Climbing in Tourkovounia (Anchesmos) – Athens city centre

Athens is the historical capital of Europe, with a long history, dating from the first settlement in the Neolithic age. In the 5th Century BC (the “Golden Age of Pericles”) – the culmination of Athens’ long, fascinating history – the city’s values and civilization acquired a universal significance. Over the years, a multitude of conquerors occupied Athens, and erected unique, splendid monuments – a rare historical palimpsest. In 1834, it became the capital of the modern Greek state and in two centuries since it has become an attractive modern metropolis with unrivalled charm.

A large part of the town’s historic centre has been converted into a 3 km pedestrian zone (the largest in Europe), leading to the major archaeological sites (“archaeological park”), reconstructing – to a large degree – the ancient landscape.

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Tourkovounia crag – Red sector

Although Athens is rich in historical and cultural sites, Athens area offers more than 2000 single pitch bolted lines in more than 40 crags and new routes are constantly popping up. In addition there are 4 multi pitch walls with trad lines, plenty of bouldering and a lot of potential for deep water solo.

In the past, we have visited some other crags which are located near Athens, such as Etos SpataPano AlogopetraEpos Fylis, Korakofolia, Acharneis  and Sibligades.

This time though, we have visited another great climbing area, right in Athens city centre, the Tourkovounia crag (red sector).


About Tourkovounia hills (Anchesmos hills)

The Tourkovounia translates as the Turkish Mountains, it is the highest range of hills in the Attic Basin. Since it is by far the highest hill actually located within the city, it offers sweeping views of the modern city of Athens.

Like many of the other landmark hills of the city, its name has changed with the time. The first mention of the hills in ancient times calls it by the name Anchesmos [Αγχεσμός]. It was said there was a statue of Zeus, the god of weather and the sky, where he would ‘throw’ lightning from above on the mountain. Between the 3rd and 5th Centuries AD it became referred to as Lykovounia [Λυκοβούνια] or Wolf Mountain after the wolves that lived on its slopes.

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View from Tourkovounia crag – Red Sector
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View from Tourkovounia crag – Red Sector

Access

Although Tourkovonia hills are located in the city centre of Athens, there is no easy access by metro and/or generally by public transport. Therefore, it is advisable to either get a taxi or go by car.

Tourkovounia Red Sector crag coordinations: 38.00477, 23.75382

As soon you reach the coordinations (provided above), on the pedestrian road, you will see a sign with red sprayed word “ΠΕΔΙΟ” (see photo bellow). Follow the red arrows and you will reach the crag with only 3 minutes of hike.

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Red Sector Entry
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3 minutes hike to the crag
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Tourkovounia Red Sector Crag
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The rock

About Tourkovounia Crag

Tourkovounia crag is and old crag in the city centre of Athens. In Athens city centre there are more climbing crags such as Filopappou though this crag is divided in three sectors. The Blue, the Green and the Red sector. We have visited the latest sector (Red) and in total there are 51 routes that go from 4c up to 7c.

This crag was mainly established by local climbers during and after WWII, but most of the routes were established on a later stage. In fact, the routes were firstly climbed and bolted by greek and not only legendary climbers such as D. Titopoulos, K. Tsoukleidis, D. Sotirakis, P. Bailey, G. Voutyropoulos, B. Mitsiou, A. Asiminos, V. Vroutsis, C. Kouniakis, P. Smolik and many others.

Renewal of the crag

For unknown reasons, this crag was left on it own and was not visited often by climbers and therefore it lost its allure until the moment, a young and promising mountaineer (F. Theocharis) took the initiative to clean up from garbage the crag, renew the bolts and establish few more new routes.

In fact, F. Theocharis, together with some of his fellow climbers try to revive this crag and in my opinion they did a great job so far and it is very important for other climbers to visit again the Tourkovounia crag.

In addition, F. Theocharis, among others, bolted 2 new routes 33A and 34 that can be used as Dry Tooling too. This is a great opportunity for mountaineers like me to have one more crag that can practice Dry Tooling techniques before going to the mountains.

The only negative aspect of this crag is that despite all the efforts of the local climbing community, there is still high amount of accumulated garbage that has been dropped there by “unknowns”. Hopefully, the local authorities will take the initiative to keep the area clean from garbage.

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Tourkovounia crag – Red Sector rock quality
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Tourkovounia crag – Red Sector rock quality
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Tourkovounia crag – Red Sector rock quality
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Tourkovounia crag – Red Sector rock quality  DT routes

Useful Information

Best Period: Autumn and Spring have ideal conditions. The Crag faces to the west and is in the shade from early in the morning. Even in the summer a light breeze and shade make us forget the heat.

Bolts: Not all routes are secured with stainless steel bolts. Route 1-4 are trad and not bolted.

Necessary gear: Rope of 60 meters and minimum 12 quickdraws.


Red Sector Routes

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Climbing route 26
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Climbing route 26
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Climbing route 26
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Climbing route 26
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Climbing route 26
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Climbing route 26
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Climbing route 26
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Climbing route 26
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Climbing route 26
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Climbing route 26

Name

Grade

1

V

2

VII

3

VI-

4

VI+

5

VI+

6

6b

7

6a

8

6a

9

5c+

10

5a

Lykaki

4c

11

6b

12

4b

13

5b+

14

6a

15

6c

16

6c+

17

5c

18

5a+

19

5c+

20

5c

21

6b

22

6b++

23

6a+

24

6a

24A

VI+

25

VIII

25A

VII

18

5a+

Agchesmos direct

6a

Agchesmos right

5b+

26

5b

27

5a

27A

5b

27D

6a

27E

6c

27B

6b

27C

7c

28

6a

28A

6b+

29

6a+

29A

6c

30

6b

31

5c

31A

5c+

32

6a

32A

6b+

32B

6c

33

6a

33A

4b

34

4a

35

6b

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We check out the Dry Tooling route but as normal rock climbing
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We check out the Dry Tooling route but as normal rock climbing
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We check out the Dry Tooling route but as normal rock climbing
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View from the crag
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View from the crag

If you liked this post, see more rock climb activities in and around Athens:


Guidebook

There is an available guidebook by D. Titopoulos, “Climbing in Athens“. This is a climbing guide for the small cliffs of Athens and the outlying areas.

3 thoughts on “Climbing in Tourkovounia (Anchesmos) – Athens city centre

  1. Oh Wow! The views of the city are amazing! I don’t think I could climb like you do, my son has though and loves doing it but I don’t quite have the nerve for it!! Great photos!

    Like

    1. Indeed, from that location you can see pretty much all the city.

      About the climbing part, it’s all about practice and I certainly think that with the right guiding anyone can climb up to a certain level.

      Thanks for taking the time to read through the blog.

      Liked by 1 person

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