It has been three years ago since our last visit to Mount Aselinon (Giona), and time has come to pay one more visit to the highest Greek mountain south of Olympus.
Mount Aselinon (Giona) is a mountain in Phocis, Central Greece. It is located between the mountains of Parnassus to the east, Vardousia to the west, and Oeta to the north. Known in classical antiquity as the Aselinon Oros (moonless mountain), it is the highest mountain south of Olympus and the fifth overall in Greece. Pyramida is its highest peak at 2,510 metres (8,235 ft).
This time, we have decided to go from the famous “Karagianni’s Path“.
Karagianni’s path is a steep path connecting the village Sykia with Giona’s peak (Pyramida 2.510 m). It is located on the edge of Sykia wall, the biggest wall in Greece. It is often used by climbers to retreat from Sykia wall climbing. In dry conditions is maybe a little dull due to the existence of extensive scree. In winter, scree has converted in snow ramps, and it can make one very nice mountaineering day. Maximum difficulty: 40 to 50 degrees snow or ice. Usually the descent is done by other less inclined routes.
The first part of Karagianni’s path is about an hour simple approach hike. Although the approach hike is easy, it is rather steep with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. While hiking, on our back we could see the early morning sun beams illuminating the Vardousia mountain.
About 55 minutes since the beginning of the approach hike, we have reached the “entrance” of Karagianni’s path. There is a clear RED arrow on the wall that indicates the beginning of the route. At that point, we have had a short break and we wore our helmets. From that point and on, besides having several small climbing passages, there is also the risk of falling rocks from the Sykia wall, which was hanging above us. On that spot there is also a first small climb and there is also a rope for extra protection.
Karagianni’s Path – Pyramida Peak
On the photo bellow you can see the first passage of the Karagianni’s path. It is very well signed with a big red arrow and there is also a supplementary rope in order to provide eventual assistance. On Karagianni’s path, there are several scrambling passages and a couple of them are a bit exposed. Though, on those exposed parts, the local mountaineering club placed ropes and/or steel ropes in order to assist beginner climbers. Most of the scramble on Karagianni’s path is a YDS class 3 rock scramble.
Karagianni’s path took its name from the well known Greek climber, Dimitris Karagiannis. He identified, explored, climbed and signed the path at the beginning of the ’80s and since then it has been climbed from many greek and not only climbers. During winter time, this route becomes a playground for winter mountaineering activities because it offers field for mixed climbing.
While scrambling and climbing on Mount Aselinon, we have had the chance to enjoy some spectacular views of the mountain but also of several surrounding mountains, such as Vardousia (2.495 m) and nearby peaks, such as Pyrgos Peak (2.066).
About 4 hours since our departure from Sykia, we came across in front of one more relatively exposed climbing wall. For experienced mountaineers and climbers it is not difficult to pass through, though, for safety reasons, the local mountaineering club has placed a rope.
Around 2.200 meters above sea level we came across a couloir with slight dull surface due to extensive scree. That was a bit tiring part because moving on non-stop moving scree is not the easiest thing. Nevertheless, the whole team managed to pass through and to get ready for the final part of the Karagianni’s path. In this final part, and prior of reaching the Pyramida ridge, we had more scrambling and two more exposed passages. Again, team was great and we all reached the ridge line sound and safe.
We have been walking, hiking, scrambling and climbing for about 6 hours and we have finally reached the ridge line that leads to Pyramida, the highest peak of (Giona) 2.510 m.
At the top, the whole team gathered around and we enjoyed some snacks and refreshments. Views from top of mount Aselinon were stunning, and mood of the team was great.
Pyramida Peak – Mnimata
At the top of Pyramida Peak, we stayed for about 30 minutes were we have had the time to relax and of course to enjoy the stunning views. After that, we decided to go downhill from Pyramida, towards Vathia Laka. From Vathia Laka, we took the path to Kaloskopi and our route ended at the Mnimata location.
Details of the climb:
- Location: Mount Aselinon
- Starting Point: Sykia Village
- Ending Point: Mnimata location (Kaloskopi)
- Minimum Elevation: 623 m
- Maximum Elevation: 2.510 m.
- Elevation Gain: 1.887 m.
- Total Distance: 14.8 km
- Difficulty: Medium (for experienced climbers) High (for unexperienced climbers)
- Water Features: Almost none. Only at the end of the route near Mnimata location
Bellow you can see the route we have followed on a map and on 3D
Other peaks of Mount Aselinon:
- Perdika 2,484 m
- Tragonoros 2,456 m
- Platyvouna or Plativouna2,316 m
- Profitis Ilias2,298 m
- Kastro2,176 m
- Vraila2,177 m
- Paliovouni2,122 m
- Pyrgos2,066 m
- Lyritsa2,007 m
- Botsikas 1,945 m
- Kokkinari 1,908 m
- Tychioni 1,842 m