Training rescuers on Kalymnos

What climber has not heard of Kalymnos? The Greek island located in the southeastern Aegean Sea is world-renowned for its many cliffs. More than 2,000 climbing routes for all levels have been opened there. In 2013, local residents set up a rescue service for climbers, with the full support of their local authorities.


Kalymnos, Greece © Stéphane Lozac'hmeur

Having seen the need for this type of service, the island's business owners (hotels, restaurants, sporting goods stores, etc.) joined forces to put together a cliff rescue team, especially for climbers.

Tourists and climbers can join this non-profit association. Their membership fees help to cover costs and also serve to maintain existing routes and develop new climbing areas. Volunteers from Kalymnos regularly participate in rescues.

However, cliffside rescues require specific skills and techniques, when setting up a system to evacuate the injured from the cliff or transporting the injured to the closest road. The Petzl Foundation contribution finances the rope rescue training of the Kalymnos rescue team, which is already made up of six committed volunteers. Petzl also provides all the equipment they need at a reduced rate.

Greece - practical session © Stéphane Lozac'hmeur
A practical session, which resulted in a successful rescue solution for accidents in the Sikati cave.

The trainers from Lyon Equipment, Petzl's distributor in Great Britain and specialists in technical training, provided each team member with a rope rescue certificate validating their skills.

"These volunteers showed real enthusiasm and are clearly committed to developing a rescue team for the island", explained trainers Bill Batson and Marc Davies, both very satisfied with the result.
"During the training sessions, their skills always proved to be at a very high level. After successfully passing the technical evaluation, we were proud to announce that all of the clinic participants had the right knowledge and skills to competently and efficiently handle a rope rescue in Kalymnos. We are pleased to have contributed to training and certifying the rescue team in Kalymnos."

The Kalymnos rescue team is now fully operational.

© Stéphane Lozac'hmeur © Stéphane Lozac'hmeur
Installation of permanent anchors for rope rescue, next to the famous Sikati cave.

Claude Idoux, French rescue volunteer, living on the island for seven years, says:

Claude Idoux © Stéphane Lozac'hmeur
"I'm really glad to see that the people in Kalymnos finally have a rescue team!
I have already taken part in 17 rescues, including a few in very challenging conditions. For certain rescues, we did not even have a rescue stretcher at our disposal. Thanks to funds gathered by the owners of Glaros Bar, located in the village of Massouri, we have been able to purchase one.
Today, with a solid commitment from Petzl and the Petzl Foundation, we have the right equipment and a team who know how to conduct rope rescues!"

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Updated in september 2014



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