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Meteora - The ideal place for climbing enthusiasts

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Meteora - The ideal place for climbing enthusiasts

In the early period of the monasteries of Meteora, climbing was clearly a necessity, not a sport in the modern sense. There was no other way to reach the tops of the rocks. Just by the help of ropes, nets, bare hands or long, rickety ladders, the peaks could be climbed in those days.

Today the challenge of this divine of the very special rock pillar attracts climbers from around the world to Meteora. Enjoy the classic rock-climbing routes with great length and without excessive precautions. All routes are, in the traditional way, prepared from the bottom up. Some go straight up to a length of 500 m, where also overhangs must be mastered.

Climbing is too a mode of transport used by human beings since immemorial times. In this way they climbed rocks, either for cultural reasons (as here in the region due to religious places) or for practical reasons such as the lookout for animals to hunt or enemies to warn their friends or families. So potsherds were found on the Raven Rock in the Franconian Switzerland, demonstrating that these rocks were already mounted 800 - 400 BC. By ascent to always impossible to reach peaks from about the 18th century, climbing had become increasingly interesting and continued to mountaineering to overcome ridges and rock steps, but these activities mostly were working technically equipped.

Lead or better guided climbing is a term used in technical climbing and mountaineering, which designates pioneering a climbing route in using part of a climbing rope. The rope is used by the guiding climber as protection against falling. The rope can run from the stand both horizontally (at cross aisles) or vertically to ensure the person. In the rocks at Meteora there are a variety of prepared climbing routes that have different levels of difficulty.

Basically, guided climbing is climbing a route with safety rope from below. This is to the physically and mentally demanding backed commission of a climbing route, since the height of fall is greater than in all other assurance techniques and the effort by hooking of the rope in the belay is greater. In addition to his own body weight, the climber has to carry the weight of the protection materials used (for example the quickdraws) and the weight of the rope too. The partner at the ground (or stand) always has to watch the climbing partner constantly and have in mind, in case of a fall, to block the rope immediately.

At certain intervals, the climber is hanging the rope into backups. Between Backups either already existing (rings, hooks) or must be affixed points by the guiding climber himself (slips, Friends, knot loops) have to be used. In case of a fall, the guiding climber falls as deep below as the last intermediate safety point, until the rope is taut.

The most dangerous situation is thus in principle is given when no intermediate securing still is hooked. This can lead to falls with ground contact or in multi-pitch routes, the maximum fall factor two is if the guide climber passes the responsible security person at crashes. For the "correct" and safety falls, by exercise, conscious falls in safe terrain as best under professional guidance should be trained. The achieved body control reduces the risk of being injured during a fall considerably.

Most harmless are falls while leading at hinged intermediate fuse in overhanging terrain, since there the risk of being injured by contact with the wall is significantly reduced. But even here, the falls must be learned because the keystoning can be irritated by the seemingly low risk of injury, often characterized in not concentrated climbs / falls.

In a fall, a very high energy that is dissipated from the cable break in the rope and the belayer can reach the climber. Therefore, according to the German Alpine Association (DAV), the climber should have a maximum of 1.3 times body weight of the belayer, otherwise the locking undergoes an excessive acceleration in a fall of the climber and may lose control of the rope. The acceleration is caused by the pulling force of the rope. It can lead to soil fall of the climber. Is the weighting factor (weight difference of climbing partners) is larger, additional measures should be taken to minimize the risk of injury.

Of greatest importance is to have an experienced climber, if possible with knowledge of the selected respective routes,  or to "organize" a local climber from Meteora. We needed to learn that an even experienced climbers due to a lack of route knowledge (without local guide), which then led to an emergency descent during our tour, can always happen. Despite adequate equipment, but leaving a costly carbine.

Please read as well:

Meteora - climbing in unusual rock geology

Kastraki / Kalambaka - old city core at Meteora

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