Climbing in Leonidio

Leonidio (Greek: Λεωνίδιο) is a town and a former municipality in Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality South Kynouria, of which it is a municipal unit. The town of Leonidio, with a population of 3.826, emerges from a spectacular landscape, bound by two abrupt mountainsides enclosing the town from the north and south.

The River Dafnon passes through the town, and its banks are linked with three bridges. The town is capital of the Tsakonia region, notable for its cultural and linguistic particularities, and the settlement itself offers striking and picturesque architecture; now a protected architectural site, there are very strict regulations for building within the town’s limits.

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Plaka beach – Leonidio

Leonidio is built in a valley at the foot of Mount Parnon, on the east coast of Peloponnese. Towering above the homes like a giant fiery waterfall is a jaw-dropping, 250-meter, red limestone cliff. The entire area around Leonidio is dotted with climbing crags, mostly for sport climbing. There is vast potential for much further climbing development in Leonidio.

Most climbing in Leonidio happens at crags on the surrounding hillsides, not directly above town. The cliffs of Leonidio are highly-featured limestone, and climbing is enjoyable and varied: tufa columns, smooth crimpy walls, caves with stalactites, grey balancy walls.

Climbing conditions in Leonidio are ideal for winter climbing, as the concave red cliff above the town acts as a natural shield against bad weather. The best period for climbing in Leonidio is November to April, though some crags higher up in the hills are good for climbing even on hot spring, fall or summer days.

The vast majority of climbing routes in Leonidio are relatively new. Many still require thorough cleaning of loose rock and traffic to improve. Pieces still break off, so helmets are strongly recommended.

 


Sector Sabaton

SABATON is the type of crag that was, until recently, in short supply in Leonidio: a sector with very short approach, in the shade almost all day, located in a serene spot near old olive trees and the sea, and with good pocketed limestone and pleasant mid-grade routes. In short, it’s the type of crag most climbers will be very pleased to visit.

Climbing: On short (15-25m) limestone with steep grey walls and slabs, but portions of good steep red rock (mainly vertical and overhanging) too. Some new routes need traffic to improve. At the time of writing, there are nearly 60 very well-bolted routes from 5b–7c, the majority being in the 6a–7b range. Equipped by Claude Remy (who named the crag after a heavy metal band from Sweden) and Boris Grobéty in 2016/17, with the help of Giannis and Iakovos Metaxotos.

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Sector Sabaton sign
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short hike
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almost at the Lower part

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Fuck the System 7a
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Climbing with a great view
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Juliett 4a

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Gabriel 5b
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Ilektra 5b
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Beautiful view

LOWER

Exposure: North-East
Best period: Good for warm days of spring, autumn and summer.
Sun: Till 10:00
Approach: From Leonidio, drive in the direction of Athens. After the first big turn above the sea, continue for about 800m more, to the first parking are on your right (37.170323, 22.898060). From there, walk up to the long cliff. You will come to the first routes in 2 minutes and the crag extends upwards from there.
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ILEKTRA

Exposure: North-East
Best period: Good for warm days of spring, autumn and summer.
Sun: Till 10:00
Approach: From Leonidio, drive in the direction of Athens. After the first big turn above the sea, continue for about 800m more, to the first parking are on your right (37.170323, 22.898060). From there, walk up to the long cliff. You will come to the first routes in 2 minutes and the crag extends upwards from there.
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OLIVE GROVE

Exposure: North-East
Best period: Good for warm days of spring, autumn and summer.
Sun: Till 10:00
Approach: From Leonidio, drive in the direction of Athens. After the first big turn above the sea, continue for about 800m more, to the first parking are on your right (37.170323, 22.898060). From there, walk up to the long cliff. You will come to the first routes in 2 minutes and the crag extends upwards from there.
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UPPER

Exposure: North-East
Best period: Good for warm days of spring, autumn and summer.
Sun: Till 10:00
Approach: From Leonidio, drive in the direction of Athens. After the first big turn above the sea, continue for about 800m more, to the first parking are on your right (37.170323, 22.898060). From there, walk up to the long cliff. You will come to the first routes in 2 minutes and the crag extends upwards from there.
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Sector Dornröschen

Sunny, vertical to less-than-vertical compact gray rock routes with a great view of the town of Leonidio. There are ~20 routes here heavy in the 6s (5.10 to 5.11-) range that are technical, slabby routes.

Rain: Not a good sector for rainy days. All routes get wet.
Shade: Sun most all day. A bit of shade early in the morning.

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Sector King of Thrones

The King of Thrones is fun, small area in a bowl up above the town of Leonidio. The area is north-facing so it stays shady all day. A rare treat in the Leonidio area. The routes vary from steep, tufas/features climbing on the left side to steep, gray, sharper rock on the right side. The area is heavy in routes in the 6s. (5.10 to 5.11+) but there a few harder 7s (5.12a to 5.12d). The view of town from the crag is quite nice.

Rain: Not good in rain. All the routes will get wet.
Shade: Shady all day

Getting there: From the public parking lot in Leonidio center, head west on the highway in the directions of Leonidio. Just before the sign indicating you’re leaving Leonidio (a rectangular sign with an angled red slash mark across it), turn left onto a dirt road. Drive this road a short distance and make a hard right turn up another road. At the next left turn switchback, park on the side of the road/switchback. From the car, hike uphill up the road for a short bit to well-cairned singletrack trail on the right. Hike this singletrack trail has it ascends steeply past the base of the gray slab routes of Dornröschen. Continue past Dornröschen on the trail as it ascends even steeper trail up into the bowl that is King of Thrones. The routes will be on your right on the shady wall.
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Kokkinovrachos
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Leonidio

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Beautiful routes
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View of Leonidio while climbing

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Rain is approaching

Leonidio besides rock climbing

  • Go mountain biking. Want to test your endurance? Bring your mountain bike in the cooler season and challenge yourself to a ride on the curvy and steep mountain road to Kosmas village. Stop there for a great view, and if you get hungry, don’t miss the traditional goat soup.
  • Visit historic monasteries, traditional mansions and world-class archaeological sites. The famous monastery of Elona is hidden in the cliffs just a stone’s throw away. The traditional mansions of Leonidio, such as the Tsikaliotis House, showcase local architecture at its best. And numerous world-renowned archaeological sites, such as the Unesco World Heritage sites of Mycenae and Tiryns, are just over an hour away.
  • Dive into the blue. The magical underwater world of the Myrtoan Sea awaits, and if it’s your lucky day you may even get to hang out with dolphins. If all you want is a day at the beach, no problem! We promise you can find your own perfect spot at one of many beaches around Leonidio.
  • Experience local festivities and tradition. Easter celebrations at Leonidio, during which softly lit hot air balloons are released above the water at dusk, are not to miss. Famous also are the regional festivals (called panigíri) throughout summer, at the height of which Leonidio also celebrates one of its most acclaimed products, the Tsakonian eggplant (melitzána), with Melitzazz, an annual multi-day festival bringing together food and jazz music!
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For more info about Rock climbing in Leonidio, feel free to visit the following websites:

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