Greece, besides picturesque islands and beautiful shores, is a mountainous country with plenty of different mountains and hundreds of peaks above 2.000 meters. One of the greatest mountains of central Greece, is Parnassos (Parnassus) mountain.
Located at the center of Greece, Parnassus (Parnassos) is one of the biggest and most beautiful mountains of the country. Its highest part is Liakoura peak at 2.457 m. and Tsarkos (2.415 m.) and Gerontovrahos (2.389 m.) peaks follow.
Mount Parnassus is a great area which extends to the municipalities of Boeotia, Phthiotis and Phocis.
Since 1938 a big part of the forest area of the mountain, has been declared as a National Park, which along with the one on Olympus were the first ones that were established in Greece. The Mountain of Apollo, as it also called, is known from the ancient times, as there are many myths connected to it.
On my previous visit to this mountain, I have done a winter mountaineering hike starting from the Defner mountain hut towards Liakoura (2.457 m) peak, via Gerontovrahos (2.389 m.) and Tsarkos (2.415 m.) peaks.
You can see more details about this hike here:
Although my previous ascent on Parnassos mountain was really nice, this time, I have decided to visit exclusively the climbing area of Gerontovrachos.
Gerontovrachos is one of the most important winter climbing areas in southern Greece. Modern routes with major technical difficulties coexist with the old classics, giving young mountaineers the opportunity to test their strengths in a very friendly field with easy access and return, minimal objective risks, small expansions, several ropes for company and of course music from the ski resort.
There are around 13 routes of mixed and/or only ice climbing during winter time.
Kelaria (parking lot) – Gerontovrachos
Our starting point was the parking lot of Kelaria (which is the parking lot for the Ski resort) and we have followed the trail that leads to the ski centre slopes. This is a very easy hike and within 15 minutes we had reached the cafeteria of the Ski centre.
From there we could easily see Gerontovrachos and of course we also had the chance to see many skiers and snowboarders enjoying their favourite sport.
As soon we left the cafeteria of the ski centre, we hiked towards the base of Gerontovrachos, by leaving the ski slopes on our left side.
Gerontovrachos Climb via Psigio (Ψυγείο – Fridge) Couloir
From Kelaria (parking lot) till the base of Gerontovrachos, one needs about an hour of uphill hike. Although the approach hike is easy in terms of technical difficulty, the steep slopes can tire up the climbers, especially if they carry all the climbing materials, such as ropes, protection gear, snow anchors, ice axes etc.
As already said earlier, Gerontovrachos is one of the most important winter climbing areas in southern Greece. There are around 13 routes of mixed and/or only ice climbing during winter time and we have decided to climb via the Psigio (ψυγείο-fridge) couoir, which is about 100 meters long and with technical difficulty to be III and 50ο (65ο).
On Gerontovrachos there are the following climbing routes:
- Chatzigeorgiou -Torelli
- Sugar Mountain (Florian)
- Ouranio Toxo (Rainbow)
- Psigio (Fridge)
- Maggisti – Soufi
The difficulty rate on these routes ranges between II 45ο till IV+ and 75ο
Although till the base of Gerontovrachos the snow conditions were really nice, unfortunately on the couloir, snow conditions were really poor and not stable at all. We climbed about 50% of the couloir, but due to the really bad snow conditions, we have decided to downclimb again and go to visit other peaks of Parnassos.
For this climb, I have used the following equipment:
- Lowe Alpine Mountain Attack 35-45
- Mammut Wall Rider Helmet
- Petzl Altitude Harness
- Salewa Tec X Ice Axe
- Petzl Quark Ice Axe
- Wild Country Rocks Nuts
- Olympus Snow Picket
- Cumulus Incredilite Endurance
- Simond 2-in-1 Mountaineering Gloves
- Petzl Reverso
- Garmin Dakota 20
- La Sportiva Spantik Mountaineering Boots
- Grivel G12 Crampons
Gerontovrachos – Touborachi – Profitis Elias
Once we left Gerontovrachos, we have moved towards Touborachi and the related peak. In order to reach Touborachi from Gerontovrachos there are two ways. The first which is easier is from the south and the most difficult which is from the north side of Touborachi. For obvious reasons, we chose to go via the north side and in order to do so, we had to do a long traverse with a stunning view towards Liakoura peak.
From the peak, we have had the chance to observe and enjoy the amazing landscape of central Greece and north Peloponnese. In fact, from the peak we were able to see the following beautiful mountains:
- Mount Aselinon (Giona)
- Vardousia Mountains
- Mount Helicon
- Olympus Mountain
- Kyllini Mountain
- Aroania Mountain (Chelmos)
- Erymanthos Mountain
- Panachaiko Mountain
Weather conditions on that day were really nice, because we had a nice overcast with some small windows of sun and with only 5-10 km of wind. Therefore, it was very nice to be on the top of mount Parnassos and enjoy the stunning surrounding environment!
Details of the Climb and Hike:
- Location: Parnassos Mountain
- Starting Point: Kelaria Parking lot
- Trail Signs: No trail signs but very obvious route
- Minimum Elevation: 1.650 m
- Maximum Elevation: 2.440 m.
- Elevation Gain: 790 m.
- Total Distance: 10.3 km
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Water Features: No (during winter)
Bellow you can see the route we have followed on a map and on 3D:
See previous Hiking and Mountaineering ascents in central Greece region here: