Lizard V UIAA 90 m. | Climbing on top of Thermisia Lagoon

Due to the fact in Greece there is a national lockdown (covid-19), the opportunities to visit high mountains are very limited and therefore the past 6 months we did not have the chance to go for any winter mountaineering activity. Though, our passion and pleasure for outdoor activities, lead us to explore previous unexplored areas, and this is what we have done this time.

In the Argolis region, there is a magnificent Biotope with the name Thermisia Lagoon. Thermisia lagoon is an important habitat of rare migratory birds. It is a serene and unique lagoon surrounded by a breathtaking landscape.

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Thermisia Lagoon and Gulf of Hydra

Located near the village of Thermisia, to the east of Ermioni, the lagoon took its name from some hot springs that existed in the area. The Greek traveler Pausanias mentions a temple dedicated to Demeter Thermasia. This magnificent lagoon was used as a salt lake during the Venetian occupation and in modern times it hosted fish hatcheries. Today, it is of one of the most significant habitats in the region and it has been integrated in national and international protection networks; namely the European network CORINE BIOTOPS. The rare species that seek refuge in the site are protected under the European directive 79/409 and the Bern Convention.

Thousands of rare migratory birds visit the lagoon every year; herons, Gull-billed Terns (Gelochelidon nilotica), starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), the great egret (Egretta alba) and numerous other species.


First Ascent

In mountaineering, a first ascent (abbreviated to FA in guidebooks) is the first successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain or the first to follow a particular climbing route. First mountain ascents are notable because they entail genuine exploration, with greater risks, challenges and recognition than climbing a route pioneered by others. The person who performs the first ascent is called the first ascensionist.


Lizard V UIAA 90 m. – Climbing on top of Thermisia Lagoon

Lizard” (V, 90 m.) first ascent was made on 21/03/2021 by Olympus Mountaineering, C. Toutoutzis and D. Nakos.

The route follows the rock formation which is located on the south banks of Thermisia lagoon. 

The route can be described as an “introduction” to traditional multi-pitch climbing with variety in the climbing style, mainly slab climbing and some scrambling too.

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Sketch of the rock and the route

Download for free the complete route description and Topo map

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Lizard V UIAA 90 m. | Topographic Map

If you are going to climb alpine rock faces, you will need the most detailed information possible about the rock and the route. All this can be found on a topographic map: This is a graphic representation of a climbing route and can usually be found in a guidebook or on certain websites. The lead climber should always have the topographic map at hand when on the rock face.

Like any map, a topographic map uses symbols to represent information about the rock. Climbers can orient themselves on the basis of these standardised Symbols. Illustrations indicate the climbing direction, the length of each pitch and the number and type of belay points. Further indicators that can help with orientation include a logical route, the rock quality as well notable features on the rock.

Bellow a topo of the route Lizard V 90 m.

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Lizard V UIAA – Topo Map

General route information

Lizard” (V, 90 m.) first ascent was made on 21/03/2021 by Olympus Mountaineering, C. Toutoutzis and D. Nakos.

The route follows the rock formation which is located on the south banks of Thermisia lagoon.

The route can be described as an “introduction” to traditional multipitch climbing with variety in the climbing style, mainly slab climbing and some scrambling too.


Approach

Only a 2 hour drive (173 km) from Athens to Ermioni from the national road Athens-Corinth and just 7 km from Ermioni until you reach Thermisia lagoon. 

As soon you reach the beginning of the lagoon (37.405818, 23.300304), you turn right and you follow the dirt road till the dead end. From the parking spot, and right from the goat shed, you start a 10-15 minutes hike following the goat trails until you will reach the beginning of the route on this point: 37.401609, 23.301918

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Parking Spot and goat shed
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Goat shed (goat trail to the right)
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The trail
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Hiking trail to the beginning of the route
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Hiking trail – Almost at the beginning of the route
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View towards the Lizard Rock (Castle Thermisia)
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The rock

Route description

R0 – R1 | V UIAA – 40 m.

The route starts with the first pitch (40 m.) right from the base of the north side of the rock (37.401609, 23.301918).

The first part of this pitch is a nice slab and actually is also the crux of the route with about 8 m. of vertical climb and UIAA V.

Pay attention to a loose rock while you climb this part. The crux, a small overhang, can be well protected with gear. Then, the route continues through a UIAA IV degree passage and we climb up up to a small ledge where we can place good protection. From that point we follow the ridge UIAA IV until we pass (to our right side) a tree where we can add another solid protection (sling).

Having passed the small tree, we climb up another slab of maximum UIAA IV and we move again on the ridge till we find a ledge with a tree on our right side.  

Make a belay with a large sling or kevlar cordelette on an obvious pointy stone. The belay position is very good and comfortable.

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Lizard Route – Beginning of Pitch 1
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Crux of Pitch 1
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After the Crux of Pitch 1
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Belaying
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Taking a photo from a ledge while climbing
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Nut and Camp Mach Express quickdraw
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Belay
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Second climber on the crux
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Balancing
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Almost on R1
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Getting closer to R1
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Third climber almost on R1

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R1 – R2 | IV UIAA – 30 m.

The second pitch (30 m.), starts with an easy slab of UIAA IV and we place the first good protection (sling) on a small tree (on our left side). As soon we reach the top of the slab, we come on the ridge and we have to come across a 2 meters  (lenth) exposed passage. We continue to follow the ridge maximum UIAA IV- up to an obvious slab of UIAA IV. As soon we climb up the slab (not well protected), we reach a large tree (pine) where we can belay.

We can belay with a large sling or kevlar cordelette on this large tree. The belay position is good, very comfortable and with a unique view towards the Thermisia lagoon bellow and the Lizard Rock.

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Starting Pitch 2
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Adding protection
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Almost on the ridge

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Belay on a tree
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Belaying and enjoying the view
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Second climber almost on R2

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R2 – R3 | V- UIAA – 20 m

For the the third and final pitch (20 m.) we have to move about 8 m. right (west) from the tree where we belayed. On that point, we will be able to clearly see a cave and just above and on the left a smaller cave too. 

We start to climb on a slab of maximum UIAA V- and our goal is to get again on top of the ridge. As we approach the end of the route, the degree of difficulty decreases UIAA III to a scramble.

We can belay on a large tree by using a double size sling or kevlar cordelette. 

At this point the view to the lagoon, Castle Thermisia (Lizard Rock) and the island of Hydra and Dokos becomes unique.

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Cave
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Starting Pitch 3
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Placing gear
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Climbing to the top of the ridge
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On the ridge again
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Belay of the final pitch
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Stunning view towards Lizard Rock from R3
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Belaying and waiting for the other 2 climbers

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Almost on R3
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Last part is scrambling

View from the Top

Once we have reached the top of the rock, we came across the stunning view towards the lagoon, the Lizard Rock and the overall region of Ermionida. From the top, we could clearly see Mount Didimo, Pillars of the Wind and as described before the island of Hydra and Dokos.

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Thermisia Lagoon and Gulf of Hydra
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Beautiful View

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Return

Our return route starts from the top of the route. We initially go south and on point 37.400900, 23.302000 we change direction towards the west. The descent is through bushes and trees and there is not any obvious path.

The descent takes about 35-40 minutes.

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Descending towards the parking spot
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Descending though trees and bushes
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almost at the end of the descent

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3D view


Recommended Gear

For this multi-pitch climb, I used the following gear:


Details of the Climb

  • Location: Thermisia Lagoon
  • Starting Point: Thermisia Lagoon
  • Ending Point: Thermisia Lagoon
  • Trail Signs: No
  • Minimum Elevation: 10 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 100 m.
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • When to Climb: Late Autumn, Winter, Early Spring
  • Water Features: None

Download for free the complete route description and Topo map

Climbing_Thermisia_Lagoon_Lizard_Route_NoLogo


Below: This map marks all the mountaineering adventures that have been featured on Olympus Mountaineering so far, including several Sport climbing crags – Select full screen to expand, zoom in for more detail, or click on a marker for a link to the post.

12 thoughts on “Lizard V UIAA 90 m. | Climbing on top of Thermisia Lagoon

    1. Thank you for reading and glad to know you like the views of the lagoon. In a clear blue sky, the reflections of the lagoon are much nicer, but the overcast weather we had while climbing was actually perfect for such activity.

      Again, thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Well done on your First Ascent! Very impressive! I imagine you have a few of those in Greece? I love how you are finding new routes, AND then making a kick-ass guide book out of it. So impressive! I think I might actually like to do this route. We do a lot of scrambling but it’s all limestone. I’m liking the solidity of your rock.

    Like

    1. Thank you Alisen.

      Greece offers plenty of opportunities for rock climbing and mostly is in limestone indeed. This means, that for such Trad climbing routes, the main concern is always the quality of the rock and how to avoid any loose rocks while climbing.

      On this specific route, Lizard V UIAA, the overall quality was good.

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Limestone? Wow. It looks a whole lot more secure than the Rockies. Yes, I understand about rocks coming loose. Makes a climb that much more technical. Stay safe and enjoy.

        Like

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