Climbing in Meteora – Pillar of Rain – Doupiani Rock

In the past couple of days we have climbed twi different routes in Doupiani and we thought it would be great to climb a third one. Our first experience with Doupiani was really positive, and due to the fact the second route was rather demanding, we decided to go for an easier third route, the Pillar of Rain.

Doupiani Rock is for sure one of the most attended rock climbing destination of the Meteora (Μετέωρα) area, whose meaning is literally hanging in the air“, a charming and suggestive climbing site located in the Thessaly region 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.

Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_091700_006
Pillar of Rain V+ Starting point

 

Approach

Meteora is situated in the Thessaly region of Greece, Northern half of Greece, approximately 25 km NNW from Trikala, and immediately North of Kalambaka and Kastraki, the two main towns in the area, both located very close to the rocks. The closest main town is Larissa. The distance to Kalambaka is about 360 km from Athens and 237 km. from Thessaloníki.

The approach to Doupiani Rock is brief and easy. Getting to the Doupiani Rock from the square of Kastraki village is a 10 minutes walk. Actually Doupiani Rock is on the limits of Kastraki village. Also you can drive with your car to the base of the tower. There is a parking place near Doupiani House guesthouse.


see other climbing activities in Meterora


Pillar of Rain 140 m. V+

Pillar of Rain is one of the easiest multi pitch routes in Doupiani Rock. The total length is approximately 140 meters and the grade is V+.

First ascent: This route was first ascent by U and H Daigger in 1979.

Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_Route_c
Pillar of Rain V+ 140 m.
Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_092254_704
Pillar of Rain V+ 140 m. as seen from the south

Route report

Hike for about 3 minutes from the parking lot till the base of the south-west ridge.. On the base of the pillar, there is easy ground to belay.

Pitch 1 ( 35 m. V+ UIAA, 5 bolts):

The Pillar of Rain start with the most demanding pitch at about V+ UIAA. Although there are 5 bolts on this pitch, the run-out is felt by the lead climber. The crux has tiny and not very firm pebbles and this makes the moves a bit harder.

With a bit of confidence and delicate moves, the lead climber will reach R1 which is just bellow a tree.

Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_091827_036
Pillar of Rain V+ Starting point
Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_091854_468
Pillar of Rain V+ Pitch 1
Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_091914_632
Pillar of Rain V+ at the crux
Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_091934_407
A little friend at the base of the pillar

Pitch 2 ( 55 m. III+ UIAA, 2 bolts):

The second pitch, although a lot easier compared with the first pitch, is rather unprotected because in the entire 55 meters of length, there are only 2 bolts.

At the beginning the second pitch is passing from the right side of a tree and there are a couple of 4b moves. Then, the pitch is quite easy, III UIAA but due to the fact is not protected, a fall is not an option. The R2 is right after some big blocks of stones. It is a very comfortable belay.

Pitch 3 ( 30 m. V+ UIAA, 5 bolts):

Pitch 3 starts off the comfortable R2 and goes towards the west (left side as we look the rock). This is also a V+ UIAA and is about 30 meters long. There is not a single crux but the whole pitch has equal difficulty. Pay attention to the loosen pebbles you might hold and/or step.

The R3 is again a comfortable belay, just before the last pitch.

Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_092002_981
R3 Belay
Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_092029_534
Rope management R3

Pitch 4 ( 20 m. IV UIAA, 3 bolts):

The last pitch is easier than the third pitch. It starts with a small crux but after that is getting easier and easier till the R4, which is the end of the route.

Pitch 4 is rated at IV UIAA and is about 20 meters long. Is not well protected, but the 3 bolts are placed in the right positions.

As soon you reach R4, the views are stunning towards the other rocks and Kastraki village.

Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_092056_397
R4 of Pillar of Rain
Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_092118_376
View from the top
Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_092149_684
Almost at the end
Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_092224_024
Getting closer

Return and Abseiling

Abseil the Sout side. This is the classic descent of Doupiani. Find the ring on the top of the ‘canyon’ to the S. One 40m abseil, then walk (for 70m) the wide ridge on the left (as you see down), to a dead end, find a ring, another abseil (10m), then walk to the ground.
In both cases it’s better to carry your shoes on the harness, or you have to walk 5-10 minutes on your climbing shoes…back to the base of the route.

Something very important for abseiling in Meteora is the way of putting the knot through the ‘horizontal‘ rings. You have to put the rope with the knot (the rope for the pull) on the downside of the ring (between the ring and the rock). Otherwise maybe there is a problem, because the pulling rope is blocking the other rope, pressing it with the ring to the rock.

Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_092513_182
Walk after the first rappel
Climbing_Meteora_Doupiani_Rock_092420_277
Second rappel

When to Climb

Spring and Autumn are the best seasons for Meteora. Avoid Summer, especially really hot days. Pantocrator’s ridge (Ostkante/East Ridge) is a good choice for Winter mornings. The route has sun until noon (more or less, depending on the season). It’s also a good choice after a rainy period because is ridge, sunny and east facing, this means that gets dry faster than most routes.


see other climbing activities in Meterora

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s