Katsounaki Gorge, Xerokambos


DESCRIPTION

 

There are three sectors up to now, the north-west sector and two sectors on the south-west side of the valley. Thanks to this fact you can climb here all day. There is always some piece of rock in shade. Routes mostly lead in overhangs, this crag can be recommended to experts. Most of the routes are in seventh grade, climbing is very athletic. The yellow rock is something between limestone and sandstone, very pleasant for climbing, smooth, not sharp. There is still a few opened project on this crag and many others are waiting to be still bolted. However, you need to climb at least 7b to be able to open some new routes here.

Katsounaki 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 to help us with our effort.

 

HISTORY

Discovered by Petr Fiala and Karel Hronek in 2016.

 

GUIDEBOOK

I.NORTH-WEST FACE

Here you can climb from the early morning until 3-4 p.m., the crag is in the shade in this time.

 

1. Amadeus, 7a, 30m, Petr Fiala, 2016

Easy climbing in the first half of the pitch on leaning wall, then more difficult upper part after getting into small, to the right-leaning corner. Continuous on small holds until reaching the chain, endurance needed.

2. Open project, 7c, 30m, 

Grade only estimated. Climbing on small crimps and edges, the route is completely bolted. Shared start with "Amadeus".

3. Merry Christmas, 7b+, 21m, Petr Fiala, Karel Hronek, 2016

This pitch starts on a vertical pillar that ends in the ledge where you can take a rest. Then vertical wall with intense fingery sequences, continuous climbing until the end.

4. Whale from Moravian Karst, 7b+, 21m, Karel Hronek, Petr Fiala, 2016

Climbing on a pillar along the cave on the left. The crux is between 2. and 3. bolt, there is very far reach from big hold in overhang to the edge of the cave on the left side. Then an easier central part along the cave. The final section is continuous and strenuous on small edges, crimps and pockets.

5. Violet, 7a+, 18m, Karel Hronek, Petr Fiala, 2016

Beautifull pitch in slightly overhanging yellow limestone or sandstone, very intense, strenuous. Endurance needed. There is a continuation above the chain, not solved yet.

6. Ultraviolet, 7a, 17m, Petr Fiala, Karel Hronek, 2016

Nice climbing on big holds in an overhanging wall with crux along the final 3 meters below the chain.

7. Karfiol, open project, 7c, 22m

Grade estimated. Climbing through roofs and an overhanging wall on sometimes small pockets. The pitch is completely bolted, open.

8. Project Veritas, open project, 7b, 22m

Grade estimated, this project is opened to everybody. This project leads through the roof with tufa, then continues up to the small cave and above the roof to the chain. Very intense, continuous, requires endurance.

9. X large, open project, 7b, 22m

Grade estimated, the project is opened to everybody. This route leads through small roof and tufa and continues in an overhanging wall. Very intense climbing requiring stamina.

10. Second, 6c+, 16m, Petr Fiala, Petr Fiala Jun., 2019

Continuous climbing in an overhanging wall with crux in mid-section. Climbing mostly on good jugs and pockets, in central part holds become smaller. A delicate final part leading to the chain.

11. First, 6c, 19m, Petr Fiala Jun., Petr Fiala, 2019

This route starts with overhang from the cave to a small corner on good holds, then continues along the corner up to the chain. There is always some good hold.

 

II. SOUTH-WEST CAVES, LEFT SIDE

Variable climbing around four caves in a wall oriented to the south-west.  You will climb on jugs, edges, crimps, cracks, pockets. The rock is mostly smooth.    

 

1. Free the nipple, open project, 14m, Karel Hronek, 2016

Grade estimated. Very bouldery, continuous route on small crimpers and edges. Route opened to everybody.

2. Andromeda, 7a, 18m, Petr Fiala, Karel Hronek, 2016

Initial overhang on good holds, then climbing along the sharp, slightly crumbly edge. Intense until the chain, endurance needed.

3. Take it, 6c, 25m, Karel Hronek, Petr Fiala, 2016

Enjoyable climbing on slightly leaning wall, with harder upper part along the crack, continuous until the anchor.

 

 

 III. SOUTH-WEST FACE, RIGHT SIDE

The climbing is taking place around two caves, the rock is of good quality, smooth, not sharp. Routes there are mostly overhanging.  You will need a 50m rope. It is relatively difficult to get there as the slope under the caves is steep. However, you will get to a small plateau surrounding caves. 

 

 

4. Hovnodrom, 6c, 21m, Petr Fiala, 2016

Named after ubiquitous goat droppings. Nice climbing on good holds on vertical to a slightly overhanging wall.

5. Open space, project, 7b, 18m, Petr Fiala

Grade estimated. Open project. Initial overhang through the cave, then a bouldery central section with far reaches on smaller edges and pockets. Completely bolted.

6. Levá hrana, 7c+, 17m, Petr Fiala, 2016

Grade estimated in case that you will not use the cave on the left. Bouldery climbing on small crimpers along the pillar. The final chain has to be still installed.

7. Time to wake up, 7a, 13m, Petr Fiala, 2016

Short, but very intense route. 

 

 

ACCESS

There are three possibilities of how to get to the climbing sectors. The easiest however the longest way is going from Krinakia beach in the village of Xerokambos. You let the car at the parking plot close to the beach and then go 400-500 meters to the crag. This route is the most comfortable from all three. However, it was not always like this. In 2016 the path through the canyon was very difficult due to dense shrubs, so it depends on weather and flowing water during spring. The best route leads from side canyon, in this case, you park next to the asphalt road leading to Zakros. Follow the red dots that are sprayed along the dirt road leading to the canyon. Do not forget to close the small goat gate at the entrance to the canyon.

The third road leads from the road above the canyon. You park your car above the crag and descend a very steep slope and down the scree field. This path to the rocks is the shortest one and the most difficult one. Do not choose this access when going with kids or with people without climbing experience. You need here some climbing skills. Choose access No.1 when going with kids.

Map: The easiest access is from the beach ( green), the access recommended by us is the red one from a small side canyon. If you hurry up and do not care about climbing difficulties while descending this path, go from the top ( yellow line).

 

 

 

Picture: The longest, but easiest access is from the Krinakia beach, where you park your car. The distance to the car is about 500m.

 

Picture: Recommended route by us. This path to the canyon is also not quite easy, definitely not for small kids or disabled people. However, for climbers it is most comfortable.

 

 Picture: Access from the top, you park next to the road Xerokambos - Zakros, approximately 1 km behind Xerokambos on the highest point of the road.

 

 Picture: Access from the road above the north-west wall of Katsounaki.

 

 More photos: 

 

 

Left side of north-west face

 

 

 Picture: North face, right side

 

 Picture: Open project "Free the nipple"

 

Picture: Petr Fiala junior climbing "Second"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

terraminoika zeus appartman katerina appartman