Mountain Leader Seminar on Mount Parnassos

Few weeks ago, on Panachaiko (Vodias) mountain, there was the kick off weekend for the Mountain Leader Seminar that was organised by Patras Mountaineering Club.

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”.

For the last part of the seminar, Mount Parnassos was selected and we spent two fully scheduled days going through many different mountaineering subjects.

Trail to the Defner mountain hut


How to reach the Defner mountain hut in Parnassos

Mount Parnassus (Parnassos) is a mountain of limestone in central Greece that towers above Delphi, north of the Gulf of Corinth, and offers scenic views of the surrounding olive groves and countryside. According to Greek mythology, this mountain was sacred to Dionysus and the Dionysian mysteries; it was also sacred to Apollo and the Corycian nymphs, and it was the home of the Muses. The mountain was also favored by the Dorians. It is suggested that the name derives from parnassas, the possessive adjective of the Luwian word parna meaning house, or specifically temple, so the name effectively means the mountain of the house of the god.

See previous adventures on Mount Parnassos here:

The mountain hut (Michalis Defner) is in very good condition and the stuff very friendly and helpful. It is located under Gerontovrachos. There is a paved road leading to it from the road to the ski centre. In the winter the paved road the leads to the mountain hut it is usually closed due to the snow.

How to Reach Parnassos Mountain Hut (Michalis Defner)

From Athens take Highway E75 (N1) North towards Lamia (from the airport take ATTIKI ODOS get in E75 through exit E8). Then you can:

  1. Get off the E75at the exit to Thiva (70th km), continue towards Livadeia, Arachova and Delphi. From Arachova you may take the road towards the Livadi plateau and the ski centres (~225km)
  2. Get off the E75 at the exit to Kastro (111th km) and continue to Orchomenos, Livadeia etc (less traffic)
  3. As in 2 but after passing Orchomenos and the train rails turn right towards Dayleia, Tithorea or Amphikelia. From amfikleia there is a road which leads to the ski centres

There are trails starting from Arachova, Delphi, Dayleia, Tithorea and Amphikleia


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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
  • Navigation
  • Access and the environment
  • Hazards (including steep ground) and emergency procedures
  • Equipment
  • Expedition skills
  • Weather
  • Background knowledge

Mountain Leaders should be familiar with techniques to ensure safe travel through steep and broken ground. This should be through a combination of planning, route choice and group management. However, situations may arise where the rope is necessary to safeguard members of the group. Mountain Leaders should recognise such difficulties and potential dangers leading to the need to use simple rope techniques to provide confidence or assistance. It is emphasised that the techniques used are not those suitable for rock climbing.


Mountain Leaders need to be able to operate safely on steep ground, either through choice or because circumstances have forced them on to such terrain. In these situations candidates must be able to safeguard their group, taking into account the limitations of all concerned. It is difficult to define ‘steep ground’ exactly but it is generally broken, often vegetated with a fair proportion of visible rock, some loose, where the consequences of a slip or fall might be serious.

It is important that Mountain Leaders develop good judgement skills and are able to choose routes through or around steep ground which are suitable for the group and do not require the planned use of the rope, which is beyond the scope of this award.

Emergency situations may develop from accidents or from errors of judgement. Leaders will experience extra pressures when something goes wrong and should be clear about suitable responses for any given emergency on a journey. It is important that a balanced understanding of what constitutes an emergency is developed.

A well-equipped, fit party being delayed for a few hours may create problems with logistics but rarely constitutes an emergency whereas a broken leg should be treated as an emergency under any circumstances.


Safety Techniques
Rock climb with crampons
Belay techniques
Belay techniques

Gear & Equipment

For this trip, I was carrying the following main gear:

Sierra Designs Lightning II

See previous adventures on Mount Parnassos

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