A short account reflecting our experiences climbing Mytikas, the highest summit in the Olympus range in Greece in mid-May 2017.
There had been fresh snow fall a few days before we summited. The snowline, although there were patches lower, was at about 2200m. At the summit, snow depth was about 30cm.
Night time temperatures were around -2ºC at the refuge. Day time temperatures were above 0ºC.
The Normal route starts at the car park and café of Priònia (circa 1090masl), about 18km by road from Litochoro. If you don’t have your own car then a taxi from Litochoro is about 25 Euros. Alternatively there is a strenuous gorge walk up from Litochoro that signs tell you take will around fourand a half hours, but if you’re in good shape you can shave an hour or so from this. It does, however, add an extra 350-400m ascent to the net altitude gain. This is the international hiking trial E4, and is the same path you continue to take the majority of the way to the summit.
Taxi’s back from Priònia are readily available and there will most probably be one waiting for you on the way back.
The Normal Route
The path from Priònia up to Spilios Agapitos (Refuge A) is well trodden and rises fairly consistently to the refuge at 2100m. Allow 2-3 hours depending on fitness. From here you continue to follow the E4 path up to the false summit before Skala. The refuge to Summit Ridge took us around 1hr 45min.
From the false summit at around 2800m you traverse the summit ridge to Mytikas. In dry conditions, for any competent climber the ridge would be fairly straight forward, however with snow cover this is not to be under-estimated (as we did!). The crux, a short 40(ish) degree climb to the summit proper, is quite exposed and a fall here could have consequence. In these conditions a rope is certainly recommended. The whole ridge is bolted intermittently with sport climbing expansion bolts and hangers, so if attempting in similar conditions then a couple of quick draws and chord / maillon for the descent would not go amiss.
Provided protection is used on the ridge then there are few objective dangers on this route. Risk of rock fall is low.
We paid 3EUR each to camp outside Spilios Agapitos
, Refuge A (bring your alpine club card) and use their facilities. Cooking you own meals is prohibited within the national park, but this did not appear to be too much of a problem provided we were discreet about it.
The staff were very helpful both beforehand and whilst we were there. If you have queries on conditions, I would give them a call on (+30) 23520 81800. They also responded very promptly on their Facebook page.
In summer conditions personally I’d be happy without any technical gear, but this is dependent on experience and ability.
If there is snow cover I would certainly recommend crampons, a rope, harness, 2-3 quick draws and a little chord / maillon to leave behind on the decent. If I’m taking a rope I’d also always take a helmet, but this is personal preference.An ice axe would’ve been nice for the ridge, but not really needed. Poles were helpful.
If camping at the refuge then bring a good sleeping bag (and tent, in case that’s not obvious!)
There is a well equipped gear shop in Litochoro, 55Peaks
Brought to you by www.shotsatthemoon.com - Overland travels from Cornwall (UK) to Nepal. More climbing reports to follow.
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