Ascent of Olympus on 2008-07-20

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Bob Packard
Date:Sunday, July 20, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:9570 ft / 2916 m

Ascent Trip Report

Olympus, 2918m, P2353m

Map: Anavasi Topo25 6.11 Mt Olympus (Double-sided) – 20m contours

Stats: 2000mH, 10mi

Time: 19-20 July 2008, 2h to Refuge A, 3h to Mytikas via Skolio and Skala, descent 5h.

Start: Prionia, E of summit. Elev 1084m

Route: from Litochoro village, follow “Olympus” signs to car park. Clear trail leads to Refuge A: no junctions noted. From Refuge, trail continues W, S, W then climbs ridge NW to Skala summit (2866m). The slightly lower Skolio (2911m, P93m) is a simple out and back from Skala. The route to Mytikas is clearly paint-marked, initially descending a gully immediately SE of Skala summit for a few m, then crossing easy slabs, keeping R of the crest. From the saddle, the paint marks lead up a rocky couloir, wind round a pinnacle then cross steepish slabby ground to the summit.

Difficulties: YDS 3. Trail is clear throughout, although there are several paths at the start of the Skala ridge: take path straight up ridge. The route from Skala to Mytikas is fairly exposed, especially descending from Mytikas. The rock is limestone: easy when dry although reportedly slippery in damp conditions. If continuing to Stefani (2909m), the descent is reported to be steep and exposed. The descent from Stefani’s summit block towards Mytikas is also reported as rather exposed.

Triangulation point: two visited: Skolio summit and Mytikas summit. Each is a column, octagonal in section, approx 40x40cm x 1.4m. Each has a Register in a box attached to the trig. The Mytikas trig also bears a plaque (dated 2006) on the side, and an additional survey Rivet set in concrete at its base.

Summit: 2918m Mytikas has a fine, compact rocky summit. Nearby to the N but across a big drop, is the slightly lower Stefani summit (looking very similar in height but given on as 2909m). 1km SW along the ridge is Skolio (2911m on summitpost).

Notes: For me, this was the best of the 5 Ultras climbed this week. Bob Packard and I met at Athens airport early that morning, travelled by Metro and bus to Terminal B (Liossion), then by the first (09:45) express bus to the Litochoro turn, where we caught a local bus into Litochoro village. Here we eventually found a helpful guest house (Papanikolau) who were willing to store some baggage, got a taxi to Prionia trailhead, and started hiking at 5 pm. Bob had phoned ahead to book beds at Refuge A, and was told we needed to be there by 8 pm latest. I was there by 7 but people were still arriving well after 8. The hut staff speak good English. We had a good meal there, setting off after breakfast the next morning, at 7pm. I got to Skala, went out to Skolio then met Bob back at Skala. We got to Mytikas about 10 a.m. Weather was sunny and dry, hence easy climbing, with views clear, although too hazy for anything very distant. About 50% of the hikers we saw went to Mytikas; the remainder stopped at Skala or visited the easier Skolio. On the descent we stopped at the refuge for food and to telephone for a taxi. The hut warden made the call for us but there was no reply. She promised to keep trying, but when we arrived at the trailhead (4pm) there was no taxi. We hitched a lift, luckily with a hiker from Katerini, who dropped us at Katerini train station. We got the intercity train to Thessaloniki, where we bought tickets for Sofia before checking into Hotel Rex where we were booked. This is rather basic but situated opposite (and slightly E of) the station. We were this nicely set up for climbing Musala in 2 days time. Using public transport was quite cheap, but nerve-wracking: probably easier to hire a car.

Our trip concluded a week later in southern Italy with Serra Dolcedorme

There is a set of photographs on
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6932 ft / 2111 m
    Extra Gain:459 ft / 139 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:via Refuge A and Skala
    Trailhead:From E: Prionias trailhead  3556 ft / 1083 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Hut Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 

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