try to keep nature as much as possible as we found it. Nobody likes big tipmarks in an onsight attempt. It's just not cool.
OK, so this is just a few tips and tricks on how to improve your Kalymnosing climbing technique and what to expect when you get lost in tufas. If you want more think about joining us on New Years Leonidio Tufa Party ;)
And don't forget, sometimes tufas are there just for a decoration and much better hold might be next to it. Also, most of the time they are very fragile so make sure you apply just as much force on them as necessary to progress and if they look they might break it is better to skip them than throwing them on your belayers head ;)
Enjoy climbing and climb safe!!!
What is your favorite climbing style?