The Big Wall of Dead´s Gorge is grandiose. It must catch the attention of every climber passing by. We were no exception many years ago, but it took us until 2019 to open first routes there. The wall is about 80 meters high, but only the first pitches are done. Routes in the left and center part of the wall are accessible from big shelf 2-3 meters wide. The access to the shelf is protected with bolts and there are bolts on the shelf for the belayer. The routes are very well protected with bolts, rappel stations at the end of every route are made of two anchors connected with chain and with steel biner.
Limestone in this part of canyon is of good quality, however, you can see on the material that it is influenced by a combination of salty air, windy and rainy conditions in the winter period and very hot weather in summer. Limestone is mostly smoothe, not sharp. Your fingers will be happy with this material.
Exposition: The wall is situated to the east, so after 13.30 it is in shade. During summer 2019 it was possible to climb to 9.30 a.m., then take a rest a swim in small lakes lying at the bottom of the canyon and then go again to climb in the afternoon. There is one big stone next to the lakes, we created there a few short routes just for fun while resting.
Gorge of the Dead belongs to a local group of crags surrounding the villages of Xerokambos and Zakros. There are at least ten canyons, that are close to each other and where climbing can be developed. Xerokambos has six of them, Zakros has three. Currently climbing is at the beginning here, only a tiny part of all possibilities is exploited.
This local cluster of crags has the potential to become one of the best climbing areas in Greece and this potential is still waiting to be discovered. Our Zakros team is working here hard, however, we are only a small group of climbers. We will be very happy to invite every climber to our team.
Climbing in Dead´s Gorge has its history we are not the first climbers that work there. There are some climbing routes at the entrance of the canyon in the village of Kato Zakros. We do not know exactly when these routes were created, we can only estimate that they are at least 15-20 years old. There are about ten routes on both sides of the canyon, bolts look rusty. Good, safe anchors at the end of the routes are sometimes nonexistent.
We started to make our routes in the summer of 2019, we have worked in this big wall which is not far away from the side entrance to the canyon, we named this crag "Big wall". Our second crag which is not far away from these first routes made in Dead´s Gorge is also in Kato Zakros village, close to these beautiful beaches of Kato Zakros, we named this crag "Kato Zakros Cave".
1. My way, 6c, 30m, Petr Fiala, 2019
The enjoyable and easier lower part to the first anchor that is in about 18 meters high, grade 6a. Then the line continues another 12 meters in large overhang with big holds, the crux is in the final part of the route leading to the second anchor. Very nice, airy climbing. You need at least 14 quickdraws and 70 m rope.
2. Vaia, 6a+, 18m, Petr Fiala, 2019
Nice route in almost vertical terrain with small holds and pockets that goes to the same first anchor like "My way" and you can also continue up to the second anchor as "My way" goes.
3. Enigma, 7a, 20m, Petr Fiala, Petr Fiala Jun., 2019
Vertical climbing in the lower part of the line, slightly overhanging in the upper part. Some difficult moves in the final part of the route to the chain.
4. Not so scary, 7b, 19m, Petr Fiala, Petr Fiala Jun., 2019
Difficult fingery start in a vertical wall, then easy climbing in the middle section on big holes and pockets. The higher you are, the harder this route is. Last four meters are the most difficult with some long moves on good pockets.
5. X, 7c, 18m, Petr Fiala, 2019
This is an open project, climbing on tufas in overhanging face. The route is completely prepared for climbing.
6. To bude bordel v lanech, 6c, 17m, Petr Fiala, Petr Fiala Jun., 2019
Climbing on tufas and on vertical wall, continuous on small holds and pockets.
7. Quak Quak, 6c+, 17m, Petr Fiala, Petr Fiala Jun., 2019
Continuous on good holds, the crux is in the lower part with the short fingery section.
8. What´s up?, 6c+, 17m, Petr Fiala, Petr Fiala Jun., 2019
Bouldery start of the route on small crimps with one long reach. Then very nice technical climbing on good holds and pockets.
This area offers plenty of opportunities for those climbers that want to make some new climbing routes there. You can even prolong the existing pitches, however, the upper parts of the crag are more difficult than the lower sections.
CLIMBING AT THE CREEK
There is a small creek flowing at the bottom of the valley. The creek dries out in some years during summer, but in 2019 it was there until mid of August due to heavy rains in spring. In such periods it is very pleasing to combine climbing with bathing. We discovered one big boulder close to this creek and established some short pitches there. They are about 8-10 meters long, however it is enough to enjoy some fun while resting there. The routes are easy, about 5c-6a. Good also for kids and beginners. Here are some photos:
ACCESS, HOW TO GET THERE
Park your car at the parking place which is in the middle distance between Zakros village and Kato Zakros, close to the path to the Gorge of Dead that is going there from the side. Go by walk to the bottom of the canyon and then turn left ( direction to the Zakros village). After 200-250 meters turn again to the left, cross the creek and follow small red marks. You climb the slope until you reach the crag named Big Wall.
Picture: How to get there: