Winter hike and mountaineering climb on Gardiki Peak (Arête of Chelmos/Aroania)

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.

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Startin Point – Zarouchla village

 

The route we have decided to follow, is the common but rarely visited route from the picturesque village of Zarouchla, towards Gardiki peak via Diasela ridge.


See more hiking/mountaineering routes around Chelmos/Aroania area:


Zarouchla – Diasela

Once you reach Akrata via the Athens-Patras national road, there is a sign showing the way to Zarouchla (about 35 km). This is a route with several turns that requires attention.

During the ascent of the winding road from Akrata to Zarouchla you will have a nice view of the Corinthian bay and Central Greece and if it has snowed also the white peaks of Parnassus mountain. As you approach the destination, the blue of the sea will be replaced by the green of the firs and plantains that often form arches above the road. The image of the small waterfalls on the left of the road is becoming more frequent as you approach Zarouchla, and the same and the same applies to the Kratsi Rivers, which run under the road.

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Starting point of the trail is within the village

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Trail path

After few hour of driving we arrived in the picturesque village of Zarouchla and we soon searched for a local restaurant in order to eat a delicious goat soup. Just after our dinner, we have search for a good location in order to set up our tents. For this trip, my sleeping gear was the following one:

Sleeping Gear:

It was raining all night long, but if one has good gear is always sleeping very comfortable under extreme conditions. The day after, we woke up rather early, we collected our sleeping gear and we soon started to hike in order to reach Gardiki peak (2.182 m.)

The first part of the trail is not very obvious and there are not many trail signs, therefore, in my opinion is very important to have a GPS device and a map of the area. Once we enter into the forrest, it is very obvious that this trail is not visited often by many people because the trail is not clear and there are many plants and trees growing in the trail path.

At certain point, we find a “Fence” in front of us and we had to go over it in order to enter again into the forest, where there were some trail signs.

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Field after the fence
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Beautiful forest
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One of the rare trail signs
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Trail

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Water feature about 45 minutes far from Zarouchla
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View of Zarouchla from the top
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Dirt road
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A “Throne” left for the hikers
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Water feature “Golfo”.

After about 1 hour and 20 minutes we have reached a plateau where very close buy is located the “Spring of Golfo“. There is actually the last water feature of the mountain but also is the starting point of the famous “Diasela“.


Diasela

Once we have reached the Golfo’s Spring, we headed south and we followed the trail that leads to the famous Diasela. Diasela, is basically a ridge that connect the Gardiki peak with the Krathis peak. Diasela, is supposed to be a difficult to cross ridge, but actually, is not difficult at all. There are only 2 scrambling points, but there is much elevation gain and loss.

Though, Diasela is one of the nicest parts of the entire trail, because the views from Diasela are stunning, especially towards Psili Koryfi. Also, from the opposite side, you can also enjoy a view towards mount Kyllini (Ziria).

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View while hiking up
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First view of Aroania (Chelmos)

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Hiking
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Beautiful ridgeline
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Gardiki peak

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View towards Krathis

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Gardiki peak
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Beautiful Arêre of Chelmos
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Arêre of Chelmos
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Arêre of Chelmos
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Arêre of Chelmos

Gardiki Peak

Although Diasela is very nice to cross, it always feels great when you are close to the peak. Also, I was very happy, that for first time in this season I had to the chance to step on snow and actually, it was nice stiff neve. We did not need to use the crampons, but nevertheless, we enjoyed our climb towards the peak.

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Lovely snow

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High Peaks, Snow and sun

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Wind is blowing

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Details of the Hike:

  • Location: Gardiki Mountain (Arête of Chelmos)
  • Starting Point: Zarouchla
  • Goal: Gardiki Peak (2.182 m)
  • Ending Point: Zarouchla
  • Trail Signs: Poorly signed path
  • Minimum Elevation: 1.266 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 2.182 m.
  • Total Distance: 15.8 km
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • When to Hike: All year (during winter time with winter mountaineering gear)
  • Water Features: Two

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

Gardiki-Zarouchla-Aroania-Arete-Helmos_Map
Map

See more hiking/mountaineering routes around Chelmos/Aroania area:

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2 thoughts on “Winter hike and mountaineering climb on Gardiki Peak (Arête of Chelmos/Aroania)

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