Trad Climbing on Artemisio Mountain

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.

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Starting point of the trail

Approach

 

Usually hikers and climbers depart from Karya, on the east side of Artemisio. Two trails of different difficulty begin from there, one requiring special knowledge and equipment. In general, Artemisio’s trails are through the canyons and on its slopes, and are a popular destination for both mountain climbing and hiking; though hikers who don’t want to climb or don’t have the knowledge and equipment, should choose the easier trail from Karya. The trails are have good signals to aide the travellers.

For our ascent instead, we had to drive a bit further into a local road that connects the village of Karya and Nestani. Just after Ag. Konstantinos chapel, we have parked our car and we started our approach hike towards the base of the pyramid of Artemisio’s peak.

The hike is very easy, but the trail is not signed and therefore one has to study the route before hand.


See previous ascents on mount Artemisio on the links bellow:


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Trail towards Artemisio’s peak
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Nearby peak 1.389 m.

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First view of Artemisio’s peak

It was still early morning, and just 40 minutes since the moment we have started our hike, when we came to see the pyramid shape of Artemisio rocky peak. On that point, and just before that beginning of Artemisio’s Aretes, we turned to the right and we traversed the mountain from east towards the north face of the mountain.

The North/North-West face of Artemisio is a very rocky face with very loose rock and that is a bit dangerous. Nevertheless, we wanted to reach the top of the mountain from the almost never used North Face.

At certain point, we came across a rock formation that was similar to a human side profile. There we also enjoyed a bit the view and we got ready for the actual climb towards the the highest point of Artemisio.

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Artemisio Mountain peak
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Artemisio Mountain peak
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Starting point of the traverse
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Human face side profile formation

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Trad Climbing on the North Face of Artemisio mountain

Traditional climbing, is a style of rock climbing in which a climber or group of climbers place all gear required to protect against falls, and remove it when a pitch is complete. Traditional bolted face climbing means the bolts were placed on lead and/or with hand drills. The bolts tend to be much farther apart than sport climbs. For example, a trad bolted route may have bolts from 15–75 feet apart. A sport route may have bolts from 3–10 feet apart, similar to a rock climbing gym. The term seems to be coined by Tom Higgins in the piece “Tricksters and Traditionalists” in 1984. A trad climber is called a traditionalist.

For this ascent, we have selected a beautiful line on the wall, that most probably has never been climbed in the past, or at least, has never been documented. Although, it was the first mountaineering trad climbing we have ever done, this route was not a very easy one. We estimate, this route was a V+ (UIAA) but the actual difficulty might have been a bit higher due to the very slippery rock and many loose rocks that we were not able to grab with our hands or to place our feet.

The first part of the route was rock mixed with grass, but the higher we were the grass was disappeared. About an hour once we have started our climb, and 2 pitches, we have managed to reach the top of Artemisio mountain.

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Our climbing line

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Getting ready to start the climb
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Climbing up the first pitch
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Climbing the first pitch
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Almost at the top
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Reached the highest point of Artemisio, 1.771 m.
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Peak of Artemisio
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Some of the used gear

At the top of mount Artemisio

It was a very beautiful day full of adventure. From the approach hike up to the actual trad climb to the top of the mountain. Once we have reached the top, we were able to enjoy the view and to see other high peaks of Peloponnese, such as the following:

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Looking towards Kreion Mountain (Ktenias)
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The plateau of Nestani flooded from recent heavy rainfall
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Hiking down from the mountain via the Arete of Artemisio
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Hiking down from the mountain via the Arete of Artemisio
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Hiking down from the mountain via the Arete of Artemisio

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Mushrooms
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Mushrooms
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Mushrooms

 


History of the mountain

According to Pausanias, a sanctuary dedicated to goddess Artemis, patron of hunters and wild nature, used to sit on its peak. The Roman traveller mentions the sacred grove of Itamoi, a European Yew that is very toxic, and according to mythology, the goddess used it to poison her arrows; unfortunately, the grove has not survived. Today, very few fir trees survive. The river Inachos has its spring on the mountain, its mouth in the Argolic gulf, and is one of the few springs that can be used for those who decide to climb the mountain.


Details of the Hike:

  • Location: Artemisio Mountain
  • Starting Point: Aghios Konstantinos Chapel
  • Ending Point: Malevos peak, Artemisio
  • Trail Signs: No signs
  • Minimum Elevation: 1.100 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 1.771 m.
  • Total Distance: 6 km
  • Difficulty: Difficult (Trad Climbing V+ UIAA)
  • When to Hike: Autumn to Spring (Not in summer due to heat)
  • Water Features: None

Bellow you can see the route we have followed on a map and on 3D:

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Map
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3D view
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3D view


See previous ascents on mount Artemisio on the links bellow:

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