Thursday, 19 February 2015

Climbing Mt Olympus

Climbing Mt Olympus

Mt Olympus 2918m is the highest mountain in Greece.  Although Olympus is a name familiar to everyone in the western world, very few know much about this mountain and even fewer have climbed this rocky peak.

Mt Olympus, Home of The Gods!

British based walking holiday company, Mountain Walking Holidays are now pleased to announce that they are including a walking trip to climb Mt Olympus in their programme for 2015.

Snow covers Olympus from November until late May making the exposed upper section tricky to cross. The rocky summit continues to delight everyone who makes the ascent as it did the ancient gods.

We meet at Thessaloniki airport, drive to Litochoro, where we will stay in guesthouse accommodation. The following day we walk high into the mountains, initially through ancient forest. We continue steeply up the mountainside to reach the spectacular Muses plateau, where we will spend the night. The refuge has dormitory accommodation, blankets and pillows, but you will need to carry a sheet sleeping bag and slippers or flip-flops.

Mytikas Summit from Skala
An early start will enable us to make a traverse of the mountain to reach Mytikas, the summit of Olympus at 2901m. This part of the climb can be difficult, involving some scrambling, so you will need a head for heights. If time and conditions allow, we will continue on to scale Skala at 2866m before making our descent down to one of the lower refuges.

The final day we walk through the spectacular Enipeas Gorge to return to Litochoro and a well earned celebratory meal.

The Olympus National park has been recognised as an “area of international importance for the environment of mankind”. It is dedicated to the protection of the natural habitat of plant and animal wildlife. You may spot wild animals such as goats, deer or the wild boar and eagles, or vultures. The slopes are particularly well known for their plants, which attract lots of butterflies.

Ariel view of Mt Olympus in winter
Temperatures in the mountains can be very variable, ranging from hot sun to wind and rain. The proximity to the sea give Mount Olympus a it is a Mediterranean climate, i.e. hot and dry in summer, but the mountain gets lots of rain and wind, so you will need to be prepared. Daytime temperatures are likely to be in the low 20’s centigrade. Sun screen and hats are essential as is windproof and waterproof clothing.

Mountain Walking Holidays are run by Jane Livingstone and Michael Hunt, both qualified as International Mountain Leaders.

Details of this Holiday and how to book are on the Mountain Walking Holidays website.