Synopsis: Winter 2010

The winter season is coming to an end in the Mountain of Gods, with spring conditions characterizing the lower and middle parts of the mountain, whereas winter conditions still exist on the upper mountain. A few days ago, on the upper mountain there was fresh snow while flowers blossom in the temperate zone between 600 and 1800 meters of elevation.

From a climate standpoint, the winter season was characterised by generally warm and wet conditions. Such conditions resulted in increased snow accumulations above 1800m of elevation, where in the lower parts there was relatively rapid meltdown of the snow especially in the south and west slopes in the weeks following each snowfall event, a result of the frequent southerly winds. In addition, southerly winds carried increased amounts of African dust, the subsequent deposition of the dust on the snow gave the mountain a colourful winter look. In between the warm events there were interventing cold outbursts from Siberia, creating identical conditions for climbing on the upper mountain. The temperature variations risen from the succession between dry / cold and wet / warm events resulted in increased avalanche and landslide activity.

The abrupt temperature variations resulted in increased mountaineering activity on the mountain, since the snowpack in the lower parts had either melted down or was hard packed, whereas on the higher mountain conditions were identical for skiing and climbing. With such conditions more that 120 made it to the summit of Mytikas from both the Louki (route from the Plateau of Muses) and from Skala.

Winter climbing and ski mountaineering activity were increased this winter as well. Many different routes were repeated on the north faces of Stefani, Skolio and Mytikas. Ski touring indicates also increasing activity with the most popular side being the west slopes of the mountain (starting poing the Military Camp from Elassona side) but a few teams also visited the Plateau of Muses skiing down steep slopes.

The most remarkable ski descent took place in the beginning of April when Austrian extreme skier Eva Walkner (www.evawalkner.com) together with fellow Austrian skier and base jumper Andy Razic, and George Klaoudatos skied down the coloir of Stefani together with some steep runs below the Throne of Zeus (Stefani). It seems that during every winter season more people are visiting the mountains high peaks, more people come to climb winter alpine routes and more people come either to ski tour or to ski down Mount Olympus Steep slopes!

Wishes for a fine summer with plenty and safe climbs!

The plateau of Muses in winter coating.

Climbing the Coloir of Mytikas, in perfect conditions.

One of the latest attempts to climb on the north face of Skolio.

Enjoying the view.

Eva Walkner skiing down Stefani coloir
Photo: © Ruedi Flueck