This year didn’t go exactly as planned. When we started working on the Leonidio guidebook in 2019, we expected months of fieldwork and longer months at our computers, but we didn’t expect a global pandemic. Nevertheless, keeping ourselves and everybody else safe, we continued to work—even though insecurity about the future often got the best of us.
Leonidio and Kyparissi had both properly appeared in print for the first time in our 2014 “Greece Sport Climbing: The Best Of” guidebook. Since then, and even more so after we expanded the coverage of both in our 2017 edition of “Greece,” we were repeatedly asked by local authorities and business owners to collaborate on a guidebook exclusive to the Leonidio area. The climbing had gained a lot of traction and was clearly adding great value to the community. Kyparissi, too, was coming into its own as a very special, if smaller, destination, one whose development we were actively involved with since day one. For years we hesitated to start this book. But by 2019, the time finally felt right.
There were a couple of reasons for that. Climbing in the area had grown, and was now “mature” enough to warrant its own high-quality guidebook. Furthermore, our involvement with the Leonidio climbing development, maintenance, and community became more active starting in 2016. This led to the formation of a close-knit team of climbers (and now friends) working together. Our collaboration allowed the quality of our fieldwork and the depth of information we collected to meet, if not exceed, the high standards of our guidebooks. Some of these friends are locals; others live in Leonidio part-time, or have relocated there permanently. This collaboration gave us the confidence that we could create a guide to be proud of.
Most of you may associate us with Kalymnos. We would rather simply be associated with Greece, this glorious little country we are lucky enough to call home. Our mission is to help its small communities by doing what we know best: safe, sensible climbing development and effective communication. If our guides demystify Greek climbing and inspire you to book your airfare, then it is mission accomplished.
As for giving back to the community, the Leonidio municipality has committed to using most proceeds from the guidebook for further development and route maintenance. Importantly, this ensures the local authorities will have an ongoing stream of revenue to use for climbing—a low-impact form of tourism which has already added immense value to Leonidio. Soon you will be able to read more about how these proceeds are used on the official climbing site of Leonidio (climbinleonidio.com).
As we prepare this guidebook for production our country has gone back on lockdown. Nobody knows when life will return to normal. But it will. And when it does, the cliffs will be here waiting for you, and us, to meet again under the eternal Greek skies.
Stay safe, surround yourself with good people, and see you soon!
Aris Theodoropoulos and Katie Roussos