Mount Olympus experience

Who has never dreamed of climbing the mythical Mount Olympus?
We did it and we share with you this incredible experience.

First group picture from the last parking, before we started climbing.

After an early awakening, direction the bus station to catch the bus who goes to Litochoro, the closest city near Mount Olympus. From there, we walked 200 meters to go to the last parking, ‘’Myloi’’ (300 meters of altitude), and we met our other friends who came by car. At 9:30 AM, we took the last group picture and we started our first step to Priona.

No time to chill, the climb started directly between the trees and rushed into valleys of an amazing green. Half an hour after the beginning, we stopped for a welcome break to breath, drink and enjoy the view on the sea. Then, we walked for two hours and discovered the Priona river, super cold but with a unique colour. In this part, a lot of wood bridges crossed the river and each one offered a different landscape.

After four hours of walking, we arrived in front of a waterfall. Some people swam in the five-degrees water. It was so cold that we had this strange burning sensation! Really energized after this bath, we continued our way in the forest for one hour. Then, we finally arrived at Priona and took a well-deserved lunch. This first part of 9 kilometers and 750 meters of elevation gain was hard but the path was amazing and the nature unbelievable.

Landscape of the first valley

At 15 PM, we distributed chocolate and sugar to be ready to face the second part of the day: Priona to Refuge Spilios Agapitos. Quickly after the beginning, three different groups were formed according to the pace of each person. The landscapes changed, the trees were different, and we were discovering gradually the snowy mountains in the distance.

The view of the snowcapped mountains, when ascending.
Last minutes before the refuge, we needed to cross one snow part.

The climb was steeper and harder, the bodies started to be tired and the sun was still here. The last hour before the arrival in the refuge was super hard and the zigzag path endless. Only the mental allowed us to walk again and again. We crossed a snowy part and the refuge appeared a little higher, finally! I arrived there with the first group, followed by the second group just a few minutes later. We took off our shoes, stretched our legs and congratulated our friends for this day of nine hours of walking. When everyone was here, it was time to relax with some beers and pasta for dinner. We settled in the dormitory for 20 people and we fell asleep easily.

Sunrise from the refuge.

The second day, some people woke up to see the sunrise and started climbing early. The majority chose to wake up as late as possible, at 8 AM. After a good breakfast, we went to see Zeus in the upper part of Olympus. Since there was still a lot of snow, we chose to go to the 3rd peak, Skala at 2866 meters of altitude. At the beginning of the path, there were three snowy parts that were really slippery. After one hour of climbing, the trees disappeared and left room to stone and snow, which made the landscape completely untouched.

Only Filippo and I wanted to continue after the break, so we walked in direction to the top along the ridges with the cloud rising towards the summit. This part was really gruelling, as it was straight ahead with the precipice on one side and the snowy slope on the other side. At this moment, we thought just about the challenge and the goal that we could see some meters up.

The hardest part, where we can see one guy sliding in the background!

One part with a lot of snow was really dangerous and at this moment I felt a real fear because my shoes were not good (just city shoes of course to climb Olympus, super logical!) so I walked by planting my stick deep in the snow and crawling. After this part, it was easier to reach Skala in some minutes. The view was unique, with the landscape on the sea of course, but also on Greece and the Balkans in general. The snow was everywhere around us and Mytikas, the top of Olympus, just in front of us. We congratulated ourselves, spoke with other climbers, took some pictures and after several minutes, the clouds arrived and hid the view.

Five minutes after we arrived, we started to go down. We decided to get around the snowy part by the top because we were scared of falling. Even if it was better than the snow, each time we walked on the stones, the pebbles formed a landslide. After reaching a more secure path, we started to run and relax our bodies.

One of the two mountain goats that we saw on the way.

Suddenly, two mountain goats were waiting for us on the way. They climbed above us on our way and disappeared. This moment was unbelievable, as if Zeus had chosen to give us a reward for climbing his mountain. We continued to run until the refuge in a total fog. We took a little break for lunch and, half an hour after, continued to go down by running.

When we recognized the bridge who symbolizes the arrival in Priona, we were so excited and we couldn’t believe that we went down so fast, in only one hour (as opposed to three hours to go up!). After the bridge, surprise: all of our friends were still there and were drinking beers in a taverna. We were so happy to share our experience on the top and show our unique pictures. Some stretches, cold foot bath in a fountain and we hitchhiked until Litochoro to take the bus to the house.

At the end, fatigue was there, even though this weekend was wonderful.

Even if this weekend was hard physically, it was a unique experience and a good coming back to nature, especially for me who used to live in the middle of the forest! So good that I decided to go again the weekend after!

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Post Author: Justin Roche

Young French 21 year old, always optimistic, I am constantly looking for inspiration. Passionate about ecology, graphic communication, underground culture… I’m in charge of communication in a little organisation which organizes festival “La Fée Estival”.

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