Route overview: the north-eastern route is to the far right
The route along the long east ridge of the north-eastern summit of Kastro can be considered as its normal route. It certainly is the most often used one, since the alpine branch of the European long distance trekking trail E4 runs along the greatest part of it. Thanks to the poles which have been set up for the trekking trail orientation is not impossible but still pretty tough. I can only warn you from climbing this route in rocky conditions. It is hard enough to find in fine weather!
The character of the route is a rocky scramble. While the very first part of it runs along a dirt road which circles the Oropedia Niatos plain, the main part is quite serious. The main problem is not the difficulty of the climb but the sharped edged rock beneath your feet. Rock hopping of the finest degree which will only get more tiring during descent. The route is quite open, so that you can enjoy fine views across the eastern part of the island.
The route starts near the Tavri Hut. You find a description on the Kastro main page.
Grias Soros and Agio Pnavma as seen from the north-eastern ridge
- Start altitude: 1100m
- Summit altitude: 2218m
- Prevailing exposure: N and S
- Type: 4h one way
- Protection: None
Effort: 1100m elevation gain
Power: 2 - Long and tiring
Psyche: 2 - Some exposed sections on the ridge
Orientation: 2 - Manageable thanks to the E4 poles. Don't go in fog!
From the small chapel near the Tavri hut follow the dirt road further upwards. After some 15min you'll reach a little col with a beautiful view across the Oropedia Niatos plain towards Kastro. The road circles the plain on its western side. You can cut it short by walking straight through the plateau. Take care, however to regain it before it leaves the plain again. Where it does, it climbs for several metres and reaches a second saddle, from which you have to descend a few metres until you reach the first of the E4 poles.
Leave the road here and follow the poles. Easier said than done since the poles are placed at somewhat large distances (approx. 500m) and the first part of the climb is rather steep. Here you still find signs of a path but make sure that you don't follow goat tracks! The steep part has some serious scrambling - you might be forced to use both your hands. It ends in a (very) small plateau, already between the two east ridges which head down from the Kastro summits.
Cross this plain (look for poles) northward and climb another steep slope to attain the east ridge of the north-eastern summit. This slope climb again is only scarcely marked and there are several possible paths across and to the top of it. You'll reach the east ridge in a place where there is a little lookout balcony - I'd recommend to take a break here.
Now you have to follow the east ridge upwards - orientation is no problem anymore, and still E4 poles guide the way. There are several very steep sections, some moderately exposed parts - the whole climb is not difficult but extremely tiring. About 200m beneath the north-eastern summit the E4 poles turn left to descend into one of the many valleys. Stay on the ridge and follow it to its high poin, the north-eastern summit. Our guidebook advised us to cross the southern slopes of this summit and not to climb it which turned out not to be a good idea. The slope is very steep and the rock very brittle, resulting in lots of slipping and sliding. Moreover, we ended up in a gully, which we had to climb to reach the saddle between the two summits. The route acros the north-eastern summit looked far easier...
From the saddle the remaining climb is relatively easy, a short scramble along the north ridge of the main summit, which gets shallower as you reach the top of the mountain. The latter turns out to be a large plateau with formidable views all around the island.
Essential GearTrekking Boots - thick soled ones - and water. There is no source along the way and - especially in summer - the climb can be very hot.