Following an exceptionally good September from a weather standpoint, October has arrived as usual with a cold spell, reminding to everyone (especially those who are either visiting or inhabiting the upper mountain) that the summer period has gone for good. Minimal precipitation and relatively high temperatures during mid and late September have given place to below zero night temperatures, more-intense precipitation and the appearance of the first snowflakes.
When Stefani gets shadowy and cold,
and fingers and toes get numb
it?s time for Olympus climbing to move at lower elevations?
(Photo: Mike Styllas)
The weather reality has caused a halt to all climbing activities on the upper mountain due to excessive cold and the disappearance of sunlight from the north faces of Skolio, Mytikas, whereas Stefani east face gets the sun only for a few hours.
However, Mount Olympus has still to offer a variety of options for climbing in the lower elevations, where two newly established (Krevatia & Petrostrouga) and an older but very classic (Zilnia) crag do exist. The lower crags contemplated by the higher climbing faces of Stefani, Skolio and Mytikas make Mount Olympus a complete in terms of type of climbing (sport, traditional, aid, alpine, mixed, ice) year-round climbing destination.
A new sport climbing crag has been established in the vicinity of Petrostrouga refuge. It takes about half an hour walking from the refuge to the crag where 6 spot climbing routes have been put up their difficulty ranging between 5c and 6b. All routes are equipped with bolts and the belays are equipped with rings so that top-rope is possible. For climbing in Petrostrouga crag you will need 8 quick draws, 2 slings a single rope and belay device.
Petrostrouga crag. Routes 1 & 2 (Photo: Vangelis Symvoulidids - Hellenic Rescue Team)
Petrostrouga crag. Routes 3 ? 6 (Photo: Vangelis Symvoulidids - Hellenic Rescue Team)
For more information contact Hellenic Rescue Team (www.hrt.org.gr
) who is also in charge of Petrostrouga refuge (http://www.olympus-climbing.gr/index.php?page=refuges&id=4
Krevatia refuge crag
Krevatia crag. Early winter sport climbing with a view to the massive north face of Profitis Ilias. (Photo: Christos Tsoutsias)
The rock face of Zilnia from Ennipeas River (Photo: Giannis Beinas)
One the most historical climbing areas in northern Greece. It was initially discovered in the mid 1960?s from Thessaloniki climbers in their effort to find a place for alpine climbing during the winter months. Today in Zilnia crag there exists a great variety of multi pitch routes involving all types of climbing (traditional, aid, sport) with route lengths ranging between 120 and 300m and difficulties ranging from UIAA IV ? VIII+, while aid difficulties range between A1 (Eagles ridge, Kopsi ton Aeton) to A4 (Beast in the Cage, To Thirio sto Klouvi tou). Its low elevation and south facing aspect makes it climbable year round (except the hot summer months), while the variety of climbing makes Zilnia a very good school for future alpine projects.
More info at: http://www.routes.gr/?Page=en/Climbing/Fields/Olympos-Zilnia
Zilnia crag from Litochoro main square during winter. (Photo: Mike Styllas)