Winter Hike and Climb on Dirfi Mountain

One more weekend was approaching and the initial plan was to go and climb one of the famous gullies of Gerontovrachos, on Mount Parnassos. Though, last minute unforeseen changes, forced me to change my plans and join the -excellent- company of other two experienced mountaineering guys, and all together to go and climb the central couloir of Mount Dirfi.

Dirfi is the highest mountain of Evia. Although Evia is technically an island, it is considered part of mainland Greece because it is only separated by a narrow channel. It stretches from NW to SE, with Dirfi rising in the middle.

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Evening sun between the fog

Our plan was to reach the mountain hut of Mount Dirfi on Saturday evening and the morning after to wake up while still dark in order to find the central couloir in good conditions.


See previous ascents on Mount Dirfi here:


Dirfi Parking Lot – Dirfi Mountaineering Hut

In order to reach the mountaineering hut of Dirfi, use the E-75 highway (joining Athens with northern Greece) and exit to Chalkida. The city is located on the East side of the channel.(77km from Athens).

After passing the bridge don’t enter the city, instead turn left following the signs to northern Evia and Artaki. In Artaki (5km) turn right and follow the signs to Steni. Steni is a village at Dirfi’s base and the usual trekking start. (27km from Chalkida).

When there is not snow, the dirt road that leads to the mountaineering hut is clear and visible, though, when there is snow, is not very easy to identify.

The path towards the mountain hut is rather easy and even an unexperienced hiker can reach the refuge. The saddle on which the refuge is located at an altitude of 1.150 meters above sea level. Also, The saddle on which the refuge is located is also a good camping site.

The visitor of Mount Dirfi, will enjoy the views towards the north, and especially towards the south-east that can easily see and identify the fabulous Xerovouni Mountain.

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First part of the trail towards Dirfi’s mountain hut
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Beautiful view
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Xerovouni Mountain
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Dirfi Mountain Hut and Peak (on the background)

We have reached the mountain hut just before the sunset and there we have met many other fellow mountaineers. Dirfi, is a very famous winter mountaineering destination and there are also many mountaineering courses that take place on this mountain.

It’s highest peak Delphi 1,743 meters, is the highest mountain of all the Greek islands after the mountains of Crete. The mountain has pine trees, chestnuts, oak trees, fir trees, many steep parts and a rich fauna. Each year there is a lot of snow on its high peaks and for this reason it has so many springs of flowing waters, which are bottled. You should also see the aesthetical forest of Steni and the famous Dragon Houses on the mountain.

Once the sun was gone, and the dark sky came above us, we have gathered all together within the mountain hut and exchanged many different stories from past Alpine Climbs on this mountain and not only.

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Dirfi During sunset
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View from the mountain hut during sunset

Dirfi Mountain Hut – Dirfi Peak

Our initial goal was to climb to the top of mount Dirfi via the central couloir. The central couloir is not a difficult climb, but it is very demanding for unexperienced mountaineers and therefore it is highly suggested to go and climb this couloir with experienced alpine climbers.

We set up our alarm clocks at 05.15 in the morning, because we wanted to hit the trail at 6.00 sharply. We wanted to leave so early from the mountain hut, because it was a rather warm night (for such altitude) and we wanted to find good snow conditions once we would enter the couloir.

The first part of the route is to follow the mainstream path that leads to the ridge via the south-east ridge. Once we have gained some altitude, we traversed on the east ridge and from there we were planning to “attack” the central couloir of Dirfi. Though, once we reached a relatively small distance from the central couloir, we have noticed that snow conditions and quantity were not optimal for such climb, due to high-risk of avalanche.

Most of us pay little attention to avalanches unless someone gets injured or killed in one. The sad fact is that most people caught in an avalanche trigger the slide themselves by traveling on or beneath unstable snow slopes.

An avalanche can go as fast as 120 miles per hour, a force that can easily sweep you into trees and rocks, pull you over cliffs and tangle you in your ski or snowboard equipment. Nearly one–third of avalanche deaths are the result of trauma.

Therefore, instead of reaching the peak via the central couloir, and due to the high-risk of avalanche, we diverted our route and we climbed just above the “portes” which is located on the mainstream path towards the peak of Dirfi.

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Hiking up
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Sunrise
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Our view towards central couloir

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First Sun beams
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Beautiful view

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Blue and white
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Xerovouni and Portaris peak as seen from Dirfi

After about 2 hours and 20 minutes we have reached the summit of mount Dirfi and we were able to enjoy the surrounding environment and other mountain peaks such as the following ones:

Furthermore, from the summit, we were able to see and enjoy the blue Agean sea and this is one of the nicest parts of climbing at the top of mount Dirfi.

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Blue Sky – Blue Sea – White Snow

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Almost at the top
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Petzl Quark Ice Axe

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Blue Sky – Blue Sea – White Snow

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Blue Sky – Blue Sea – White Snow and some lower peaks
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Summit of Mount Dirfi 1.743 m.

As soon we have reached the peak of Mount Dirfi, we have had some water, we took a couple of photos and then we moved rapidly towards the mountain hut. There, we collected all our personal items and gear and we then hiked down to the parking lot. One more wonderful mountaineering ascent was concluded and this time with some great company too.

See previous ascents on Mount Dirfi here:

 

 

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