Ascent of Óros Parnassos on 2011-04-19

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Andrew Tibbetts
Date:Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Óros Parnassos
    Elevation:2454 m / 8054 ft

Ascent Trip Report

We climbed this peak the day after Óros Dírfis and Ptoon Oros. We stopped for an evening meal at Arachova then slept a little higher, near Kalyvia – anticipating correctly that the trailhead itself would not be a friendly place to spend a night.

Summit day was long and tough due to deep fresh snow, white-out conditions and the summit waypoint we were using (from Peakbagger) being 1.7 km southwest of the summit! We left the icy parking lot, optimistic and determined, with GPS, Petter Bjorstad’s (good weather) directions, and a (wrong) summit waypoint in the GPS. In 10 metre visibility we found our way up to the ski school, from there found a ski lift which we followed to its top. We then found a hut at the top of another ski lift, then, after a few failed attempts, found our way to the Peakbagger waypoint. It was 100m lower than expected and we belatedly checked Petter’s report and found we were in completely the wrong place. The correct co-ordinates were belatedly input to the GPS (in hindsight this error should have been picked up before we started but I had never known a PB waypoint to be significantly wrong before).

Still optimistic and with plenty of time, we headed across the plateau, now in the right direction, reaching another summit, N38.52944 E22.61025, 2440m – much closer to the expected summit elevation but still 1.3km away. Still no visibility, but it soon became apparent there was no direct route – this is steep complex terrain. We ploughed back through the deep snow to locate a waypoint I had taken earlier, close to the saddle Petter mentions. After a couple more unsuccessful attempts, we finally found the route down into the basin then up an (endless) steep slope of deep snow, arriving tired and a little shellshocked at the corniced summit fully 7 hours after starting out! The clouds parted briefly – this is indeed steep and very impressive terrain. I was amazed we somehow found our way here with less than 20m visibility all the way. Now with a GPS track and in places our footsteps to follow, we were down again in 2 hours. The cloud had lifted a little: we could see the ski centre and the final descent. The car park was now completely ice-free with conditions clearly warmer than this morning.

For anyone else unlucky or foolish enough to encounter white-out conditions here are some waypoints:
Lower parking lot (P3): N38.55135 E22.58023, 1779m (the Satnav got us here OK)
Foot of ski lift, N38.54758 E22.58879, 1948m
Top of Piste 3 (hut), N38.53904 E22.59908, 2234m
Saddle, N38.53587 E22.60563, 2280m (from here descend NE for 100m then head for summit)
Liakoura summit, N38.53506 E22.62244, 2456m

We then headed northwest for our next Ultra, Óros Giona (Piramidha) , a little higher than today’s summit. We anticipated another tough snowy climb – we were not wrong...
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1123 m / 3693 ft
    Elevation Loss:1123 m / 3693 ft
    Distance:15.6 km / 9.7 mi
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, White-out
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:974 m / 3201 ft
    Extra Loss:299 m / 984 ft
    Distance:11.3 km / 7 mi
    Route:from Northwest
    Trailhead:Kellaria ski centre  1779 m / 5837 ft
    Time Up:7 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:824 m / 2709 ft
    Extra Gain:149 m / 492 ft
    Distance:4.2 km / 2.6 mi
    Trailhead:Kellaria ski centre  1779 m / 5837 ft
    Time Down:2 Hours 

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