Wings for Life

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.00508°N / 26.90877°E
Additional Information Route Type: Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: F 6a max
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 11
Sign the Climber's Log



The best wish: to climb on Wings for Life!

The small Telendos is just a paradise, a friendly island emerging majestically from the Aegean Sea in front of the very best known Kalymnos. The South coast of the island is dominated by a wall 300 meters high plunging into the sea, crossed by a few tremendous caves showing ceilings of stalactites. 


Mount Rachi, isle of Telendos
Mount Rachi, isle of Telendos


South Telendos main sectors
South Telendos main sectors

Wings for Life is an excellent multi-pitch climb up the lip of the pillar running on the right of the finest one of these caves, a gigantic cave called “Crescendo”. It's a logic and aesthetic route, established by the Swiss climbers Urs Odermatt and Peter Keller in spring 2008, the first one climbed on this wall. Although it involves some extremely exposed climbing in the upper section, it surprisingly never exceeds the grade 6a of the French scale. 



Telendos at sundown seen from Kalymnos
Telendos at sundown seen from Kalymnos
Telendos seen from  Kalymnos
Telendos seen from Kalymnos




The route is well equipped with bolts; climbing way is on a sloping slab in the first pitch, becoming steeper and exposed in the upper section of the route. A truly wonderful outing!

Getting There

Telendos is easily approached from the near isle of Kalymnos, from which it’s separated by a short stretch of sea.  Can be reached from the port of Myrties in just under 20 minutes through daily trips made by traditional local fishing boats.

Climbers landing on Telendos at dawn
Climbers landing on Telendos at dawn

Getting to Kalymnos

It can be relatively hard to get to Kalymnos, anyhow a direct flight to the neighbouring island of Kos is the quickest solution. In summer and mid seasons there are different charter flights connecting Kos and the main European airports, including low coast airlines as Ryan Air or Easyjet, while from November to April, which is also an ideal time to climb, the island of Kos is only reached by daily flights departing from Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport. In the year 2006 it was built a small airport also on Kalymnos, but the flight is expensive and sometimes may be cancelled when the weather is bad, so the approach by sea from Kos remains the favourable solution.In fact the Kalymnos harbour of Pothia is reached quickly from the nearby and larger island of Kos via ferry or hydrofoil starting from Mastichari harbour. The crossing Kos - Kalymnos is active throughout the year, because many people of Kalymnos take the ferry every day to go to work in Kos.

Approaching Telendos on the fishermen boat
Approaching Telendos on the fishermen boat
Telendos harbour
Telendos harbour

Route Description

Wings for Life

Summit altitude: 595 m
Difficulty: D, max 6a
Equipment: fix
Climbing length: 250 m
Exposure: South
First ascent: Urs Odermatt and Peter Keller 2008, april 10th

A huge and satisfactory climb on excellent rock and full of handholds. A truly wonderful outing!

Approach - From Myrties harbour on Kalymnos reach Telendos harbour through one of the daily trips done by the local fishing boats. Take the path towards Crystal Cave. The starting point is below a spur on the right of Wild Country. (1 and a half hour by walking from Telendos harbour, 30 minutes approaching directly by boat).

L1 - Climb a spur and belay below a little wall - 5a, 20 m.
L2 - Up the wall to a good stance - 5b, 30 m.
L3 - A short pitch; directly above the stance, then head to left - 5b 10 m.
L4 - Up an easier crest to the right- 4b, 30 m.

Wings for Life beta
Beta of "Wings for Life"

L5 - Climb a carved wall getting to a stance below a yellow dihedral - 5b, 40 m.
L6 - Heaven's Key, the crux pitch - Reach the smooth and steep dihedral, climb it and belay above - a technical 6a, 30 m.
L7 - Up a detached flake to reach a steep wall full of drops. Climb it slanting left - 5b, 20 m.
L8 - Slanting left climb another steep wall, then traverse left getting to an exposed little stance - 5c, 20 m.

The best wish: climbing on the Wings for Life
The best wish: climbing on the Wings for Life
Wings for Life - The traverse
Wings for Life - The traverse
Wings for life, an incredible carved rock!
Wings for life, an incredible carved rock!











L9 - Another wonderful steep wall, showing rocky drops and mushrooms - 5b, 20 m.
L10 - Strightly again to a little terrace, then climb a steep wall exiting the wall - 5a, 30 m.

Descent - The descent is done reaching the summit of Telendos, then walking down along the North side: a long but wonderful trip giving breathtaking views over the surrounding islands and the Aegean Sea.

Summit view over Kalymnos
Telendos summit view towards Kalymnos
Isle of Kalymnos seen from Aghios Konstantinos little chapel
Kalymnos seen from Aghios Konstantinos little chapel



From the exit of the route follow an uncertain track rising to the summit of the island, then descend along the opposite side (North) on a well worn path (cairns). After the descent the path head to right, traversing in the direction of Aghios Konstantinos little chapel. Reach the chapel and from here descend easily towards the coast, then turn to right and follow the path skirting the sea and getting to Telendos village.

Climbing Scale

The French grading system is used in Telendos and Kalymnos.

Climbing Grades:

Rock Climbing Rating Systems
1 5.2 I 6b 5.10c VII- 7c+ 5.12d IX
2 5.3 II 6b+ 5.10d VII 8a 5.13a/5.13b IX+/X-
3 5.4 III 6c 5.11a VII+ 8a+ 5.13c X-
4 5.5 IV 6c+ 5.11b VII+/VIII- 8b 5.13d X
5a 5.6 V- 7a 5.11c VIII- 8b+ 5.14a X+
5b 5.7 V/V+ 7a+ 5.11d VIII 8c 5.14b X+/XI-
5c 5.8 VI- 7b 5.12a VIII+ 8c+ 5.14c XI-
6a 5.9 VI/VI+ 7b+ 5.12b VIII+/IX- 9a 5.14d XI
6a+ 5.10a/5.10b VI+/VII- 7c 5.12c IX- 9a+ 5.15a XI+


Red Tape

There are not particular restrictions in hiking and climbing

Essential Gear

Rope 2x50, helmet, 15 quickdraws, slings

When to climb

All year round. Anyhow the best periods are Spring and Fall.

Fall sunset over Telendos South headland
Fall sunset over Telendos South headland

Where to stay

Arrival in Telendos harbour after the climb
Arrival in Telendos harbour after the climb

If you want to stay on the tiny and quiet Telendos, remember that it has a few possibilities for accommodation. On the other side Kalymnos is more lively and offers a considerable number of rental studios and hotels, especially in the villages of Masouri, Myrties and Armeos, located along the western coast of the island, which offers a breathtaking view over Telendos. The approach to the jetty of Myrties is short from these locations, so it is not necessary to rent a scooter, the typical transport of the climbers to move on the island.

Guidebooks and maps


Kalymnos Guidebook

"Kalymnos" - Rock climbing guidebook by Aris Theodoropoulos, Terrain Ed.2010


Kalymnos and Telendos map



Meteo Kalymnos

External Links

Climb Kalymnos
Kalymnos Climbing Guide



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