Autumn Ascent on Mount Aselinon (Giona) via Karagiannis path

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).

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View of Sykia wall from Sykia Village

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.

Approach Hike

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.

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Beginning of the path from the centre of Sykia Village
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Footpath towards the climbing session
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Approach path
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Vardousia Mountain as seen from Karagianni’s path (Mount Aselinon/Giona)

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.

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“Entrance” of Karagianni’s path (Mount Aselinon/Giona)

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Scrambling passage
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Exposed path
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Hiking on

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).

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Pyrgos Peak 2.066 m.
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Sykia village as seen from Karagianni’s path
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Vardousia Mountain
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Sykia climbing wall
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Pyrgos peak 2.066 m.

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.

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Exposed scrambling wall
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Climbing
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Climbing
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Climbing
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Pyrgos Peak
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enjoying the stunning views
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Exposed part

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.

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2.200 meters above sea level
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Surrounding view
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Couloir with scree
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Couloir
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More scrambling
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Surrounding views
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Pyrgos Peak and Vathia Laka
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Surrounding View
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Reaching the ridge line
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Reached the ridge line and looking bellow to other fellow climbers
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Fellow climbers reaching the exit to the ridge line

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.

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On the ridge line towards the peak
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Almost at the peak of Mount Aselinon
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Peak of Mount Aselinon (Giona) 2.510 m.
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Stunning view from the top of Pyramida Peak

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.

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Pyramida Peak as seen from bellow
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Path to Vathia Laka
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Pyrgos Peak as seen from Vathia Laka
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Downhill towards Kaloskopi

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The last kilometre towards the Mnimata location was done on a dirt road
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Water fountain used by shepherds nearby 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

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Path on the map
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first part of the route we have followed as seen on Google Earth
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Second part of the route we have followed as seen on Google Earth

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 
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