Ascent of Volakias on 2012-04-03

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Andrew Tibbetts
Date:Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Elevation:2115 m / 6942 ft

Ascent Trip Report

We climbed this the day after Pachnes. In April it is a fine alpine traverse, especially if the south top is included.

Prominence 868m according to Jonathan de Ferranti.

From Xyloskalo, the Samaria gorge trailhead, a trail heads SW (signposted Gigilos) from N35.30774 E23.91762 (1243m) zigzagging up an eroded spur. Beyond is a level ridge, with fine views of Gigilos' cliffs and down into the gorge. Today the ridge is plastered in firm snow (apparently there was a big dump of snow 3 weeks ago which closed the roads) and we fit crampons. We climb the snow ridge, quite steep in places, following a line of fence posts until they turn L (N35.29531 E23.90428, 1876m): this is the descent to the col. The first part is scree but we keep our crampons on as we are soon back on steep snow, to 50 deg in places; we use rock "islands" in places; sometimes we scramble down the rock itself. It is probably YDS 2 in summer although it feels like PD- in winter conditions.

At the col (N35.29408 E23.90898, 1700m GPS) we remove crampons and enjoy 150m of scrambling (YDS 2+) on nice clean limestone. Then hardened snow, and the crampons go back on again. The highest point we record on Gingelos is 1977m, compared with the mapped and signposted 2080m. We don't visit the summit with the cross which may be slightly higher than the snow dome we are standing on (N35.29448 E23.91698), but Gigilos viewed from Volakias is clearly much lower and there is evidently an error in the mapped elevation.

Crampons off again and we descend the broad stony ridge to the Gigilos saddle (N35.29161 E23.91854, 1833m GPS so it's about P144m) then scramble up Volakias (YDS 2+) until we reach the snowfield, then we crampon up to the summit (N35.28809 E23.92791, 2104m, horizontal accuracy 3m), snow, no visible feature). The weather is excellent and the view rather fine, taking in Pachnes, the gorge and the coast.

Volakias has a south top which looks similar in height and has a 2100m contour, so we decide to give it a try. The connecting ridge is quite tricky with some scrambling and snow to about 55 deg, felt like PD. There is some impressive cornicing at the south end. Having arrived (N35.28386 E23.92920, 2095m horizontal accuracy 2m, snow, no feature), we think the north summit probably is higher by about 5m and the GPS supports this.

We're back at the N summit at 12:15. Keeping our crampons on we make a nice descent on steepish snow, keeping just R of the ridge. Back at the col the crampons come off again and we make an ascending traverse of the SW face of Gigilos, with some easy scrambling and softish snow patches. Then we descend to the col and climb back up to the main ridge, quite easy now the snow is soft. We refit crampons for the steep part of the descent to the trailhead, which faces NE and is still a little icy.

After a late lunch we drive west and climb Dikaios.

Volakias photo album
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1532 m / 5029 ft
    Elevation Loss:1532 m / 5029 ft
    Distance:12 km / 7.5 mi
    Grade/Class:PD- / PD
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1243 m / 4078 ft
    Extra Loss:370 m / 1214 ft
    Distance:6 km / 3.7 mi
    Route:NW ridge
    Trailhead:Xyloskalo  1242 m / 4078 ft
    Time Up:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1162 m / 3815 ft
    Extra Gain:289 m / 951 ft
    Distance:6 km / 3.7 mi
    Route:NW ridge
    Trailhead:Xyloskalo  1242 m / 4078 ft
    Time Down:2 Hours 45 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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