First time I have visited Mount Kyllini (Ziria), it was during the first snow-fall of 2016. It was a very exciting day, and since then I have visited this mountain various other times but I was always reaching the highest point of Mount Kyllini (Megali Ziria), Simio.
During the last winter season, I had spotted a very nice alpine route on a lower peak of Mount Kyllini, Profitis Elias Peak (2.257 m.). As I always like to explore new alpine routes, and due to the fact I did not find any relative info for that part of mount Kyllini, I have decided to set up my gear and to go and explore the climbing possibilities of the North-West face of Profitis Elias Peak (2.257 m.).
Mount Kyllini (Ziria) rises to 2,376 m (7,795 ft) above sea level, making it the second highest point on the peninsula. It is located near the border between the historic regions of Arcadia and Achaea—in the northeast of Arcadia, and entirely within modern Corinthia.
The nearest mountain ranges are Oligyrtos to the south and Chelmos/Aroania to the west. Roads pass near the southern and western slopes, but there are not many on the mountain itself, as much of the mountain is part of a park. The municipal boundary of Stymfalia–Feneos–Evrostini and Xylokastro passes through the mountain.
Plan to climb the North-West face of Profitis Elias
In order to reach Profitis Elias peak, there are two trails. One starts from the village of Goura and via Farmakilas creek you can reach Profitis Elias and the second one is by starting from the Ziria Ski Centre.
For our explorative ascent, we did not follow any of these two trails, but we have started our ascent from Agios Nikolaos chapel which is located just above the Skafidia plateau at an altitude of about 1.500 meters above sea level.
Our plan was to reach Agios Nikolaos by car and from there to carry all our climbing gear and try to explore potential routes to the peak of Profitis Elias.
From our study via maps and google earth we have identified few options of different difficulty. The decision was to climb the NW Couloir of this face, but due to poor snow coverage, we had to change our plan and we decided to try and climb the Central Couloir of the NW face of Profitis Elias.
Agios Nikolaos – Profitis Elias Peak 2.257 m.
We have reached the Agios Nikolaos chapel at around 9.30 in the morning (that was quite delayed), and as soon we got ready with our boots, we soon started the approach hike towards the base of the North-West face of Profitis Elias.
The first part of the approach hike goes through the plateau of Skafidia and quite soon we reach the base of the cone of Profitis Elias.
The terrain was a mix of snow and gravel and with such terrain the approach hike in combination with the stiff La Sportiva Spantik, was rather tiring. In addition, as we were getting closer to the North West face, we understood that the NW couloir was rather dry from snow and therefore we have soon decided to change our plans and instead of climbing the NW couloir, to climb the Central Couloir.
The more we were getting closer to the NW face of Profitis Elias, the more we were understanding that unfortunately, the snow conditions were not right. Actually, it is quite uncommon for this period of the year to have such low snow coverage on mount Kyllini.
Nevertheless, we did not give up and we carried on in order to “attack” the central couloir.
For such mixed climbing attempt, I had the following equipment:
- La Sportiva Spantik boots
- Grivel G12 crampons
- Lowe Alpine Mountain Attack 35-45lt
- Mammut Wall rider Helmet
- Petzl Quark ice tools
- Mammut Ophir Speedfit harness
- Petzl Reverso
- Petzl caritool
- Wild Country nuts
- Black Diamond cams
- Mammut Phoinix 8 mm half ropes
- Olympus Snow Pickets
- Many different slings
- Many different carabiners
- 10 m. Beal 5.5 aramid cordelette
The more we were climbing higher, the more we could feel that the snow conditions were not right at all. The snow was pulpy and therefore it was not ideal for mixed climbing. In addition, as soon we came closer to the pick, we realised the climb would not be that difficult and therefore we decided to not carry on.
Though, due to the fact our spirit was high, we tried to find some boulders and do some easy dry tooling and also exercises of alpine belays. As soon we were done with such activities, we started our descent towards the Plateau of Skafidia and Agios Nikolaos.
Winter mountaineering ascents, and especially explorative attempts are not always successful. Though, it is important that we always keep in mind that we have to learn something from each different mountaineering trip.
See other activities in the region of mount Kyllini here: