OverviewA lot of people say that this is the first real climbing (use of pitons, rope and belaying) done in Greece. Actually the couple of Comici-Escher had climbed the north ridge of Stefani the previous day. Anyway, this route nowadays is a classic. It has a lot of ascents every summer (a lot of them solo) and a few winter ascents as well.
The first ascent of the route was done by the famous climber of 1930's Emilio Comici from Trieste, together with Anna Escher from Switzerland on 26-6-1934.
The first winter ascent was done by T.Bountolas and S.Tosidis on 26-12-1975.
Getting ThereYou just have to hike one of the trails that drive to the Muses plateau. Then you take the trail to Zonaria until the middle of Throne of Zeus, you leave the trail and you climb the scree slope to the base of the route. During June/mid-July there is 15 to 25 meters long snow slope up to 35 to 40 degrees, so you have to take care. After the snow melt, later in the season, you can go to the S-SE or the N ridge of Stefani and follow a trail traversing at the base of the rock face, avoiding the scree.
The approach time is about 15-20 minutes from the refuges Apostolidis and Kakalos respectively.
Route Description1st pitch: The start depends on the quantity of snow on the base of the route early in the season. Easy dihedral with good crack on the left for protection (1 rusty piton somewhere to the right), then RIGHT (don't go to the left loose slab, which looks easier) to ledge with bolt and up to loose slab (piton with ring) to the 1st belay(2 bolts)- 35m-45m
2nd pitch: Straight up easy slab (1 piton at 10-12m), another at approx. 35m.
Belay at exactly 50m (2 bolts) on the left hand wall.
3nd pitch: Climb some meters to the huge ledge (zonari) visible on the topo, then left 10m to 2 pitons (old belay), then straighy up very easy slab to belay (2 bolts) on the left hand wall- 45m
4th pitch: Straight up to a small almost vertical step (2 pitons), another piton on the ledge(put long sling), a little left to a nice dihedral (1 piton) to loose slab. Be carefull, the belay (2 bolts) is to left on a ledge at the base of the last dihedral that leads to the top - 40m.
5th pitch: Easy but loose step (1 piton) to ramp/dihedral (1 more piton) that becomes more vertical to the end and tops at the ridge. Belay on the bolt to the left- 20m
The time for the climbing is about 2-3 hours for a normal party.
Finishing the route you are at the characteristic V, shown from the Muses Plateau, on Stefani's summit ridge. If you want to climb to the real summit (there is a summit logbook), see this picture.
Descent: Avoid rappelling, is dangerous and time wasting. Just take the ridge to the left (S-SE) that leads to the couloir of Stefani (normal route to summit) and to Zonaria trail. There are red marks on the couloir.
Time for return to the refuges: about 40 minutes.
Essential GearThe Essential Gear depends on your experience on alpine rock climbing, as well on your comfort moving on alpine (that means loose, runout, cold, maybe wet) rock.
First essential is helmet, personal gear (harness, belay device etc).
Some people can climb the route with a few slings and 4-5 quickdraws (using the fixed pitons), but the 'normal' rack is also some medium to big nuts and 1-3 small to medium cams.
Don't forget the rope! You can climb the route on boots or trainers.
The route has also a lot of solo repeats, at least one solo barefoot ascent, but this doesn't mean that is something for everybody.
External Linkswww.routes.gr In this site you can find a big archive for mountain climbing in Greek mountains.
There is a topo of the route in greek.
There is a topo of the route in english
www.exosports.de/bildergalerien/Olymp_Comici/index.htm You can see also nice photos of a 2007 winter ascent (the topo is a little right for the 20-25 first meters-the guys climbed a variation slightly more difficult)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjkWwgGBmSI Slide-show/video from a winter ascent of Comici-Esher, III+/2/M2+, 170m climbed 31.12.2009