Ostkante is one of the most popular routes in Meteora. It's located on the Doupiani Rock, which is for sure the most popular rock in Meteora. Although it's a relative "easy" route, it needs a serious approach, because of the kind of the climbing: slabby and runout. A fall is not an option for the leader in the first 3 pitches.
It was first climbed by D.Hasse and H.L.Stutte in 17.8.1976. Hasse together with other German climbers are responsible for the development of Meteora. That's why in all the classic routes the ethics are so strict: poor protection on easy face climbing, minimal or no bolt protection on cracks and chimneys, always ground up first acsents etc.
Dietrich Hasse is a famous German climber with a lot of first ascents worldwide. The most well-known is Hasse-Brandler
in Cima Grande di Lavaredo
For getting to Meteora, check the Meteora page
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 route. There is a parking place 30m away from the start of the route.
Panoramic view of Meteora.
Ostkante is the left ridge of this photo
Scrable unroped (I) about 12-15m, from the right side (easier) of the ridge, to the start of the route. There is a ring for belaying.
The 4 pitches of the route are:
Easy slab (max III) for 40m. There are 3 bolts. Belay on this ring
Continue on the ridge on the same difficulty (III) for 25m - 2 bolts to the next belay ring.
There are 2 options: Go left (III) for some meters and then up (V+) to the groove that leads left of the rock gendarm or go diagonally left (V) to the groove (variant). Both options has 2 bolts (the second bolt is the same). This pitch is 25m long. Belay on the ring on the big ledge with tree.
Climb the face to the top. The face is almost vertical with small stones for holds. This pitch was first climbed on boots and aid (A1), but later was free at VI (Hasse-Stutte guidebook). Nowadays is a little harder (VI+, maybe VII-), because some crusial stones left from the face. It can be climbed on aid as well. The pitch is getting easier as you go higher. It's 35m, with 5 bolts. Belay on the ring, near the top.
From the top (there is a summit book) you walk the obvious trail going W, downclimb an easy step(I), to the saddle, see this photo again.
There are 2 options:
--Abseil the N-NW face of Doupiani. A small (8-10m) abseil to various rings and then one 60m
to the bottom or 2x30m
abseils. You can approach the rings from the right (a little exposed!). Don't
abseil all the way down from the highest ring, a lot of friction on rope pulling because of low angle terrain. This side of Doupiani can be extremely crowded, so take care with loose rocks, ropes, etc.
--Abseil the S 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.
for the whole route with descent is about 1:30 to 3:00
for the most parties. The rock quality in Doupiani is the best in Meteora and Ostkante has hundreds (maybe thousands) of repeats, so has practically no loose rock. Even though, pay a little more attention after rain, when the rock gets softer.
For this route you need: 2x50m half/twin ropes, helmet, personal gear (harness, lockers, belay/rappel device, climbing shoes), slings and 5-6 quickdraws.
There is no opportunity for other protection, except the fixed bolts, so don't carry nuts/friends.
Season-When to climb
Spring and Autumn are the best seasons for Meteora. Avoid Summer, especially really hot days. Ostkante 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.