Mount Kyllinh or Zhreia is the 14th highest Greek peak rising 2.376m from sea level. The name of the mountain refers to its barren, rocky and colour filled terrain; it was said in ancient times that the mountain was the home and birthplace of the god Hermes. There are multiple roads leading up to the mountain although they don't lead all the way up to the summit. There are multiple other interesting sights through the massif; including a gorge and river, a cave and a huge amount of 2000+m peaks. Fun fact the alleged birthplace of Hermes is the remote Hermes cave is located in the massif.
General view of the mountain
This summit has a GPX file attached with it. Watch out, we didnt follow the trail on the descent. Please follow the GPX on your own risk
This mountain is sometimes called Kyllinh or/and Zhreia, both names are correct although i believe that Zhreia referees to both massifs and Kyllinh only to this.
This naming refers to the peak just across the Flambouritsa gorge, you can clearly make out the mountain whilst on the Zhreia plateau. The mountain rises 2117m above sea level. It is considerably harder than this mountain, accenting a massive 1500m gain. The mountain is E from big Zhreia.
Is a gorge that separates big and small Zhreia, situated E from big Zhreia. It has a river and multiple waterfalls. The hiking paths run around 11-20km and pass through amazing nature and show a view of the barren mountain that is rarely seen. There are currently 3 trails that run through the gorge. You can take them from the Zhreia ski resort chalet at ( https://goo.gl/maps/MxrMaPsm8VS2
). This is a well-recommended hike since it offers an amazing hike through a beautiful gorge without anyone else on the mountain.
Mount Killini is the name that refers to this specific peak/mountain, the name is derived from the Greek word 'Κυλος' that means 'Scars' thus it is referred to as the scarred mountain due to the wild and very rugged south face.
Only two hours from athen stands the zhreia plateau at 1500 elevation, the drive there is approx 2:20h and 156km taken from google maps (https://goo.gl/maps/L2AxdsYDw1D2) here you can find the directions. This is the only route to the summit of the main Zhreia mountain although there is a smaller Zhreia massif i wont cover it here.
The 11km route is completed within 6 hours. The route is cut into 4 (or 3 parts if you are smart) parts: the entry (about 1hour), Rock trail (1hour), GrassLands (45-50 mins), summit trail (1 hour). These are the main parts of the hike.
This is the part of the hike you can skip. The main parking area is the big parking space under the "ski resort" on the one side of the plateau. By parking there you 'lock' your self into walking a one hour trough section towards the refuge that is about 2.4km, if you have a 4x4 in your disposal you could be able to drive through the field cutting that hour of your hike. The section ends at the refuge where the second section starts.
This is a very annoying part of the hike, a steep rocky section that runs for about 1km, it is easy to navigate. Progress is very slow and usually takes about 1 hour. The trail here is very well marked and offers amazing views of the other (northern) mountains. It is considered the "worst" part of the hike although it has amazing scenery.
The rocky section on descent with view of the refuge and the traverse of the creek
This is a rather easy section, it is rather exposed and there isn't any clear trail outlined on the ground but navigating is easy and the angle isn't big and thus it is a scenic and not to interesting section. It is usual to complete the 1km withing 45 mins.
As you can tell the trail isnt any hard task but beware due to the animals that live in the plateau below there is a lot of cow and hosre shit littering the fields, be on the lookout.
Trail markings on the way up.
View of the peak (the left one from the top two) from the grassland traverse
The last section of the grasslands and the peak, the section ends on the obvious road you can make out from the picture
Summit Trail (Last Assent)
This part is a pain in the a** since i can't put it any better, it is a steep rocky un clear section that runs on a saddle spine running up to the summit. To enter the trail get on the road after the small field with the info plaque, pass the creek bed on your left and continue up the road (after the turn) the trail should be obviously outlined on the left (red signs) or use these (37.935257, 22.405543) this part is 1km and runs for about 1 hour. It is exhausting and vertical but with a slow pace it is an enjoyable summit run.
Beware, this part of the hike is as mentioned exposed, northern cold winds hit the assent so have something warm ready.
The exposed accent with view of the summit
The peak (left) from the saddle
There is no red tape on the mountain although the mountain is a Natura 2000 protecting 89 plant species, 8 mammals, 4 amphibians and 4 reptiles. So please leave nothing behind and do not interfere with nature. Also, a small part of the trail passes through private property, nothing to worry about just don't annoy the owner.
- Hermes cave trail entry: 37.940434, 22.430155
- Trail Head: 37.939613, 22.418412
- Refuge B: 37.938786, 22.417734
When to Climb
The mountain is pretty steep and remote something that makes this hike very tasking. Hiking it would be easy every season except summer; as there aren't
any springs on the mountain. There is only a small 30 mins section that is under the shade and thus the hike takes a big toll on you. Summiting the mountain on full snow coverage shouldn't be too hard although usage of crampons, ice axe and necessary equipment should be brought. Note that on the last part of the hike that is very steep use of the ice axe to help with the angle should be necessary. Skiing the beautiful north face of Zhreia is hard and filled with colours perfect for powder days. In spring summiting would be rather amazing as there are multiple creeks and canyons that would have running water after the snow melts.
What to Pack
Well, this is a long hike compared to others that I have done and posted; so what will you need to stand at the summit of Zhreia?
Considering the altitude, position, exposure and distance clothing is pretty standard.
- Wind shield jacket
- Warm pants
- Full face, or-and beanie
- Ski mask or sun glasses
- Good heavy boots or high end trail shoes
- 1.5L of water
- Food (pack one small snack per section and a bigger meal /toast etc./ for the summit)
- First aid (mainly migraine relif pills)
These are mainly essentials for this mountain, winter climbing requires just crampons and maybe a piolet.
Due to its geographic position the summit is exposed to high winds, cold temperatures and a lot of snow. Usually, after the warm and arid Greek summers, the mountain turns cold and arid until December and then turns back in April. Here
you can find the weather for the mountain.
The snowfall on the mountain starts usually late December and persists through the winter months. The best snow conditions (largest snowfall and best snowpack) would be during February or late January storms.
There shouldn't be any problem for summiting in any not to say all conditions, only on the saddle there are some steep points on the north, use a good GPS and you can summit even in crazy thick fog
You should consider the note above on the red tape section since this is a Natura 2000 area i wouldn't really recommend camping. You can camp and it isn't illegal but do not start a fire under the alpine zone and be careful when you light one.
There isn't any water anywhere on the mountain and camping kinda requires that so you should bring a considerable ammount of water with you. Also you wont find any branches to light a fire either but you shouldn't anyways.
Summit camp: This is the best camping spot; there is a small stone wall under the summit that is good enough for camping. Since this position is on the trail it offers good entry and exit but also great views. As mentioned below you should bring water all the way up here. (37.939458, 22.396058)
Cool Cave: Found this rock/cave while descending off trail, it offers good wind protection and very nice space that is enclosed and safe. Just off the road and at a good altitude. (37.934874, 22.398160)