Μια εβδομάδα πρίν την δεύτερη καραντίνα αποφασίσαμε να πάμε μια βόλτα στο Πήλιο, να δούμε τα φύλλα να αλλάζουν χρώμα και να ντύνουν τους δρόμους και τα καλντερίμμια με πορτοκαλί και κόκκινο. Φτάσαμε αργά το βράδυ στο Μούρεσι και αμέσως βάλαμε ξύλα στο τζάκι και φτιάξαμε ενα τσαγάκι να ζεσταθούμε. Την επόμενη μέρα ξυπνήσαμε με ήλιο και φανταστική μέρα. Φτιάξαμε τα πραγματά μας, πήραμε νερό, μπολάκι για τον Ίκαρο και την κάμερα και ξεκινήσαμε πρός Νταμούχαρι.
Σε τρείς μέρες κάναμε τρείς φανταστικές βόλτες στην ευρύτερη περιοχή του Μουρεσίου. Κατεβήκαμε στον Άγιο Ιωάννη, στην Νταμούχαρι, Τσαγκαράδα και Φακίστρα. Είδαμε καταρράκτες, πλούσιο δάσος, φοβερές παραλίες και πανέμορφα πετρώματα. Το καλύτερο όμως ήταν το δίκτυο μονοπατιών που υπάρχει μέσα απτό δάσος… τα καλντερίμια. Είναι ενα πολύ ιδιαίτερο στοιχείο, κάτι που δεν εχω δεί πουθενά αλλού στην Ελλάδα.
Ευτυχώς όλα τα μονοπάτια τα βρήκαμε πολύ εύκολα μέσω του WikiLoc όπου μας οδήγησε με GPS καθόλη τη διάρκεια των περιπάτων στα στενά καλντερίμια και μονοπάτια της περιοχής.
MT OLYMPUS – TO THE TOP
October 17th, 2020. Summer is slowly coming to an end. Winter is creeping in. It’s the last few weekends before the cold really hits us. No better time to climb the tallest peak in Greece.
We began from the Gortsia Parking area on the East side of the mountain, and made our way up to the Muses Plateau. On average it took about 6.5 hours, including a half hour stop at Petrostrouga Refuge to catch out breath and have a cup of tea.
The weather was incredible. Temperatures were in the mid 10s most of the day, so the hike was easy. We were informed that beds at the refuges had been restricted before even arriving, so we came prepared to sleep under the stars. Or in tents anyway.
After setting up basecamp right in the middle of the two refuges, we headed up to Apostolidis Refuge to grab a bight to eat and talk about the next day’s ascent to the peak with our lead guide Sakis Pitenis (Trekking Hellas Mt Olympus). The place was rammed with fellow hikers, climbers, adventurers and first time visitors. But once a plate of hot food got placed in front of my mouth the whole world disappeared and it was by far the best meal I’ve ever had.
We finished up and headed back to our tents for a chilly night’s sleep. 6am start the next day. Better get some rest. I tried. My sleeping bag was a little less than ideal. My toes felt like they were about to fall off. Couldn’t get much sleep but as soon as the alarm went off I happily got up to move around and warm up somehow.
Off to the beginning of the Louki of Mytikas. The long, narrow and steep corridor leading up to the peak of the mountain, at 2918m. I had only heard of this section of the ascent. And I’m no experienced climber. But somehow I didn’t get too scared. Maybe it was the lack of sleep. The sun began to shine on the rocky surface leading up to the top, and I couldn’t wait to touch them with my bare hands to warm up my fingers and toes.
Sakis and Tasos from Trekking Hellas led the way for our group. Some friends went up with Nikos, Babis and Stergios from WildTrek Greece. And just like doing a tour of a busy museum, we crossed paths on the way up and down, briefly, but long enough to exchange smiles and take a couple photos.
The peak was lit perfectly by the morning sun, so it was a welcome break from the chilly ascent. It felt good to be up there, a really nice reward after a tough hike up carrying tents and sleeping bags the previous day, and a bad night’s sleep. None of that mattered though. I tried to take in the view along the crystal clear horizon, the sea on one side and the open plains to the West. And that morning light. I know I mentioned that already. But damn it just made everything look so damn good. A great moment. A few more minutes to take photos and hug your buddies, before heading back down the rocky chute.
The descent seemed like an impossible task. It was super steep and we already knew how careful you had to be going up. And there were more groups making their way up at the same time. Like trying to run down a two way escalator in the Tokyo Metro. But once we got going it wasn’t actually that bad. You pick up a rhythm and before you know it each new step was easier than the one before. Piece of cake. Even for Andreas who was scared of heights. He got to the top and back down without even breaking a sweat.
We got back to Apostolidis Refuge for some breakfast and coffee with the rest of the group who decided not to come to the top with us. We could see they were still tired, some hadn’t slept well at all. Others still tired from the previous day’s hike. But we busted in with radiating smiles and tons of energy. It was contagious.
Time to leave. We made our way back to camp. Took our last few photos in the warm sun. Packed our tents and strapped up our bags, and headed down for another 6 hour hike. It was hard on the knees. And the last few kilometers felt like torture. But that moment you see your car parked at the bottom of the road is golden. We got this second wave of energy as we dropped our bags into our cars and said our goodbyes before heading back home. 2 days went by pretty fast. It felt like more, but I was also happy to head back to Athens, with a quick pit stop at the Thermopylae hot springs of course.
Thanks to everyone who came! And congratulations to each and every one of you for outdoing yourselves! Hopefully it’s not the last time we see each other on the mountain of the gods.
Join us on an Epic Adventure to the mountain of the Gods!
The Trip includes:
- 2 nights accommodation in the KEOAX Refuge
- 2 days of guided splitboarding / touring on Mt Olympus by Trekking Hellas Mt Olympus
- Avalanche and Mountain Safety Seminar by Akis Parousis
- Lift Passes to use the KEOAX lifts
- Avalanche Gear Rental (Beacon, Probe, Shovel)
- Photos and Video
Does NOT Include:
- Equipment Rental (Splitboard, Skins, Batons) – If you need to rent equipment we recommend our partners MicroXtreme and Splitboard.gr.
- Food and Drinks (Food at KEOAX usually includes Soup and traditional plates, about 30% cheaper than a Taverna).
Friday 21/2 … 20:00 – Arrival at KEOAX Military Base // Briefing and Equipment Check.
Saturday 22/2 … 7:30 – Breakfast, Morning meeting
9:00 – Avalanche Seminar: Snow Profile, Beacon use, Search and Rescue Techniques.
12:30 – Backcountry Ascent: Equipment check, Ascent techniques, Backcountry Descent.
Sunday 23/2 … 7:30 – Breakfast, Morning meeting
9:00 – Ascent to Agios Antonios Peak (2817m) and descent to the Ski area base (1900m). If time permits we will also explore the unmarked area around the KEOAX Lift area for some more backcountry riding.
18:00 – Departure
WE RECOMMEND YOU BRING:
- Water bottle
- Backpack with carrying straps
- Two sets of gloves
- Extra socks
- Breathable Thermal Layers
- Sun Glasses / Goggles
- Light Sleeping Bag
To Register for the Mt Olympus Splitboard Camp 2020 please email us at:
Registrations accepted until February 10th.
Minimum Participation 8px
It was only at the last minute that we spotted the wild horses by the side of the road. Enough to make an epic ride down the newly paved hairpins of Mount Olympus even more awesome…
While Freeboarding has been around for a while now, it’s never really grabbed mainstream attention, for a variety of reasons depending on who you talk to. The purists say it’s too much like snowboarding and not similar enough to downhill skating, where higher speeds and full body participation play a major role in defining the sport. Others say it’s just a style thing. Whatever your cup of tea might look like, I can only tell you what it felt like while I filmed Lazaro sliding down the powder pavement, around the corners and precariously close to the edge of the turns. Hanging out the side of the car, one hand was on the roof rack while the other one holding the camera had gone completely numb from the cold. Still, watching Lazaro switch between regular and goofy, adjusting his speed coming into the hairpins, the whole while keeping his balance perfectly aligned with the akward looking wheel setup was fascinating. Admittedly I had never filmed it before, and probably only seen a freeboard up close a couple of times, so there was a uniqueness factor to the whole thing, but throw the scenery and the horses into the mix and my heart was melting by the time my fingers regained feeling later on in the refuge.
If you freeboard in Greece or want to get started talk to the boys from NGR (North Greece Riders) for info on spots, boards and maybe a few tips.
This video was filmed on the West side of Mount Olympus by the KEOAX military ski facility.
Special thanks to Lazaros Kotakidis for shredding and Giannis Giannopoulos for the nifty driving skills.
Mount Olympus Splitboarding Camp 2019 was a great introduction to both splitboarding and mountain safety. Over two days we experienced a little bit of everything. From a sprinkle of fresh snow to blue skies and from spring slush to icy climbs. Ideal conditions for getting used to the equipment and gaining an appreciation of the unpredictability of the mountains.
Day 1 was all about getting to know the boards, going through ascent techniques like proper strides and kick turns, using batons and changing our bindings to fit the slope. We also went through a brief avalanche equipment training course just to get a feel for the reality of avalanche danger. *This is not a certified avalanche safety course – If anyone out there wants to get involved in ski mountaineering or splitboarding we strongly recommend attending an official mountain safety course.
We got to Migotzidis Refuge at the top of the KEOAX ski lift area, currently used by the military for training purposes, but is also open to the public for a small fee on select days throughout the year. After a quick snack we headed back down through the Xero-un-lucky Gully down to the base near the cars. On the way we stopped to do a couple of avalanche scenarios with the team, and dig a profile to explain more about snow layers.
Day 2 – The target was to reach the second tallest peak in Greece – Skolio 2,911m. Due to icy conditions and an increase in wind at higher altitudes however, we stopped short of Agios Antonios Refuge and returned down the same route as the day before. Playing it safe on the mountain should always be number one priority, and turning back was an important lesson in mountaineering, not to be underestimated.
The team arrived back at Olympus Lodge Hostel safe and sound and with big smiles on everyones faces. Greece has an incredible potential for ski mountaineering and splitboarding, with an almost endless mountainous terrain, even on the islands, it’s a blank canvas with plenty left to discover.
Thanks to Pitenis Siokas and Gerasimos Avramidis for the valuable lessons on safety and risk management, MicroXtreme for the rental boards and Splitboard.gr for the extra rental boards, Olympus Lodge for keeping us warm and fed, and Odyssey Campers for the extra wheels.
If you’re interested in joining next year’s Splitboard camps let us know by sending us a message. If you’re interested in venturing up into the mountains on your own make sure you have the right gear, and know how to use it. We recommend attending an official avalanche safety course before going out there without a guide. Play safe. Have fun.
Finally, special thanks to everyone who made our first Splitboard Camp one of the best things we’ve done all winter! You guys (and girl) rock!
The first official Igloo Experience in Greece couldn’t have been a better meeting for aspiring eskimos! Igloos, Snowboards, kids, dogs, food by the fire and plenty of snow made this event one to remember. Wether you had lived in n ice cave in Siberia or had never spent a night out in nature these two days of outdoor living in Vasilitsa turned everyone into certified ice architects. Getting to snowboard down one of our four different jump lines was just the icing on the cake. Choosing wether to go over the fireplace or through the ice palace was the only difficult decision you had to make all weekend.
Our Igloo building seminar helped everyone produce some amazing results. From the small two person igloos to the fortress like structures big enough to host a party in, igloos just kept popping up all over the place. We learned how to cut blocks, stack them to create a dome, and finish off the interior to make it nice and smooth. With the help of hot rocks from the fireplace everyone managed to have a good night’s sleep and wake up energised for an epic snowboarding session the next day.
Congratulations to all Snowmen and Snow-women for building one of Greece’s coolest little villages ever! #vasilitsamanicsidevillage
Special thanks to Fuit Art Cafe for sponsoring the event, and to the Fasolia, Zografos and Avramidis families for joining us in the festivities.
If you’re interested in joining next year’s Igloo Experience send us an email or message us on Instagram or Facebook.
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Take a Virtual 360 Degree Tour of the Village in the video below:
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Late in the winter of 2018, a handful of wandering snowboarders decided to establish the first ever igloo village in Greece, on Mt Vasilitsa in the Pindos Mountain range. After 2 weeks of abstract weather shifts, bear and fox visits and lots of burnt snowboard boots, this nomadic group of filthy animals was left with nothing but soaking socks and swollen faces. Oh… and good times.
In late November (2017) Katerina and the Greece Has Soul team hatched a plan to go to VIKOS GORGE to perform an aerial dance. It would be the result of a wish of Katerina’s – broadcast on live television earlier that autumn. Turns out the people from the Zagori Excellence Network (ZEN) had their eyes peeled when Katerina made the announcement. So they called us in.
With snow all over Greece and strong northerlies bringing in some super low temps, we decided to kick off the season with a little home shred. For Athenians that usually means Parnasso or Kalavrita, but the truth is Athens has a much closer snowy spot. PARNITHA. Home to the former king’s estate, red deer, an archaic casino and a few decent snowflakes a year.
The last minute crew assembled in Athens and we headed up early. Hill Bill, Iason and I (Themi) parked the car just past the refuge and went for our inaugural run, from the top antenna base down to the refuge. It was Christmas eve so the mountain was more full than I’d ever seen it before. Families playing in the snow, lots of hikers and runners. Super cool to see it so busy. We kept walking up to the very top, strapped in and made our way through the thick trees.
After a half hour or so of trying to find our way through the forest, with lots of tight turns and some shallow rocky presents along here and there, we got back to the refuge. No day would be complete without a little jib sesh.
Night fell – hot chocolates and a gentle breeze all the way home…