Climbing the North-East Rigde of Mount Hymettus (Prosilio Ridge)

Rising majestically to the east of the city of Athens, this sacred mountain is home to ancient Athenian temples and holy places. Despite human activity, Mount Hymettus remains an important natural habitat filled with diverse wildlife and vegetation.

The height is 1,026 m at Evzonas and the length is 16 km (9.9 mi) between Athens and the Saronic Gulf and 6 to 7 km from east to west. In the ancient times, the highest point was known as Mega Ymittos and the southern Elattona (Ελάττονα) and Anydro Ymitto (Άνυδρο Υμηττό). Once upon a time, mount Hymettus was noted for its thyme honey and Marble.

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Hymettus Ridge

Hymettus (Ymittos), is covered with a beautiful pine forest (at least the parts of the firests that survived from the wildfires) and has many attractions: historic monasteries, impressive caves, clearly marked footpaths, unsurfaced forest roads barred to traffic which are ideal for mountain biking, trekking and many rock climbing fields and of course offers a fantastic view.


See other hiking and climbing activities near Athens:


North-East Ridge of Hymettus (Prosilio Ridge) | IV UIAA – 320 m.

The north-east ridge of mount Hymettus, is located rather closed to the metropolis of Athens and it is an excellent location for training on easy but rather exposed terrain. Actually, it is a very good starting point for people that want to get into alpine climbing, although the setting is not on alpine level. In fact, on the way up, I have noticed signs on the rock from crampons, which means that people trained on this ridge for perhaps other ascents, such as the Arête of Chelmos (Aroania), the Arête of Artemisio, or even the famous Naoum Ridge which is located on mount Olympus.


The Route

The Proslio Ridge as it is known within the mountaineering community of Athens, is a very nice route, relatively easy and it can be done either on a small group of climbers or even solo.

The climb for most of the part is III UIAA. The beginning of the route is a IV UIAA short climb and the crux of the route, I would also rate it as IV UIAA.

Elevation gain is 320 meters.

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The Route marked in red

Approach

From Paiania, we need to drive towards Prosilio. Our goal is to drive till the end of Serron street, where a dirt road starts. On that point we leave the cars (is a small parking lot).

Once the car is parked, then we follow the dirt road toward the west. After the second left bend, we can identify the trail with sign number 5 and we follow this path. Pay attention that due to the recent wildfire (August 2019), that area is burned and all trees and bushes are with ashes.

As we follow the trail path 5, we will see the ridge on our left side and we have to follow the direct line till the base of the Prosilio Ridge.

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Dirt Road
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The Prosilio Ridge as seen from the dirt road
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Trail Path #5 – Burned forest
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Prosilio Ridge

From the parking lot till the base of the Prosilio Ridge one need about 20-25 minutes. On that point, we stopped and wear our gear and got ready for the actual climb.


Prosilio Ridge (NE Ridge) – Climb

As soon we reached the base of the ridge, we had to get organised with our gear. Our harnesses, quickdraws, nuts, friends, ropes, helmets etc.

The first view of the ridge is rather stunning and the first pass is about IV UIAA (or IV-). Other climbers testified that on that part there are left two pitons, but we did not see/find any piton. Therefore, we used our own gear in order to protect the climb.

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This is the base of Prosilio Ridge
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Gear placement
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Gear placement
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Off we go

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This first pass of IV UIAA, is not very long and not difficult, though it is a great introduction to the whole route. Once reached the top of this slap, we had to belay our fellow climbers.

Using full protection, requires more time and this is something someone has to take into consideration.

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Belaying

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Waiting for our fellow climbers to climb this first part

As soon everyone was up the first part of the climb, for training purposes, we decided to move with the “short-rope” technique. In this way, we would be able to perform and get used to each other for our upcoming more advance and demanding climbs.

From that point and on the route is rather easy of III UIAA. At certain point, there is an easy down-climb of III UIAA and although is not difficult or very exposed, some people prefer to abseil it. Instead of abseil, we decided to down-climb it with protection from the following climber.

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Almost at the crux

Almost the the very end of the ridge, there is the famous Crux of Prosilio Ridge. This is a point where one actually needs to climb a IV UIAA. Is not difficult and is easy to place gear either on the rock or on a small tree trunk that is on the route.

The views from the point area really stunning and it is easy to see the entire region of East Attica. One can clearly see the International Athens Airport.

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View towards Paiania
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View towards OTE (telco Antenna)
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View towards Penteli mountain
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View towards Athens Airport

 


The Crux of Prosilio Ridge

Amongst the climbing community, there are many rumours of the Prosilio Ridge Crux. I guess, this crux triggers the conversations because is the most difficult part of the entire route. Though, an intermediate climber with enough mountaineering experience has nothing to be worried about.

The crux is about 10-12 meters high and maximum difficulty is IV UIAA (some people rate it also IV+ UIAA, but I think the IV is most appropriate). In addition, the terrain gives the opportunity to the climber to protect it with nuts, friends and even with lanyards and therefore the climb becomes non-problematic.

Having said that, due to the fact this is not a sport climbing crag, it is always important to take into consideration for any loose rock that might fall from above or even worse to get loose while we climb.

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The Crux IV UIAA
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The Crux IV UIAA
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The Crux IV UIAA
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The Crux IV UIAA
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Belay position just above the Crux
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Almost at the end of the ridge

Return

As soon we reached the highest point of the ridge, we took a short break in order to collect and order our gear inside our backpacks. After that short break we moved north where there is a path that leads to the junction of Hymettus Paths number 10 & number 5.

The return to our starting point is a very easy and pleasant downhill under the beautiful pine trees that provided us the much needed shadow, after our constant sun exposure while climbing the ridge.

The time needed from the peak of Prosilio Ridge till the parking lot is about 40 minutes (easy pace).

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On the trail for the return
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Trail marks
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View during the descent
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Trail sign
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Trail path
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Trail Sign
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Trail path #10 and Trail path #5 junction

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Almost at the parking lot

Recommended Gear

For this multi-pitch climb, I used the following gear:

  • Mammut Wall Rider Helmet
  • Simond 20 lt. Back pack
  • 5 lanyards 60 cm
  • 1 lanyard 120 cm
  • 4 locking carabiners
  • 1 HMS carabiner
  • Petzl Altitude Harness
  • Simond Climbing shoes
  • 6 Quickdraws
  • Cordelette for prusik
  • 2 60 m. half ropes
  • 4 carabiners
  • Reverso
  • 1.5 lt of Water
  • 1 energy bar
  • Rock Nuts

Details of the Climb

  • Location: Hymettus Mountain
  • Starting Point: Prosilio
  • Ending Point: Prosilio
  • Trail Signs: Partly signed path
  • Minimum Elevation: 393 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 825 m.
  • Total Distance: 4.4 km
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • When to Hike: Autumn, Winter, Spring
  • Water Features: None

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

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See other hiking and climbing activities near Athens:

 

3 thoughts on “Climbing the North-East Rigde of Mount Hymettus (Prosilio Ridge)

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