Background....Too Many Bad Trip Reports!!
So I wanted to climb this mountain and read a bunch of trip reports on the internet before we left the States. They were SO misleading! Reading these reports, it made it sound like this was a brutal hike with limited chance of success.
Sure, weather can always be a factor, but c'mon...if you climb in summer odds are you'll have good weather if you can get out of bed early enough to get to the top of the mountain before noon!
Anyway, I hope that this trip report will provide all the details that are missing and spell it out in the most simple of terms for anyone who wants to climb this mountain.
While reading the details I'm providing below, keep these things in mind:
My experience level:
I've climbed the Upper Exum of the Grand Teton...that's the most technical I've gotten. I've climbed several other mountains that required ropes and crampons. I'm fairly confident in identifying the difficulty of different routes.
My fitness level:
I'm short and pudgy, but I am athletic. I did a 1/2 Ironman triathlon this spring. I finished in about 5 hrs. and 30 minutes. A long ways away from a great time, but good for a short pudgy dude! However, I haven't done any cardio work since then because I had been working on remodeling a house that we bought. I'd consider myself above average fitness level for the typical American, but for the people who frequent this site, I'd say I'm a bit below average.
The Route, hike times, and gear needed...
I took the standard route. Drove from Litochoro to Preonia, hiked from there to Refuge A. Stayed the night at the Refuge and left for the summit along the most common ascent route (E4) the next morning.
The sign at Preonia says 4.5K and 3.5 hours to Refuge A. My wife and I made it in 3 hours...and she was in a poor fitness condition at the time. I'm sure if I'd been hiking alone, 2 to 2.5 hours would have been very reasonable. I read a couple review that said that trekking poles were a "MUST HAVE". Whatever... Would the be nice - Sure. Are they necessary - Absolutely not! There were people making this hike that I didn't think would ever be able to make it....they did. It's not that terrible.
From the Refuge to the summit - The sign at the refuge says 2.5 hours to the top. I made it in 1 hour 45 minutes at a leisurely pace for me with several photo stops. Follow the sings that say "E4". When they end, follow the spray paint on the rocks. If you get lost, you're probably and idiot. If you're in bad shape, plan for 4 hours to the top. If you're a stud, 1 hour.
There is one section from the top of Skala down to the saddle between Skala and Mytikas that has some class 4 scrambling. Thats all it is. Some people made it sound scary. If you have any experience with exposure, you won't even notice it. If this is your first climb and have no experience with exposure...you might pee yourself a little....but only a little.
When I climbed and the gear I needed for weather...EARLY SEPTEMBER IS NOT TYPICALLY COLD!
We climbed the mountain on the 6th of September. I was under the impression that it could be raining, windy, and nasty weather so I had a beanie, a goretex jacket, smart wool, gloves...etc.
I needed none of that.
I was sweating my balls off on the hike from Preonia to Refuge A. The smartwool shirt was nice when we got there so I had something dry to wear...and I guess it got a tiny bit cool that evening.
The next morning I was drinking coffee and eating breakfast outside at 6:30 wearing a pair of shorts, flip-flops, and my smart wool shirt.....plenty warm.
Despite a cool breeze on the hike to the summit, I was still sweating. By the time I got to the summit, the shorts and mtn. hard wear shirt I was wearing was perfect.
Other Details....The Refuge
Yes, you need a reservation. You can do it by e-mail. The lady who runs the place is VERY prompt in her replies.
Telephone: (23520) 81800 or 81329
firstname.lastname@example.org (Maria Zolota)
You'll need to bring sheets. They have blankets and pillows, but no sheets.
Food and drink prices are reasonable. Yes, they have beer....thank God. Food is very tasty! Euros only.
Showers are cold only. If you have a sensitive tummy, buy the water otherwise you're just drinking melted snow water.
Refuge Seo and Refuge C are an easy hike from Mytikas if you come down the coulior and go left. There are some cool things to see if you go over that direction...like the hut on top of Prillas next to Refuge Seo.