A farewell to autumn. One of the last calm mornings.
Even though the transition from autumn to winter conditions was abrupt things have been stabilized from meteorological standpoint. The sunny and relatively warm days of early November gave place to cold and dry climatic conditions of early December. The first and only considerable (>40cm) snowfall took place in early December and since then the mountain has not received more snow. Snow-level dropped down to 1000m, but current conditions have given a rise of snow-level to about 1800m. Forecast models predict that similar conditions will prevail in the area until the end of December http://wxmaps.org/pix/prec4.html
, but let the Gods decide on how the winter is going to be like.
No matter what weather experts say Mount Olympus has already received three waves of snowfall. First one was in mid November. Wet snow that quickly turned into ice at the shady places of the mountain making up for a good albeit dangerous base layer. Second snowfall at the end of November accumulated 20cm of fresh and cold snow on the upper mountain and the last snowfall at the beginning of December took place under stormy conditions. High winds resulted in irregular accumulation (1m on the lee sides) that raised the avalanche danger to alarming levels. A week under high pressure system dominating Central Europe and the Balkans for the past week has made the east facing slopes safer.
The kick off for Petrostrouga refuge will be in the weekend 14/15th of December. For Christmas and New Years Petrostrouga refuge will be continuously open from December 20th to January 8th. Refuge Christos Kakkalos will be open from New Years Eve (January 31st to the 8th of January. Refuges Koromilia (above Dion) and Krevatia on the north side of the mountain are open during all weekends but further communication with refuge managers is recommended:
During the last autumn days a few fellow bikers from Bulgaria demonstrating a great dose of humility towards the natural environment enjoyed themselves with a climb/push to the Plateau of Muses, riding their bikes down the next day in a calm and empty from crowds mountain leaving no trace (Thanks Yasen) http://vimeo.com/78715194
Fellow mountaineer Giannis Beinas author of the ?Known ? Unknown Mount Olympus? (personal free translation?) has put up a 10 minute video that covers all seasons with all outdoor activities in the vicinity of Mount Olympus. After many years of wondering in the most secret places of the mountain with few friends and his camera the result is truly amazing (Congratulations) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYT7pvfz308
As the diary currently reads the official start of the winter season more snow has to be shown on the screen and in our minds. As more and more people are aspiring a winter ascent to the top of Mount Olympus the mountaineering aspect of Mount Olympus from the classic winter ascent route is edited in a nice way from Alex Kirkovski http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCrsEWBCOro
(Thanks a lot Alex), but more recently in addition to the long haul up Mount Olympus snow covered slopes and ridges people have started to equally enjoy the descent from the highest summits coloirs by means of skiing and snowboarding (Thanks AlexP) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmI9afY2D2c
The ever increasing amount of videos should not leave aside the art and relaxation that still images offer. In any case, photography gives more space to imagination and sometimes is a speechless story on its own. More winter photos from George Dimitriadis are used to conclude this update and leave space in the mind for more white days.
Best Wishes for High Spirits and White Mountains!