One of Greece's highest and most beautiful mountains and one of few with a true alpine profile. Located west of Giona
, it towers above Athanasios Diakos village, which took the name of the hero of the Revolution against the Turkish occupation, who is said to have been born there (even though citizens of Artotina, on the west side of the mountain claim that he was born in their village). It has limestone composition (as most Greek mountains) and has a big water capacity which supplies Evinos and Mornos rivers (the latter is the main source of water for Athens).
Some of the first high grade ice/mixed routes in Greece were opened here. Most mountaineering courses include Vardousia in their schedule. The wide variety of route grades, easy access and comfortable accommodation make it a hot destination for winter trips. There are also less travelled routes, which provide a feeling of isolation.
The approach is common with that to Giona
up to a point.
From Athens take Highway E75 (N1) North towards Lamia (from the airport take ATTIKI ODOS get in E75 through exit E8). Get off the E75 at Bralos - Amfissa exit (202nd km) and follow the signs to Pavliani
From Pavliani follow the signs to Athanasios Diakos (a.k.a. Ano Mousounitsa, ~25km from Pavliani). Continue straight at the junction leading to Kaloskopi (where you would turn left if going to Giona
) towards Stromi, Mousounitsa, At. Diakos. WARNING!!! In the winter this road can be very dangerous because of ice. Make sure you have snow chains and drive slow.
Buses are not very frequent (1-2 buses per day in the winter).
No fees or permits required.
When To Climb
Climbing is possible all around the year, but summer is not the best time, even though you can drive all the way up to the huts (dirt road in poor condition).
In the winter the route to the huts is an easy 3h30' trek. The route from there to the peak however involves a 45º-47º (depending on the snow level) coloir, which when iced up requires some experience in winter mountaineering.
As in most Greek mountains, its ok to camp above the tree line.
There are two mountain huts, relatively close to each other.
The first in Pitimaliko (1750m) belongs to the Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing
. It has been renovated & expanded recently (sleeps 50-60) and provides full services (water, food, toilet and shower). It is open on weekends around the year.
The second is in Meterizia (1900m) and belongs to P.O.A.
. It is smaller (sleeps 14) with basic facilities and you have to make arrangements to get the keys from P.O.A.
Editions Map 2.3: "Giona
, Oeta, Vardoussia", Topo 50 series in 1:50.000 scale.
The maps from the magazine Korfes in issues 65 (containing the main peak & the huts), 66, 68 can be obtained through E.O.S.Acharnon club
Maps of the Hellenic Military Geographical Service
might be difficult for foreigners to obtain.
- Pezoporikos Omilos Athinon
(Athens Hiking Club). The club that owns and maintains the refuge. The site is in Greek, so if you don't speak Greek you can contact them by mail
- Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing
The site is under construction, not much info, English/Greek version available.
One of the best sites about Greek mountains. Greek / English / German texts
- Climbing routes on Greek mountains
Very good site about rock/ice/snow routes in Greece. Only in Greek, I'm afraid. I will ask the guys if they can get in the trouble of translating the texts. Untill then you can have a look at the topos and ask me to translate anything you find interesting.