Mountaineering is the set of activities that involves ascending mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, hiking, winter climbing, Skiing and traversing via ferratas.
As a mountaineer, besides training on the various fields of choice, it is very important to update regularly the skills and to learn new techniques. This is exactly what I have decided to do for the month of March. I will be following a “Mountain Leader” course that will provide all necessary set of skills in order to be a “Mountain Leader”.
This course, is divided in three different sessions and we will be visiting the following mountains:
The first weekend, took place on Panachaiko mountain. The Panachaiko, also known as Vodias in the Middle Ages, is a mountain range in Achaea, southern Greece. It spans about 20 km in length from north to south, and 15–20 km from east to west. It is the northernmost mountain range in the Peloponnese. The highest point, named Palavou Pyrgos, is 1,926 m.
Although I have visited most of Greece’s mountains, I had never been on Panachaiko before and the reason was that I highly dislike to see wind farms on the highest points of the mountains. Unfortunately, the natural ecosystem of Panachaiko has been totally ruined by the installation of numerous wind turbines and besides the natural beauty, the wind turbines destroy the local climate too.
How to reach Panachaiko Moutain
In order to reach Panachaiko mountain, first, we have to reach the town of Rio which is located in the suburbs of the city of Patra. From Rio, we drive towards the Panachaiko Wind Farms.
We leave the cars on the last wind turbine and from there we have a short hike till the mountain hut of Patras Mountaineering Club.
The mountain hut of Panachaiko is named Prasoudi (or Ioannis Diakidis Shelter) and is located in an altitude of 1.760 meters above sea level. Is a basic mountain hut that offers shelter up to to 25 people.
Mountain Leader Course
The Mountain Leader scheme is designed for people who want to lead groups in the mountains, hills and moorlands of Greece.
Mountain Leaders operate the length and breadth of the country with all sorts of groups of people; from scouts and schoolchildren to outdoor instructors.
Mountain Leaders should be competent in the following key areas, all of which will be covered, to a greater or lesser extent, during the seven day training course.
- Group management
- Access and the environment
- Hazards (including steep ground) and emergency procedures
- Expedition skills
- Background knowledge
In these first two days of the Mountain Leader course, we had the chance to refresh the following subjects:
- Self Arrest Techniques
- Belay Techniques
- Snow Belay with retrievable anchor Techniques
- Weather / Meteorology