Climbing in Meteora – Vlemma Tou Gerakiou V+ UIAA 120 m. – Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos

It has been quite some time since my last visit in the area of Meteora, and due to the fact the Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering & Climbing was organising the annual meet up of the climbing community of Greece, I did not loose the chance to join the festivities and be part in of the most spectacular areas 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.

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While driving towards Meteora we had in mind to climb a couple of routes, we were not sure yet which one we would like to try. The morning of the actual climb, one of my climbing partners met accidentally Tolis (a climbing instructor) and he asked him if he would have any suggestion. We got a tip of a new and relatively unknown route which is located on the North-East ridge of Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos. We did not have any info of the route, besides where we could find the route (4-5 meters left from Schmale Wand) and an estimation of the grade (V/V+ UIAA).

Upon my return from the trip, I got in touch with one of the most known climbers of the Meteora region, Vangelis Batsios and I have kindly asked him if he could provide me some info on the route I have climbed. Vangelis, kindly provided me all the necessary info, such as name, grade, length and of course with the names of the route setters.

Should you want to have more info about all sport climbing possibilities around Meteora, check out the new guidebook by Vangelis Batsios: Meteora Sport Climbing Guide


Vlemma Tou Gerakiou V+ 120 m. | Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos

Vlemma Tou Gerakiou (in greek “Βλέμμα του γερακιού” and meaning “Hawk’s Gaze”) V+ UIAA, 120 m. Was spotted, bolted and claimed its first ascent in 2020 by V. Adamos and G. Vaiou.

The route is located in Meteora (Kalabaka) and specifically on the rock formation known as Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos. This is one of the newest Multi-Pitch routes of the region and is bolted in modern style, which means there are more bolts per pitch compared to the old routes of Meteora.

Vlemma Tou Gerakiou can be described as a “sport multi-pitch route” and is a great introduction to the Meteora style of climbing. Vlemma Tou Gerakiou starts 4-5 meters left from Schmale Wand (a well established route) and is not difficult. In addition, compared to other routes in the region of Meteora, is considered to be well protected with about 6 bolts per pitch in average. The rock is mixture of sandstone and conglomerate.

Notice: According to the info I have received by Vangelis Batsios , this route was rated by the route setters at VI- UIAA, though, personally me and my climbing buddies, we thought the difficulty of this route would be around V maximum V+ UIAA. Nevertheless, should you think I should correct something in this guide, feel free to get in touch via the contact form.

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Vlemma tou Gerakiou V+ UIAA 120 m. | Topo
Vlemma_Tou_Gerakiou_Route
The Route

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Approach

For the access to Vlemma Tou Gerakiou route you need about 20 minutes from the main camping of Kastraki. First you need to reach by car the parking spot (39.722766, 21.625173) and from there a short hike towards the North-East ridge of Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos rock. 

The trail is straight forward and you have to hike up to the beginning of the route which is located here: 39.720427, 21.626424

  • Parking spot: 39.722766, 21.625173 
  • Beginning of the route: 39.720427, 21.626424

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Approach hike
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Approach Hike
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First view of Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos
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Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos

Route description

R0 – R1 | V UIAA, 35 m. | 5 Bolts

The route starts with the first pitch of 35 m. about 4-5 meters left from Schmale Wand. It starts straight up where we see the first (new) bolt at about 3-4 meters from the ground. The difficulty at this first part is about IV UIAA, but one should keep in mind that climbing in conglomerate, is quite different compared to the typical limestone climb. After the first bolt the terrain starts to become a bit steeper and almost until we reach the first two anchors, the difficulty is about V UIAA.

We belay with a single size sling (60 cm) and the location for belay is not very comfortable.

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First view of the route from R0
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Start of the climb
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Climbing up
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Climbing up

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Climbing towards R1
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Anchors at R1
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View from R1 towards R0 (the bottom)

R2 – R3 | V UIAA, 40 m. | 6 Bolts

The second pitch of 40 m. which is the most exciting pitch, starts right above the anchor points and traverses a bit to the left till we reach the R2. During the entire 40 meters of climb, we can find 6 bolts, but be aware that some pebbles might be loose. The difficulty of this pitch is maximum V UIAA.

We belay with a single size sling (60 cm) and the location for belay is of medium comfort.

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View from R1 towards R2
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Looking down towards the climbing partners
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Climbing up from R1 to R2
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View from R2
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Almost at R2
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Fellow climber belaying another route (Schmale Wand) next to us
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Fellow climbers – Stunning views from R2

R2 – R3 | V+ UIAA, 45 m. | 6 Bolts

The third pitch starts directly straight up from R2 and there is a bolt about 1,5 meters above the belay location. From R2, we can spot easily the third bolt which is located at the crux of the pitch (and of the entire route), but just before the crux, we will find one more bolt (the 2nd) that is not visible from the belay. The crux of the route is a maximum V+ UIAA, and although might look a bit intimidating, there are big enough pebbles to hold and to step on and to climb over without problems. 

As soon we climb over the crux, the terrain becomes again positive and easy of a maximum difficulty of IV UIAA. Just before we end up at the ledge where we will belay, the terrain becomes even easier of a maximum difficulty of III UIAA.

We belay on the obvious tree on the ledge with 2 single size slings (60 cm) and the location for belay is very comfortable.

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at R3 (use the tree as an anchor point)
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Climbing up
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Almost at R3

Walking to the top of Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos Rock

As soon all climbers reach the ledge where we used as R3, we can move towards the highest point of Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos with a short hike of about 30 meters.

The view from the top is simply stunning and we can see various other rock formations of Meteora, such as Doupiani, but also some of the famous monasteries.

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Short hike towards the top of the rock
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At the top, there is a booklet where you can write your name and the date.
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At the top

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View from the top
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Beautiful rock formation and stunning monasteries at the top
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Stunning view from the top of Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos

Return

From the top of the rock, have to do 2 abseils towards the base. 

The abseils are located at the exit of the route Schwarze Magie (Μαύρη Μαγεία). In order to reach the anchors for the abseil, we need to follow the small path towards the west. At the beginning we have to do a short down climb until we spot a big ring. At that point we do the first abseil of about 6-7 meters, till we reach the anchors for the 2nd abseil.

The second abseil is about 50 meters and will lead you to the base of the route.

Notice: You need to have 2 half ropes of at least 60 meters each in order to abseil the entire rock.

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This is the pass that leads to the first abseil
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Short downclimb towards the first abseil
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Preparing the first abseil
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Abseiling
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First abseil from one ring for about 6-7 meters.
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View from the first abseil
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Abseiling to the bottom
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View of Schwarze Magie (Μαύρη Μαγεία) route – Our abseil
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Abseiling from the route Schwarze Magie (Μαύρη Μαγεία)

Recommended Gear

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Trad climbing gear

For this trad climb, I used the following gear:


Details of the Climb

  • Location: Meteora – Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos
  • Difficulty: V+ UIAA
  • Length: 120 meters
  • Pitches: 3
  • When to Climb: Autumn – Spring
  • Water Features: None

Download for free the complete route description and Topo map

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see other climbing activities in Meterora


Before you leave this blog check out the following map

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.

2 thoughts on “Climbing in Meteora – Vlemma Tou Gerakiou V+ UIAA 120 m. – Fylakas Agiou Pnevmatos

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