In the past couple of days we have climbed twi different routes in Doupiani and we thought it would be great to climb a third one. Our first experience with Doupiani was really positive, and due to the fact the second route was rather demanding, we decided to go for an easier third route, the Pillar of Rain.
Doupiani Rock is for sure one of the most attended rock climbing destination of the Meteora (Μετέωρα) area, whose meaning is literally “hanging in the air“, a charming and suggestive climbing site located in the Thessaly region of Greece.
Meteora includes about 170 conglomerate summits of various shapes and types, as massive mountains, rocky pinnacles, minor peaks and spires, some of which are truly amazing and bizarre. The range overlooks the village of Kastràki and the town of Kalabàka and features about 850 multi-pitch and single pitch routes. Due to their singularity and a bit of mistery surrounding the place, in addition to the presence of various monasteries, the towers of Meteora are quite famous all over the world.
Meteora is situated in the Thessaly region of Greece, Northern half of Greece, approximately 25 km NNW from Trikala, and immediately North of Kalambaka and Kastraki, the two main towns in the area, both located very close to the rocks. The closest main town is Larissa. The distance to Kalambaka is about 360 km from Athens and 237 km. from Thessaloníki.
The approach to Doupiani Rock is brief and easy. Getting to the Doupiani Rock from the square of Kastraki village is a 10 minutes walk. Actually Doupiani Rock is on the limits of Kastraki village. Also you can drive with your car to the base of the tower. There is a parking place near Doupiani House guesthouse.
see other climbing activities in Meterora
- Climbing in Meteora – Sudostwand Doupiani – Southeast Wall – Plaka
- Climbing in Meteora – Pantocrator’s Ridge – East Ridge
Pillar of Rain 140 m. V+
Pillar of Rain is one of the easiest multi pitch routes in Doupiani Rock. The total length is approximately 140 meters and the grade is V+.
First ascent: This route was first ascent by U and H Daigger in 1979.
Hike for about 3 minutes from the parking lot till the base of the south-west ridge.. On the base of the pillar, there is easy ground to belay.
Pitch 1 ( 35 m. V+ UIAA, 5 bolts):
The Pillar of Rain start with the most demanding pitch at about V+ UIAA. Although there are 5 bolts on this pitch, the run-out is felt by the lead climber. The crux has tiny and not very firm pebbles and this makes the moves a bit harder.
With a bit of confidence and delicate moves, the lead climber will reach R1 which is just bellow a tree.
Pitch 2 ( 55 m. III+ UIAA, 2 bolts):
The second pitch, although a lot easier compared with the first pitch, is rather unprotected because in the entire 55 meters of length, there are only 2 bolts.
At the beginning the second pitch is passing from the right side of a tree and there are a couple of 4b moves. Then, the pitch is quite easy, III UIAA but due to the fact is not protected, a fall is not an option. The R2 is right after some big blocks of stones. It is a very comfortable belay.
Pitch 3 ( 30 m. V+ UIAA, 5 bolts):
Pitch 3 starts off the comfortable R2 and goes towards the west (left side as we look the rock). This is also a V+ UIAA and is about 30 meters long. There is not a single crux but the whole pitch has equal difficulty. Pay attention to the loosen pebbles you might hold and/or step.
The R3 is again a comfortable belay, just before the last pitch.
Pitch 4 ( 20 m. IV UIAA, 3 bolts):
The last pitch is easier than the third pitch. It starts with a small crux but after that is getting easier and easier till the R4, which is the end of the route.
Pitch 4 is rated at IV UIAA and is about 20 meters long. Is not well protected, but the 3 bolts are placed in the right positions.
As soon you reach R4, the views are stunning towards the other rocks and Kastraki village.
Return and Abseiling
Abseil the Sout side. This is the classic descent of Doupiani. Find the ring on the top of the ‘canyon’ to the S. One 40m abseil, then walk (for 70m) the wide ridge on the left (as you see down), to a dead end, find a ring, another abseil (10m), then walk to the ground.
In both cases it’s better to carry your shoes on the harness, or you have to walk 5-10 minutes on your climbing shoes…back to the base of the route.
Something very important for abseiling in Meteora is the way of putting the knot through the ‘horizontal‘ rings. You have to put the rope with the knot (the rope for the pull) on the downside of the ring (between the ring and the rock). Otherwise maybe there is a problem, because the pulling rope is blocking the other rope, pressing it with the ring to the rock.
When to Climb
Spring and Autumn are the best seasons for Meteora. Avoid Summer, especially really hot days. Pantocrator’s ridge (Ostkante/East Ridge) is a good choice for Winter mornings. The route has sun until noon (more or less, depending on the season). It’s also a good choice after a rainy period because is ridge, sunny and east facing, this means that gets dry faster than most routes.
see other climbing activities in Meterora