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Summary

The Gorge of the Dead is the most famous canyon in east Crete with the remnants of ancient Minoan culture.

Description

The canyon starts 1,6 km south from the Zakros village. It is four kilometers long and ends at the beach of Kato Zakros. Climbing takes place in the upper part of the canyon, not far away from the side entrance to the gorge. The Big Wall of Dead´s Gorge is grandiose. It must catch the attention of every climber passing by. We were no exception many years ago, but it took us until 2019 to open first routes there. The wall is about 80 meters high, but only the first pitches are done. Routes in the left and center part of the wall are accessible from big shelf 2-3 meters wide. The access to the shelf is protected with bolts and there are bolts on the shelf for the belayer. The routes are very well protected with bolts, rappel stations at the end of every route are made of two anchors connected with chain and with steel biner. Limestone in this part of canyon is of good quality, however, you can see on the material that it is influenced by a combination of salty air, windy and rainy conditions in the winter period and very hot weather in summer. Limestone is mostly smoothe, not sharp. Your fingers will be happy with this material. Exposition: The wall is situated to the east, so after 13.30 it is in shade. During summer 2019 it was possible to climb to 9.30 a.m., then take a rest a swim in small lakes lying at the bottom of the canyon and then go again to climb in the afternoon. There is one big stone next to the lakes, we created there a few short routes just for fun while resting.

Approach

Park your car at the parking place which is in the middle distance between Zakros village and Kato Zakros, close to the path to the Gorge of Dead that is going there from the side. Go by walk to the bottom of the canyon and then turn left ( direction to the Zakros village). After 200-250 meters turn again to the left, cross the creek and follow small red marks. You climb the slope until you reach the crag named Big Wall.

History

History timeline chart

Climbing in Dead´s Gorge has its history we are not the first climbers that work there. There are some climbing routes at the entrance of the canyon in the village of Kato Zakros. We do not know exactly when these routes were created, we can only estimate that they are at least 15-20 years old. There are about ten routes on both sides of the canyon, bolts look rusty. Good, safe anchors at the end of the routes are sometimes nonexistent. We started to make our routes in the summer of 2019, we have worked in this big wall which is not far away from the side entrance to the canyon, we named this crag "Big wall".

Areas

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Name
Style
Routes
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Height
Grades
Big Wall sector
14
24
16m
3

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