Taygetos, is a mountain range in the Peloponnese peninsula in Southern Greece. The highest mountain of the range is Mount Taygetus, also known as the “Profitis Ilias”, or “Prophet Elias”. The name is one of the oldest recorded in Europe, appearing in the Odyssey. In classical mythology, it was associated with the nymph Taygete. During Byzantine times and up until the 19th century, the mountain was also known as Pentadaktylos.
Driving on the highway that leads to the city of Sparti (Sparta, the city of the 300), the view of the mountain is overwhelming. The snowy peaks makes it even more special. After a short break for an early morning coffee in the suburbs of Sparti, we took the road towards the Magganiari Springs. From Magganiari Springs we have been on trail until the main refuge of the Taygetos Mountain. The refuge in the winter remains closed but by arrangements can be arranged to be open for mountaineers and climbers.
Once arrived in the refuge, we have seen the signs of several paths. Our goal was to reach the top of the mountain, the peak known as Profitis Ilias.
From the refuge towards the peak is a about 2 hours and 30 min walk and climb and there is a well kept path with many signs. The first part of the route was quite dry, but as long we were going higher we had to walk on the snow.
At some point between the refuge and the peak we encountered icy conditions and we had a small break in order to use our crampons and ice axes. To reach the top of Taygetos Mountain is not considered a very difficult climb, but safety goes first and therefore using crampons and ice axes is strictly recommended. Bellow some photos while moving on ice.
We were not 100% equipped for such an ascent and not all members had the appropriate equipment and therefore we took the decision to abandon our initial plan to go to reach the peak. Sometimes, in mountaineering and climbing is wise to change your plans if you feel you and//or the team is not 100% prepared for the weather conditions or is not 100% equipped with the appropriate gear. Bellow some photos on our way down off the mountain.
We have been extremely lucky with great sunny weather and amazing snow/ice conditions and although we did not manage to reach the top, we gave a promise we will be back again.