Winter Hike on Mount Parnitha

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.

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Flabouri Mountain Hut

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Hiking in Tzoumerka (Athamanika) – Pramanta Refuge – Waterfall Kefalovriso

After a rather demanding climb in Strogoula via the “Agrofylakas” couloir, it was time for an easy hike in order to enjoy the beautiful landscape of Athamanika (Tzoumerka) mountains.

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.

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View of Strogoula as seen from Pramanta Mountain Refuge

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Winter Mountaineering Climb in Strogoula via Agrofylakas Couloir (Tzoumerka-Athamanika)

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.

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Stroggoula as seen from the refuge of Pramanta

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Climbing in Thermisia Castle (Kastro Thermisia) – Argolis

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.

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Castle of Thermisia

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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

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Hiking on Mount Mainalo – Traversing Ostrakina to Mavri Korifi (Black Peak)

Autumn is a really nice season and full of surprises while adventuring in the outdoors. One day can be with beautiful sunny conditions, the day after the scenery can change dramatically and become full of mist and fog. This is what actually happened on our last visit on Mainalo mountain.

The climate of the area is quite unique given the elevation. The range feels more like the PWN than the alps, this is due to the high forestation and large amounts of precipitation in the area. The range is very humid and rather cold boasting some of the coldest fronts in Greece, easily falling under -10C during storms. The area has stable weather and gets storms for multiple days although harsh weather is a staple of the area, quick changes of weather during storms (i.e. from rain to no rain, from cloudy to snowy) is another problem.

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early morning view from my tent

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Hiking on Mount Mainalo – Tzelati Peak

Mount Mainalo, with almost 2000 m altitude (Ostrakina Peak) is one of the most mysterious mountains of Greece. It dominates the middle of the Peloponnese and is distinguished for its natural wealth and beauty. On its lush green slopes, since the dawn of the world man became a predator, architect, and musician, learned to live in towns, discovered the charms of art, the assistance of divination and met face to face with God.

Last time we have visited Mount Mainalo (or Menalo) was for a winter mountaineering ascent a couple of years ago. Now, a couple of years later on, it was again time to visit Mainalo, wich was named after the mythical Maenalus.

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EOS Tripolis Refuge

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Climbing in Athens – Pano Alogopetra

As already described on a previous post, Greece is not only a sea, sun and cultural destination, but is also a great destination for mountain activities, including sport climbing too. Specifically, Athens area offers more than 2000 single pitch bolted lines in more than 40 crags and new routes are constantly popping up. In addition there are 4 multi pitch walls with trad lines, plenty of bouldering and a lot of potential for deep water solo.

This time, we decided to visit Pano Alogopetra. Pano Alogopetra (Greek for “Upper Alogopetra”) is a cluster of rock faces in the northern side of the Alogopetra peak, over the village of Fyli. Pano Alogopetra sits on an elevated balcony with grand view over the Fyli valley. On a clear day the eye can wander from the edge of Gkoura canyon down to the Elefsina coast on the south west and the city of Athens on the southeast. This is a great spot to enjoy a fiery winter sunset after a full day of climbing.

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Alogopetra

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Climbing near Athens Airport – Etos Spata

Greece is a very popular summer and cultural destination, but Greece has to offer much more than sea and sun. Athens is the capital of Greece. It was also at the heart of Ancient Greece, a powerful civilization and empire. The city is still dominated by 5th-century BC landmarks, including the Acropolis, a hilltop citadel topped with ancient buildings like the colonnaded Parthenon temple. The Acropolis Museum, along with the National Archaeological Museum, preserves sculptures, vases, jewelry and more from Ancient Greece.

Athens area offers more than 2000 single pitch bolted lines in more than 40 crags and new routes are constantly popping up. In addition there are 4 multi pitch walls with trad lines, plenty of bouldering and a lot of potential for deep water solo. Limestone in Athens comes in a surprising variety of shapes and colors and can create climbing wonders ranging from sheer desperate slabs to highly featured, tufa infested walls. Tufa climbing has a strong presence in the area. In fact, the city’s best sport climbing crags can certainly rival those of Kalymnos’ in tufa climbing goodness. Undisputed king among the tufa kingdoms of Athens is the lost world of Mavrosouvala, a totally otherworldly place in the middle of nowhere. The craziest thing about this majestic stalactite forest is that very few Athenians actually know about its existence.

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Limestone rock

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Climbing in Katafyki Gorge – Ermioni, Argolis

About 4 km away from Ermioni there is a great hiking opportunity in Katafyki Gorge. This route is suitable for all the family due to the easy trail of only 2,5 kilometres. The wild beauty of this gorge will astonish you. Of course, this route can be extended up to 7 kilometres if one wants to hike from Katafyki Gorge up to the village of Fournoi.

Katafyki gorge is a beautiful natural landscape, located between the villages of Fournoi and Ermioni. It consists of a protected area of outstanding beauty and a wild life refuge that attracts the most demanding visitors. Hikers can leave their car in Ermioni and take the path that passes through the dense vegetation of pines, laurels, myrtles, shrubs and other endemic plants. The sound of the running water and the presence of rare animals and wild birds give the impression of an earthly paradise. The imposing rough rocks host mysterious caves, one of which is said to consist of the entrance to the underworld, the point from where Hercules found Cerberus. The locals narrate stories of various offenders that used the caves as refuge.

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Good Dag 6a+

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