Refuge Christos Kakkalos Opening & Update on the snow conditions of the trails

What happened in the winter?

The winter season 2018/2019 came in delayed, but then stayed with us for the long run. After the first heavy snowfall in late November, big successive snowstorms roared through north Greece and the Aegean Sea region releasing large amounts of snow in the mountains of Greece. Cold was also a reality for the winter months from January until late April, and for most of the spring the conditions were favorable for alpinism and ski touring. The release of large valley avalanches from the steep upper slopes of Mount Olympus, followed the heavy snowfalls, when air temperatures climbed fast above the seasonal values.

The wintery view from the summit of Mount Olympus, Mytikas towering 2918m above the Aegean Sea,
with Ossa (Kissavos) and Pelion mountains in the background (Photo 
Mike Styllas).

Snow conditions of the main trails of Mount Olympus

Compared to last year, Mount Olympus still holds lots of snow, especially on the north facing slopes and in the couloirs of the east side facing the Aegean Sea. The crossing of these snow-filled couloirs needs considerable attention and the use of proper gear: ice axe at all times and crampons in the early morning and evening hours.

Panoramic view of Mount Olympus main summits indicative of the current conditions.
The use of ice axe and crampons is highly recommended when crossing the snow-filled couloirs,
or traversing the long snow-covered slopes (Photo 
 Mike Styllas).

At present, the route from Prionia to Spilios Agapitos refuge is free of snow for the most part, but a wide snow filled valley has to be crossed before the refuge. Above refuge Spilios Agapitos on the way to the summits of Skala, Skolio and Agios Antonios, several snowfields have to be crossed.  The two trails of “Kofto” and “Zonaria” that lead from Spilios Agapitos refuge towards the Plateau of Muses are covered with snow for long stretches. “Kofto” trail currently contains snow in all the couloirs that come down from the mountain and cross the trail, while “Zonaria” trail is almost entirely blocked with snow, a few hundred meters the junction with the E4 trail. Prior to any ascend in search for information on conditions and refuge bookings, consult with the refuge manager Mrs. Maria Zolota (+30 23520 81800, zolotam@hol.gr).

Access to the Plateau of Muses & refuge Christos Kakkalos

The safest route for ascending to the Plateau of Muses is from Gortsia. The route is snow free until Petrostrouga refuge, but 1 km above the refuge one has to traverse on snow for long sections. The most direct route of “Dereki” that leads from Petrostrouga refuge to the summit of Skourta is currently free of snow and comprises the best solution. The ridge of Laimos is partly covered with snow, which is melting fast. Once start crossing the ridge of Laimos, follow the summer trail where possible.

The ridge of Laimos is still partly covered with snow,
which is expected to melt fast within the next two weeks (Photo ©
 Mike Styllas).

A more demanding and technical alternative is trail of “Gomarostalos” that starts from the parking of Prionia and leads directly to the Plateau of Muses and to refuge Christos Kakkalos. The last part of the trail is equipped with fixed ropes. Both trails are nicely illustrated on the winter map provided by Route Maps.

The trails of “Gomarostalos” starting from Prionia parking and “Dereki” starting from Gortsia parking provide the safest, free of snow ascend to the Plateau of Muses and refuge Christos Kakkalos (Map provided by Route Maps).

If you seek more information about the other hiking routes of Mount Olympus, you can find the Mount Olympus Hiking Map in the following address: http://bit.do/olympus_map

Refuge Christos Kakkalos Summer-Fall Season 2019 

After a smooth winter season, refuge Christos Kakkalos is commencing its summer – fall season on Saturday May 31st. Reservations re made upon request and with the deposit of the sleeping fee (13€/person, or 11€/person for valid members with an UIAA alpine club membership) through our Contact Form (https://www.olympus-climbing.gr/index.php?page=contact&id=9)

Follow us on InstagramYou can follow us on Instagram for more visual illustrations of how our life on Mount Olympus has been over the last 15 years (https://www.instagram.com/refuge_ch.kakalos_2648m/)

Our Best Wishes for a Nice Summer Season to all the Mountain Lovers,
The Refuge Ch. Kakkalos Team