Mavrosouvala is an amazing cave which emerges, totally unexpectedly, in a wooded area otherwise completely devoid of cliffs. Measuring 50m high by 80m wide, the cave is solid Kalymnos-quality limestone brimming with tufas and prominent features. It serves as the outdoorgym crag of the young, hardcore Athenian sport climbers who ‘project’ routes, so don’t be surprised by the number of permanent quickdraws swinging in the wind.
Mavrosouvala Cave is located 45km north of Athens, very close to the Athens-Lamia-Thessaloniki motorway (A1 / E75). The area is so lush it’s hard to believe it’s on the outskirts of such a massive urban sprawl like Athens. The cave is hidden in the midst of a dense pine forest above a small ravine with water in the winter and spring. This spectacular cave was discovered by happy accident: in January 2006 a young climber – who will remain unnamed – ‘borrowed’ his father’s car for a joyride. As he drove on the sly, along deserted back roads to avoid detection, there it was: a tremendous cave rising out of nowhere! No doubt a lucky break for the climbers of Athens, because they would probably never have gone cliff-sniffing in that area.
Mavrosouvala was ‘inaugurated’ in May 2006, during the 30th birthday party of the Acharnes Alpine Club, with special guests none other than Chris Sharma and Steve McClure (incidentally, Acharnes Alpine Club provided a significant amount of bolts for this crag). Routes were mainly bolted by the following equippers: Thomas Michaelides, Kostas Roussos, Christos Daniel, Thanassis Kefalas, Polydoros Karaberopoulos and Vangelis Kastanias.
Climbing: Red and yellow limestone, generally steep, with pockets and tufas. Excellent, pumpy, 3D climbing on mostly good holds and some slopers on tufa blobs.
Gear: At least a 70m rope and 15-17 QDs for the longer routes.
Conditions: Ideal for spring and autumn climbing. Winter climbing is also possible on mild, dry days when the stalactites drip less. Most routes are sheltered from the rain.