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.
During winter time, I particularly enjoy all different winter mountaineering activities, though due to the fact I need to keep track with my rock climbing skills, I have to “sacrifice” a winter mountaineering ascent and instead to go and visit a crag for some sport climbing. By keeping that in mind, I decided to visit one more crag in the Argolis region.
The Argolis district of Greece, which includes the city of Nafplio, is at the southern end of the Greek mainland and is a popular holiday destination. The majority of the crags are easily accessible, together with plenty of beaches and many archaeological interests. This is an ideal area to go rock climbing for families with children and for groups with different interests, as well as a dedicated rock climbing holiday.
It has been quite some time since the very first post here on the Olympus Mountaineering blog, and so far it has been a really nice “journey”.
I personally, enjoy all kind of outdoor activities in Greece, from Winter Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Wild Camping up to Thru-Hikesand I am certainly glad when people from abroad get in contact with the Olympus Mountaineering blog in order to receive various information for the Greek mountains.
Few days ago, a person from Poland got in touch with us and kindly asked if it would be an option to join us on our next mountaineering activity. Although, I rarely accept to go on the mountains with people I do not know, after a short chat, I understood this person was serious enough and had enough knowledge for a winter mountaineering activity.
One more weekend arrived, and it was time to hit the trail once again. We had plenty of options in our mind, such as Alpine Climb on Gerontovrachos (mount Parnassos), Dirfi mountain or the continuation of Dirfi, Xerovouni mountain.
Xerovouni is a limestone mountain in central Evia and is essentially a continuation of Dirfy mountain complex. Its highest peak, Portaris, is 1,453 m high.
Although Xerovouni is not a very high mountain, due to its proximity to Athens, many hikers and climbers visit it. In addition, in Xerovouni there are plenty of trad climbing routes, that during winter time most of these routes become the perfect playground for rock & ice climbing activities.
It was a beautiful sunny morning just after Christmas and just before the end of 2018 and I took the decision to go for a training hike on Mount Parnitha. The previous days there was a quite heavy snowfall and due to rather low temperatures I was able to hike on snow (in the north side of the mountain) and on dry conditions from the east/south side of Mount Parnitha.
Mt. Parnitha is located in Attiki province, 25km North from the city of Athens. It is one of the 4 mountains(the others are Immitos, Penteli and Aigaleo) that surround the circular plain,in which the city of Athens is built. Mt Parnitha is the talllest and more impressive among the mountains that surround Athens.
The cycle of seasons at Tzoumerka (Athamanika) follows its own calm rhythms. Words such as awe and admiration are not enough to describe the splendor of the nature.
Here, time seems to hang still over the gorges, the vertical cliffs of the ravines and the snow-covered firs that climb the rocks up to the naked alpine zone. The abundant running water and impressive waterfalls justify the omnipresent dense flora and satisfy both the physical thirst as well as that of the sense of sight.
There are a lot of mapped hiking routes at Tzoumerka, with special markings, both for advanced and beginners in hiking. A very easy hike is the one that starts from the Pramanta Mountain Refuge and end in the Waterfall.
Every new winter season, I try to upgrade some of my old mountaineering gear and change my old gear to new models. Mountaineering gear can be rather expensive and therefore I do such upgrades gradually. Recently, I have updated my helmet and I got the new Mammut Wall Rider helmet, but I have also got a new ice axe, the new Petzl Quark.
Like always, prior of purchasing a new item, I do an extensive market research. For the new ice axe, I had specific needs and wishes. I wanted the new ice axe to be a multipurpose ice axe that I could use it for general mountaineering, but also on more technical terrains, such as on couloirs and more mix climbing activities.
It’s almost Christmas time and also the end of one more exciting mountaineering year here in Greece. This past year, we have been to many different mountain peaks and mountain range, but one of the few that we have never visited before, were Athamanika or Tzoumerka Mountains.
Athamanika mountains, also known as Tzoumerka, are part of Pindos mountain range located at the boundaries of the regions of Thessaly and Epirus. Both the physical landscape and the traditional settlements set Athamanika mountains as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece.
During winter time, climbers always search nice south facing walls for their climbing activities. This is also the case here in Greece, that although temperatures are rather moderate, during winter time, is always nice to climb under the warm sun rays.
One of the nicest climbing crags for crispy cold but nice sunny winter days is the crag in the Thermisia Castle (Kastro Thermisias). Also, the Kastro Thermisia crag has a spectacular view of the argosaronic sea.
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.