Stavraetos Canyoning - Tzoumerka, Epirus, Greece (2017)
Video edit from my experience canyoning in Stavraetos gorge.
Apart of a short canyoning introduction in New Zealand by some friends, this was my real first proper canyoning experience. It was in Epirus (Ήπειρος), north of Greece, south Pindus range, the area is called Tzoumerka (Τζουμέρκα) and our base was the traditional stone village Syrrako (Συρράκο). The event was organized by Hellas Canyon (https://hellascanyon.com/en/). It is one of the leading canyoning organizers in Greece. Our team leader (and head of Hellas Canyon) Giorgos Andreou is one of the top experienced canyoning instructors available, a real professional who has explored most of the canyons all around Greece and is one of the first people who brought canyoning to the public in Greece.
The night before the activity we all met at a nice traditional little bar, had a few drinks and got to know each other. Early morning the next day we went on foot to the meeting place.
Walking down Syrrako village, going to the meeting point. Stavraetos (Σταυραετός) gorge has access through a path from the village.
Meeting point was early at 09.00am and we were distributed the gear. For those like us who didn't have our own canyoning gear, we are provided with a full 5mm neoprene wetsuit (to withstand the cold water and protect you from scratches), a helmet, a safety belt, a backpack and a dry box (to store a few stuff like snacks or money).
There was a short training course for the first timers, explaining the basics, about safety and getting a feel of the position you will be rappeling down. The term "rappel" means the act or method of moving down a steep incline or past an overhang by means of a double rope secured above and placed around your body.
After the short training session our first rappel lead us down to the canyon.
We then went down through rocks and small pools of water.
Further on we started going down small waterfalls, it was a very dry period and probably there must be more water under normal conditions. There was always somebody with experience near you making sure everything was alright.
A few more rappels before we got to our first challenging spot - for us newbies.
A short rappel down there and then we had to go down almost 50m. of height!
Down after the 50m. rappel there was a beautiful open space with another waterfall on the right, you went down from the area on the top left.
Various photos while rappeling down the big one.
A person below is your ultimate safety measure. In case you loose it while rappeling down, he will pull the rope tight from below and lock you on your position, in order to prevent you from falling all the way. This measure is called holding "kazanaki" (kazanaki means the toilet flush in Greek).
When everybody was down we were ready to proceed to the second leg of the canyon.
The canyoning ropes we use are very long and heavy, especially when they are wet. The guides transport them in their backpack.
Further down the scenery got even more beautiful, rappeling down smaller waterfalls with deeper pools which you swam inside and interesting rock formations.
Slowly slowly we reached our last rappel for the day.
With no more rappels we had a short break for snacks, regrouped and continued hiking through beautiful nature to get to the path which would lead us back up to Syrrako village.
Regrouped and hiking towards the exit path. Below some more photos of the beautiful scenery during our hike back.
Guess this was the way they transported stones and other things to the village when needed.
Back to Syrrako village and that marked the end of that days canyoning in Stavraetos gorge. We had to rest because the next day we go go into one of the most beautiful canyons, Paradise Gate!
GPS coordinates for places in this post, click on them to be redirected to the exact point in google maps. Click on the names to be redirected to their official websites (if applicable).
Hellas Canyon website: https://hellascanyon.com/en/
Syrrako village: 39°35'38.9"N 21°06'29.8"E
Meeting point in Syrrako carpark and start of trail: 39°35'39.1"N 21°06'15.9"E
Click below to read the connected previous and next post:
Syrrako village, Tzoumerka Epirus Greece (coming soon)
Paradise Gate canyoning, Tzoumerka Epirus Greece (coming soon)
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