One more summer is almost coming to the end and just before Autumn starts I have visited the fifth tallest mountain of Greece, Mount Giona (Mt. Aselinon). Although the main purpose of this visit was to climb to the highest peak, Pyramida 2.510 m. via Alpina, I have also enjoyed some nice hiking and wild camping in the beautiful and serene alpine fields.
In fact, due to the fact my last visit on this mountain was in 2017, I had forgot how beautiful is to be in such elevation and to enjoy the views and the peace that Mt. Giona can offer. The lofty mountains of the south Pindus range and the exalted emotions the utter wilderness of such mountains do always re-generate the human soul.
Mount Aselinon (Giona) is a mountain in Phocis, Central Greece. It is located between the mountains of Parnassus to the east, Vardousia to the west, and Oeta to the north. Known in classical antiquity as the Aselinon Oros (moonless mountain), it is the highest mountain south of Olympus and the fifth overall in Greece. Pyramida is its highest peak at 2,510 metres (8,235 ft).
Mount Giona offers many outdoor possibilities for climbers and hikers. In fact, one of the most impressive faces of Greece, is Plaka-Sykias and Pyramida offers many alpine/mountaineering routes in order to reach the peak of Mt. Giona.
There are several paths that lead to the highest peak of Mt. Giona. There is a path from Sykia village, but there is also a path from Kaloskopi village. This time we chose the second path which is the easiest route towards Vathia Laka and the the peak of Mt. Giona, Pyramida (2.510 m.).
Just before entering Kaloskopi, and on this point 38.6929 – 22.3196, there is a dirt road the is mostly used by heavy trucks from the mine that operated in the east side of the mountain. The dirt road is best to be driven by off-road (4×4) vehicle because is not in great shape.
About Kaloskopi village
Kaloskopi is a mountain village in the municipal unit of Gravia, northeastern Phocis, Greece. It is situated in the northeastern foothills of Mount Giona, 8 km west of Kastellia and 19 km north of Amfissa.
The village is located in the middle of a dense fir forest, while on the south side it seems that the forest of the hill of Lyritsa with the plane trees, walnuts, oaks, cherries and apple trees completes the green landscape. Nestled at the foot of Giona, the village is surrounded by Mount Kallidromo in the east, Vardousia in the west, Oiti in the north and Parnassos in the south. Kaloskopi has plenty of spring water that overflows the stone-curved founts and irrigates the gardens of the houses.
Kaloskopi can be accessed by road from the 200th kilometer of the New Athens-Lamia National Highway at the exit of Thermopylae, by train from the station of Bralos and then by taxi or bus only from Amfissa and Lamia.
Mnimata – Vathia Laka
On Mt. Giona there is a location named “Mnimata“. Up to that point the dirt road is in good condition. Due to the fact we were with an 4×4 vehicle we were able to drive a bit further on, up to the point the actual trail to Vathia Laka starts.
- The exact location of the trail starts from here: 38.665186, 22.270838
While we have been hiking we were able to enjoy the view of Mt. Oiti, though, our first view of Pyramida peak was really breathtaking. Pyramida peak stands at 2.510 meters above sea level and is one of the most visited faces of Greece for Alpine climbing, winter mountaineering and mixed climbing adventures.
The trail towards Vathia Laka is an easy, clear and well signed trail that is visited by may hikers, climbers but most of all from the local shepherds that basically live on the mountain the entire summer. In fact, while we were approaching Vathia Laka, we have been identified by shepherd dogs. At some point, in front of us we had around 15 shepherd dogs which all were barking to us. Although these moments can be a bit tensed, the dogs were not really aggressive and we were able to hike through the herd of goats.
Where to camp on Mt. Giona
In Greece wild camping and free standing are unfortunately not officially allowed. Outside the tourist areas, however, it is usually tolerated by the authorities and residents. In fact, if one camps on a mountain, there is no way that he will be disturbed by the local authorities.
Having said that, Mt. Giona offers amazing views for the ones that will decide to camp on the alpine fields of the mountain. For wild camping, besides appropriate gear, water is a necessity and therefore the location we picked in order to set up our camp was about 150 m. far from a natural water spring. This water spring is manly used by the local shepherds for their personal needs.
- Camp Location: 38.658604, 22.257560
- Water Feature Location: 38.659094, 22.256598
In addition, the spot we selected in order to set up our camp had direct and stunning view towards Vardousia Mountain and from there we could see and enjoy Korakas peak, Plaka-Pyramida, Gidovouni but also the ridge that leads to the highest peak of Vardousia and the entire southern ridge of Vardousia.
Other peaks of Mount Giona (Aselinon):
- Perdika 2,484 m
- Tragonoros 2,456 m
- Platyvouna or Plativouna 2,316 m
- Profitis Ilias 2,298 m
- Kastro 2,176 m
- Vraila 2,177 m
- Paliovouni 2,122 m
- Pyrgos 2,066 m
- Lyritsa 2,007 m
- Botsikas 1,945 m
- Kokkinari 1,908 m
- Tychioni 1,842 m
Gear & Equipment
For this trip, I was carrying the following main gear:
- Sierra Design Lightning 2 Tent
- Cumulus Panyam 600 Hydrophobic Down sleeping bag
- Klymit Stativ V Ultralight sleeping pad
- Garmin Dakota 20 GPS device
- Cumulus Incredilite Endurance Hydrophobic Down
- Quechua Tech-Fresh 50 T-shirt
- La Sportiva Bushido
- Lowe Alpine Cholatse II 55-65 Backpack
Below: This map marks all the mountaineering adventures that have been featured on Olympus Mountaineering so far, including several Sport climbing crags – Select full screen to expand, zoom in for more detail, or click on a marker for a link to the post.