Taygetus, is a mountain range in the Peloponnese peninsula in Southern Greece. The highest mountain of the range is Mount Taygetus, also known as the “Profitis Ilias”, or “Prophet Elias”. The name is one of the oldest recorded in Europe, appearing in the Odyssey. In classical mythology, it was associated with the nymph Taygete. During Byzantine times and up until the 19th century, the mountain was also known as Pentadaktylos.
The Taygetus Massif is about 100 km (62 mi) long, extending from the center of the Peloponnese to Cape Matapan, its southernmost extremity. It contains the tallest mountain in the Peloponnese, the Profitis Ilias summit, reaching 2,407 m (7,887 ft); this is probably the classical Mount Taléton mentioned by Pausanias.The summit is an ultra prominent peak.
Driving on the highway that leads to the city of Sparti (Sparta, the city of the 300), the view of the mountain is overwhelming. The snowy peaks makes it even more special. After a short break for an early morning coffee in the suburbs of Sparti, we took the road towards the Magganiari Springs. From Magganiari Springs we have been on trail until the main refuge of the Taygetos Mountain. The refuge in the winter remains closed but by arrangements can be arranged to be open for mountaineers and climbers. On that specific weekend, refuge was open and many climbers were accommodated within the refuge or in tents.
Our sleeping gear was the following:
- Hilleberg Akto Tent
- Cumulus Panyam 600 Sleeping Bag
- Massdrop Klymit Static V Insulated Ultra Light Pad
After a rather comfortable sleep on top of the snow, we woke up at 6.45 and we started our ascent at around 7.30. The sun was just rising and it was a beautiful feeling. It was beautiful to climb on the highest peak of Peloponnese while the sun was coming above the horizon.
The weather conditions were not bad, though not 100% optimal for a photo reportage. Therefore, on this post there are not many photos, but there are some beautiful shots you can see bellow.
After about 1 hour and 50 minutes we have reached the “portes” (Gates) passage. That is the point where the pyramid of the peak starts to form and actually is the final push in order to conquer the highest peak of Taygetus, “Profitis Ilias”.
After 2 hours and 20 minutes of climbing we have reached the top and we have been looking for the “Profitis Ilias” church, but we could not find it. It was under the snow. Bellow a photo of how we have seen the peak full of snow, and just after a reference photo of how is without snow during summer time.
Due to high winds, we stayed on the peak just for few minutes and after that we started our ascent towards the refuge. Once reached the refuge we have packed our tents and we proceeded towards Maganniaris springs. The whole day we have moved extremely fast and we had the whole afternoon and evening for relaxing.