Oligyrtos is a mountain located at the junction of Arcadia, Corinthia and Argolis in the northeastern Peloponnese in Greece. The mountain diagonally stretches from southwest to northeast, with about 35 km length and 15 to 20 km breadth. Its highest point is the peak Skipiza, at 1,935 m elevation. Other peaks are Gkrimini (1,831 m), Parnias (1,800 m), Skiathis (1,777 m) and Mavrovouni (1,695 m).
Neighbouring mountain ranges are Kyllini (Ziria) to the north, Mainalo to the southwest, Trachy to the south and Chelmos (Aroania) to the northwest. Local flora consists mostly of grasslands and bushes. Pine trees and barren lands are found in higher areas. It is drained towards the Lake Stymphalia (which is located nearby Lake Doxa) to the north, and towards the plain of Kandila to the south.
Oligyrtos is renown for its green slopes and panoramic views. It boasts a fir forest of 21,250 acres and 24 animal species, including several kinds of woodpecker, the rare golden eagle, six species of mammals and 14 different amphibians.
The first part of the route is through a beautiful forest with nice tall trees, a small river and within one hour of walk you should come across Aghia Sotiria Church. There, there is plenty of space to set up a camp and there is also a spring with fresh running water.
Leaving back the Aghia Sotiria church, we still walk through the forest but not for long. Soon we reach the alpine level where less trees are to be found. The snow was very deep and we struggled a lot during our ascent.
Having left the Aghia Sotiria for 45 minutes, and a good walk into the deep snow, we have reached a small plateau which was fully covered with clouds and fog. Though, while we have been ascending towards the top, we have managed to “fly” over the clouds and the views where breathtaking.
Having walked for few hours and gained about 1.400+ of altitude, we have finally reached the peak of Oligyrtos, Skipiza.
Due to the deep snow, we climbed up the mountain in quite slow pace and therefore, we stayed on the top only for few minutes. Time for the other half of the route. The descent was as beautiful as the ascent.
Lafka village- Agia Sotiria- Skipiza (peak): Begin your ascend at the village square and follow the well-trodden footpath leading to the last cluster of houses, then take the dirt road until you find the opening of the mountain trail, on the left side of a right turn. On your way to the church of Agia Sotiria you should cross the forest road four more times. The route’s last spring is near the church; you may want to fill your flasks here before contunuing your hike. Continue on the forest road until you see the footpath’s opening, on your right side.
This part of the route is trickier due to the absence of signs; keep the peak on your left side, and you should not get lost. The path will take you through the fir forest and into the zone of alpine vegetation. The slope becomes steepier just before you reach the crater, at an altitude of 1500 meters. Head north towards the lowland between the peaks Skipiza and Chionotrypa. The highest one is on your left and takes about 50 minutes to reach. Thanks to its mild terrain, the peak is ideal for anyone wishing to spend the night at an altitude of almost 2000 meters. The whole hike takes about four hours to complete and, despite its lack of adequate waymarks, is well suited for less experienced hikers.
Ancient Stymphalia was said to have been founded by Stymfalos (or Stymfilos), son of Arcada, grandson to Lykaona, which gave his name to the city but also to the whole region. Here, the legend has it, is where godess Hera was believed to have been raised by Timenos, son of Pelasgos, and also were Hercules killed the so-called Stymphalides ornithes (birds of Stymphalia), rescuing nearby villages from their destructive attacks. According to the Iliad, the city of Stymfalia took part in the Trojan War.
17 thoughts on “Winter Ascent on Mount Oligyrtos”
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