The Mount Olympus Century. <br> From the Glory of first ascents to the buzz of first descents.

28-06-2013

The Mount Olympus Century.
From the Glory of first ascents to the buzz of first descents.

As happens with all symbolic and iconic mountains, evolution is the proper word characterizing the first century of mortals? presence on the trails, slopes and rock faces of Mount Olympus as well. 


Soon after the inaugural ascent of the mountain?s highest point, the summit of Mytikas there followed the first ascent of Stefani (the Throne of Zeus) from the local guide Christos Kakkalos (also present on the first ascent of Mytikas) and the Swiss alpinist Marcel Kurz. When all highest peaks of the mountain had been climbed, there appeared the renowned Italian alpinist Emilio Comici to establish the first rock routes on the east face of Stefani and the northeast flank of Mytikas.


During the following years many international alpinists arrived on Mount Olympus aiming for first ascents (i.e. Slovenians ? back then Yugoslavians - Lipovsek & Pipan, the German Demleitner and Huhn brothers, the Slovaks Kolar and Dubner, etc). First ascents of international and a few local climbers was great news to the Greek press during the 1960?s and 1970?s. As the climbing history of Mount Olympus kept evolving with the establishment of more serious and more aesthetic new climbing routes, the glory of the first ascents was disappeared for good from the eyes of the public as the highest peaks and the virgin walls of Mount Olympus had already been conquered and presented no interest to the press. During the same period the classic ascent routes to Mytikas were receiving thousands of visitors per season.


As new activities like ski mountaineering and mountain biking began flourishing in Greece during the last decade or so, an increasing amount of outdoor enthusiasts discovered the pleasure of descending on skis and mountain bikes instead of the painful descent on foot. As happened in many other cases Mount Olympus maintained its pioneering status among outdoor activities in Greece both in ski mountaineering (i.e. May the Gods Ski with You ? the movie) and very recently in downhill biking because of the very long descents.


Both aspects of descent that provide riders with an addictive buzz were epitomized this year along with Mount Olympus Jubilee celebration and are briefly summarized in the efforts of the DYNAFIT TEAM members to bike from the sea level, climb the east ridge of Mount Olympus (Goumarostalos ridge) to the very top of Mytikas and ski down in a few hours. When the snow melted, skiing was confined in narrow gullies and the trails were clear giving the Thessaloniki based ACTION BIKE CLUB a chance for a descent buzz. The Action Bike team members raised themselves to the height of Mount Olympus by carrying their heavy downhill bikes to the Plateau of Muses and to finally enjoy a 1900m descent along the trails of the Mythical Mountain in accordance with the invisible and unwritten ethics of the mountain world.    


Many Wishes for a great summer
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