During winter time, climbers always search nice south facing walls for their climbing activities. This is also the case here in Greece, that although temperatures are rather moderate, during winter time, is always nice to climb under the warm sun rays.
One of the nicest climbing crags for crispy cold but nice sunny winter days is the crag in the Thermisia Castle (Kastro Thermisias). Also, the Kastro Thermisia crag has a spectacular view of the argosaronic sea.
Winter is back! And we are very happy for this for the simple fact that most, if not all, the high mountains of Greece, are fully covered with this beautiful water vapour frozen into ice crystals, Snow!
It was beginning of December, and as first winter mountaineering climb, we have decided to visit the third consecutive peak of the Arete of Chelmos (Aroania), Gardiki.
Gardiki (2.182 m), is part of the Aroania (Chelmos) mountain complex. Aroania/Chelmos (2355m), stands proud with its biggest section extending to the Kalavrita area. Is the third highest mountain in the Peloponnese and its natural beauties, the rare species of plants, birds and animals make it stand out. Its rich biotopes are protected as a Natura 2000 site. The mount attracts a large number of visitors mainly due to the ski-center that is situated in Vathia Lakka, 14 km. east of Kalavrita and the climbing routes. It offers an unsurpassed experience since there nest landscapes of unique beauty, traditional settlements, archaeological areas, caves and rivers. The mountain is suitable for excursions round the year.
Autumn is a really nice season and full of surprises while adventuring in the outdoors. One day can be with beautiful sunny conditions, the day after the scenery can change dramatically and become full of mist and fog. This is what actually happened on our last visit on Mainalo mountain.
The climate of the area is quite unique given the elevation. The range feels more like the PWN than the alps, this is due to the high forestation and large amounts of precipitation in the area. The range is very humid and rather cold boasting some of the coldest fronts in Greece, easily falling under -10C during storms. The area has stable weather and gets storms for multiple days although harsh weather is a staple of the area, quick changes of weather during storms (i.e. from rain to no rain, from cloudy to snowy) is another problem.
Mount Mainalo, with almost 2000 m altitude (Ostrakina Peak) is one of the most mysterious mountains of Greece. It dominates the middle of the Peloponnese and is distinguished for its natural wealth and beauty. On its lush green slopes, since the dawn of the world man became a predator, architect, and musician, learned to live in towns, discovered the charms of art, the assistance of divination and met face to face with God.
Last time we have visited Mount Mainalo (or Menalo) was for a winter mountaineering ascent a couple of years ago. Now, a couple of years later on, it was again time to visit Mainalo, wich was named after the mythical Maenalus.
It has been more that 6 months that I have been researching for a new helmet that I would be using for my outdoor adventures. I have been looking at all different kind of helmets and of course from various brands. My requirements for a new helmet were rather specific and the activities I would be using it are mainly alpine climbs, winter mountaineering and climbing activities. Therefore, I wanted to have a rather lightweight helmet that would be comfortable to wear all day long. My final choice was to purchase the Mammut Wall Rider.
As already described on a previous post, Greece is not only a sea, sun and cultural destination, but is also a great destination for mountain activities, including sport climbing too. Specifically, Athens area offers more than 2000 single pitch bolted lines in more than 40 crags and new routes are constantly popping up. In addition there are 4 multi pitch walls with trad lines, plenty of bouldering and a lot of potential for deep water solo.
This time, we decided to visit Pano Alogopetra. Pano Alogopetra (Greek for “Upper Alogopetra”) is a cluster of rock faces in the northern side of the Alogopetra peak, over the village of Fyli. Pano Alogopetra sits on an elevated balcony with grand view over the Fyli valley. On a clear day the eye can wander from the edge of Gkoura canyon down to the Elefsina coast on the south west and the city of Athens on the southeast. This is a great spot to enjoy a fiery winter sunset after a full day of climbing.
Greece is a very popular summer and cultural destination, but Greece has to offer much more than sea and sun. Athens is the capital of Greece. It was also at the heart of Ancient Greece, a powerful civilization and empire. The city is still dominated by 5th-century BC landmarks, including the Acropolis, a hilltop citadel topped with ancient buildings like the colonnaded Parthenon temple. The Acropolis Museum, along with the National Archaeological Museum, preserves sculptures, vases, jewelry and more from Ancient Greece.
Athens area offers more than 2000 single pitch bolted lines in more than 40 crags and new routes are constantly popping up. In addition there are 4 multi pitch walls with trad lines, plenty of bouldering and a lot of potential for deep water solo. Limestone in Athens comes in a surprising variety of shapes and colors and can create climbing wonders ranging from sheer desperate slabs to highly featured, tufa infested walls. Tufa climbing has a strong presence in the area. In fact, the city’s best sport climbing crags can certainly rival those of Kalymnos’ in tufa climbing goodness. Undisputed king among the tufa kingdoms of Athens is the lost world of Mavrosouvala, a totally otherworldly place in the middle of nowhere. The craziest thing about this majestic stalactite forest is that very few Athenians actually know about its existence.
About 4 km away from Ermioni there is a great hiking opportunity in Katafyki Gorge. This route is suitable for all the family due to the easy trail of only 2,5 kilometres. The wild beauty of this gorge will astonish you. Of course, this route can be extended up to 7 kilometres if one wants to hike from Katafyki Gorge up to the village of Fournoi.
Katafyki gorge is a beautiful natural landscape, located between the villages of Fournoi and Ermioni. It consists of a protected area of outstanding beauty and a wild life refuge that attracts the most demanding visitors. Hikers can leave their car in Ermioni and take the path that passes through the dense vegetation of pines, laurels, myrtles, shrubs and other endemic plants. The sound of the running water and the presence of rare animals and wild birds give the impression of an earthly paradise. The imposing rough rocks host mysterious caves, one of which is said to consist of the entrance to the underworld, the point from where Hercules found Cerberus. The locals narrate stories of various offenders that used the caves as refuge.
Artemisio mountain is on the border between Arcadia and Argolis, in the Municipalities of Argos-Mycenae and Tripolis respectively. It forms part of the mountain range that connects the Argolic Gulf with the Corinthian, and as such, it borders with Lyrkeio mountain on the north and with Ktenia mountain on the south. On its west is the plateau of Mantineia. Its tallest peak is 1,771 metres in height.
We have visited this mounted on different occasions either as a winter mountaineering activity, or for scrambling on the Arete of Artemisio and each time we have great adventures. Though, for this ascent, we wanted to try something more extreme and relatively more dangerous, and that was the trad climb of the rocky north face of Artemisio.
While we are on tour climbing in the region of Argolis, we have decided to go and check a rather unvisited crag, the Pillars of the Wind (Τα πιλλιέ των ανέμων). The Pillars of the Wind is a beautiful rock between Mount Didimo and Mount Ortholithi.
Pillars of the Wind, is an interesting rock formation giving the impression that a giant hand has thrust a lump of rock through the surrounding soil leaving shattered pinnacles and crazily leaning giant boulders. Very reminiscent of a Dartmoor for except it is made of limestone.
Pillars of the Wind is a very friendly venue with good access, a good variety of routes and great quality rock.