Via Gingilos West

Page Type
Crete, Greece, Europe
Route Type:
Hiking, Scrambling
Spring, Summer, Fall
Time Required:
Half a day
Serious Scramble
Rock Difficulty:
Class 3

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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Via Gingilos West
Created On: Jun 24, 2007
Last Edited On: Jun 24, 2007


Gingilos seen during the descentGingilos seen from the Volakias Ascent Route

The normal route to Volakias runs across the western summit of its neighbour, Gingilos. Thus it shares the Gingilos Route completely, the description of which won't be repeated here. From the Gingilos western summit the route is trail-less, steep and scree-covered from which results a high danger of rockfall. The final ascent to Volakias is sparsely marked by cairns and leads through a labyrinth of limestone rocks and boulders. Orientation is the crux of this route.

Getting There

See the Volakias main page to see how you gan reach the trailhead at Xyloskalo. It pays to be early as otherwise the lot can be full due to the visitors to the Samaria Gorge.

Route Description

First stage - Getting to the Gingilos Western Summit

This part has been described here
Take care - the traverse to Volakias takes definitely more than the hour claimed there.
Between Gingilos and PsilafiBetween Gingilos and Psilafi

Second stage - descending from Gingilos

Gingilos' western summit has a little summit plateau at the south end of which the descend starts. Since there are not many marks for the descent, it is worthwhile to try to figure out the path from the top. It leads towards the saddle, which separates Gingilos from Volakias, a saddle, which is some 300m lower than the Gingilos western summit.

From the top you will see that the western part o Gingilos is made up from a different kind of rock than the stuff you are standing upon. In fact this darker rock in the west is very brittle and so it is worthwhile to descend as far east as possible and to cross over eastwards at the latest possible stage. There is no path to speak of though it is quite obvious that this slope is traversed quite often.
Between Volakias and GingilosBetween Gingilos and Volakias

Third Stage - Volakias Ascent

From the summit of Volakias a spur heads down towards the sadlle. Take the eastern side of this spur and soon you will see cairns which will lead you on the ridge itself. The climb of the mountain now is straightforward - though you might get lost among the boulders if you lose sight of the cairns which guide the way. About 100m beneath the summit you will reach a small plateau (or wide ledge if you want), from where the further route is difficult to see. Try to circumvent a steep face to the left (east) which will bring you to the next ledge. The regular route now climbs directly to the summit but you might as well turn west and use the west ridge. The latter is a bit exposed and more difficult to climb.
Gingilos, the Omalos Plain and the peninsulas Gramvoussa and RodopouGingilos, Omalos Plain, Gramvoussa and Rodopou

Fourth Stage - The Gingilos West Face Traverse

From Volakias return to the saddle via the way you came. Now climb up 20m or 30m and start to cross over the west face of Gingilos. There are cairns as well but we lost sight of the immediately. Try to keep your elevation - if forced to ascend or descend do the former. You'll be back on solid Gingilos dolomite shortly before you reach the saddle between the mountain and its neighbour Psilafi. Here you will find crater-like dolines through which you have to climb to reach the saddle. The rock is solid enough for good climbing but also sharp-edged. Take care not to hurt yourself on it. Once across the dolines you will find the Gingilos ascent route which (in reverse) will take you down to Xyloskalo again.
PsilafiPsilafi as seen after the climb out of one of the dolines

Essential Gear

Hiking Gear. Don't try to climb this mountain without thick-soled hiking boots! Water is essential in summer, but there is a spring on the route to Gingilos.

Via Gingilos West

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