EXPLORING THE CLIMBING AND MOUNTAINEERING SCENE IN CYPRUS
Founded in 2000, the Cyprus Mountaineering & Sport Climbing Federation (KOMOAA) has made big strides in its 17 years of existence. President Pavlos Georgiades was one of the pioneers in the creation of the club and explains how it came to life. “The history of climbing and mountaineering in Cyprus started in 1997 and at that time there was nothing available to help us. There was only one club, which was focused on hiking, and founded in 1995.” To rectify this situation, Georgiades and some associates made steps to founding a climbing and mountaineering federation. It had a clear vision. “Youth was one of the cornerstone’s in the federation’s creation,” explains Georgiades. “Everything started with the 400 youngsters who used to come to country’s first indoor climbing wall.”
Climbing walls provided the perfect opportunity for young people to enjoy an introduction to climbing and eventually mountaineering. Cyprus is also a fertile region in terms of outdoor opportunities. The climate is agreeable, among the best in Europe, providing the opportunity to climb all year round with the optimum times being the spring and the autumn. Furthermore, the federation works closely with the country’s tourist board to entice foreign climbers. “We have about 250 rock climbing routes many of them are single pitch with a range of difficulties, from 5 to 8b+,” continues Georgiades. In terms of traditional climbing, Troodos is the largest mountain range in Cyprus and provides some of the best opportunities. The country’s highest peak – Mount Olympus (1,952m) – hosts four ski slopes and across the range there are many resorts and interesting cultural sites from Byzantine monasteries and churches to scenic villages clinging on terraced slopes. It is in this region where the Forestry Department has created a number of trails which have proved extremely popular with hikers.
Georgiades introduces some of country’s more interesting routes. “Cavo Greco – located in the far south east corner of the island and consisting of outrageously featured soft limestone offering predominately traditional climbing; Dhiarizos – a hard limestone area located between Limassol and Pafos offering the best bolted routes on the island; and Droushia/Ineia (pictured), on sandstone rock, has a wealth of both sports and traditional with a healthy dose of bouldering thrown in.”
Along with youth participation, improving skills and safety are two of the federation’s pillars. With this in mind, they plan to certify the country’s climbing instructors to meet UIAA training standards and have applied to the government to introduce a law to regulate (sport/bolted) climbing routes to improve climber safety.
The KOMOAA has been a full member of the UIAA since 2007.