Mount Tymfi (Pindos) North Side Thru-Hike Part 2 – Sadi Migas – Karteros Pass – Astraka Refuge

Following a rather good night of sleep in the “secret” log cabin, we woke up with a unique and mesmerising morning view. The early morning sun beams were gently hitting the high peaks of Mt. Tymfi and specifically Gamila peak. The contrast of the rock and the clear blue sky was great and there was clearly visible a line, which happens to be one of the most repeated trad-climbing routes of Gamila, Tsekouri.

Although this second day we had to cover quite some distance and to climb up Karteros’ pass, we took it rather easy with our breakfast. We enjoyed our morning coffee and talked about past mountaineering activities and climbing routes. 

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Our morning view from the log cabin

This is the second (of the three) part of the Mount Tymfi (Pindos) North Side Thru-Hike. In case you haven’t checked the first part, feel free to check it out here:


Sadi Migas – Limeria Klefton

Having enjoyed our breakfast, we carefully cleaned up and ordered the interior of the mountain hut, and upon a farewell, we started to hike. The first part consisted to come down from the hill, from where the mountain hut is “hidden” and to reach the plateau of Sadi Migas. At Sadi Migas, there is a concrete water pond (but in this time of the year there was not any water), where the official maps of Anavasi showed the trail towards the pass of Karteros.

We had a short break in order to understand how the path would lead us to the pass between Gamila II and Karteros peaks, but we were unable to understand what the map was showing. Upon a quick meeting, we decided to ignore the trace of the map and to move towards the east and to follow the trail which leads to Stani Katsanou. In fact, that was the correct choice, because about 200 meters on this trail we came across a tree with a sprayed sign with the greek letters “ΛΚ” (most probably, meaning Limeria Klefton – Λιμέρια Κλεφτών).

ATTENTION: Should you be using the maps of Anavasi, Topoguide, Pegasus (and perhaps other maps), ignore the traced trail on the map that leads you directly to Karteros pass, because such trail does not exist (or at least it was impossible for us to locate).

Keep on the normal trail, up to the point you see a large tree with the red sprayed sign, we turned left and we continued the uphill. This is the correct trail that leads you to Karteros Pass.

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Map Correction: Follow the purple line and Ignore the trace of the map

Not far from the crossroad, we also came across the first snow patches of the day and the more we were moving uphill, the better view we had towards the high peaks of Tymfi.

Although we had heavy load on our backpack, we soon reached “Limeria Klefton“. On that amazing spot we decided to have our first bread of the day and to enjoy the stunning view of the amphitheatre of all the various peaks. From right to left, Gamila, Gamila II, Karteros and Stoma.

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Tymfi peaks as seen from the log cabin

 

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First steps of the second day

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Moving uphill

 

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On this point Turn Right and follow “ΛΚ”

 

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Trail path

 

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Trail path towards Limeria ton Klefton

 

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Trapezitsa as seen from the trail

 

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Almost at Limeria ton Klefton

 

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Majestic View from Limeria Klefton

Limeria Klefton – Karteros Pass

Limeria Klefton! What an amazing location to have a short break for a refreshment and some extra sun screen. Although we did not want to leave from such a great “balcony with a view”, due to the fact we still had to cover quite some kilometres, we got our backpacks again and we soon started to traverse towards Karteros Pass.

Karteros pass, is a narrow gap between two peaks: Gamila II peak and Karteros peak. This pass is reached by a couloir, is about 40-45 degrees of inclination and about 200 meters of elevation difference.

Prior of reaching this pass, we were really hypnotised by the amazing views of this part of Mt. Tymfi. Also, we stumbled upon some bear footprints (most probably mama bear with two bear cubs).

In order to climb safely Karteros’ pass, we used crampons, ice axe and a 30 m. rope.

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Stunning view

 

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Traversing Limeria ton Klefton

 

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Gamila peak

 

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Moving on

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Stunning peaks

 

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enjoying the view

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Majestic Gamila II peak

 

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Bear footprint

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Steep uphill

 

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Karteros Pass – Left side Karteros – Right side Gamila II

 

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Karteros pass – follow the red line

 

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Climbing route – Arapis

 

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Roped partners

 

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Stunning View

 

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Karteros pass couloir – about 40-45 degrees of inclination

 

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Almost at the exit of Karteros pass

 

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Dropping dead tired after the uphill of the couloir

 

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Karteros pass exit view

 

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Karteros pass as seen from above

Karteros Pass – Astraka Mountain Refuge

As soon we reached the top of Karteros pass, we were very happy for this successful climb on the snow, but also because that was the steepest section of the entire route. The view from this narrow gap -amongst Gamila II and Karteros peaks- offers great views towards the south. From that point we could see and identify various mountains and peaks, but also Loutsa Robozi (Loutsa = water pond), but also Astraka.

Besides enjoying the stunning views from that point, we also took a break in order to eat a snack, hydrate ourselves but also to collect and order our equipment, such as crampons, ice axe and a 30 m. rope.

Upon that, we carried on hiking again, with first goal to downhill towards Loutsa Robozi. As soon we reached Loutsa Robozi, we turned west (right) and we followed the creek that leads to Laka Tsoumani. Just before Laka Tsoumani, we have seen an impressive waterfall, and also the only natural water fountain that exists from that side of Tymfi.

The only water source you will find during the summer months is located here

Water spring coordinates: 39.976848, 20.774332

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Natural water spring

The final section of the second day, was a rather steep uphill of 150 m. of altitude difference. Basically, we had to hike uphill from Laka Tsoumani to the Astraka Refuge.

The Astraka Refuge is located at an altitude of 1950m in Radovoli place, particularly in the neck formed between the peaks of Astraka (2.436 meters) and Lapatos. The refuge/mountain hut was constructed in 1966 on the initiative of the Alpine Club of Ioannina and Mountaineering Group of Papigo. In 2004 it was renovated and expanded to its current form. Recently with the contribution of a European financial program solar panels where installed and wind turbines will follow and they will account a 13KW renewable and green power.

The shelter can accommodate 51 people in total during the summer months in rooms with bunk beds. The shelter provides beds, pillows and blankets. The refuge/mountain hut is fully equipped with a kitchen and restaurant.

The refuge is open daily from May to October. During the winter months it remains closed and opens for groups under an arrangement with the administrator. Last but not least, it is a base for mountain activities such as hiking, climbing and mountain/backcountry skiing. Bellow, some photos of the surrounding environment.

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Downhill from Karteros pass
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Snow hiking
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Blue, White and a hiker
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Kicking steps on the snow
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First view of Astraka
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Water pond – Loutsa Robozi
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Hiking towards Astraka
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Getting closer to Astraka

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Alpine meadow
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Alpine flowers – Krokos
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Waterfall near Xeroloutsa Tsoumani
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Xeroloutsa Tsoumani
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Water pond Xeroloutsa Tsoumani and the trail that leads to the Dragon lake
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Water pond Xeroloutsa Tsoumani as seen from the path that leads to the Astraka Refuge
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Almost at the Astraka refuge
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Astraka Mountain Refuge
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Astraka peak as see from the refuge

Gear & Equipment

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


Details of the Hike:

  • Location: Tymfi Mountain (Pindos)
  • Starting Point: Sadi Migas 
  • Ending Point: Astraka Mountain Refuge
  • Trail Signs: Signed path
  • Minimum Elevation: 1.452 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 2.307 m.
  • Total Distance: 10.6 km
  • Hiking time: 8 hours (with easy pace – including the breaks)
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • When to Hike: Any time of the year (during winter time winter mountaineering gear is needed)
  • Water Features: one

Bellow you can see the route we have followed on a map and on 3D:

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Section 2 Trail Overview | Sadi Migas – Karteros Pass – Astraka Refuge

 

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Section 2 Trail Overview | Sadi Migas – Karteros Pass – Astraka Refuge


Stay tuned for Part 3 of this hike

In the coming days, there will be the 3rd part of the Mount Tymfi (Pindos) North side Thru-Hike, so make sure to come back to this blog to see the exciting third and final part which consists of arriving back to our starting point (Konitsa) via Davalista.


Overview of the entire route | Konitsa – Karteros Pass – Astraka Refuge – Davalista – Konitsa

The route we have decided to follow is perhaps one of the nicest hiking routes in Greece. This route, offers majestic views with great trails. In addition, if you will visit this area end of May up to mid-June, you will be overwhelmed by the different kind of sceneries you can experience just by one round-trip hiking route. 

The entire route is about 30 km long, and it can be split in three sections and each section can be an enjoyable day hike. The way we split the route was the following:

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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.

16 thoughts on “Mount Tymfi (Pindos) North Side Thru-Hike Part 2 – Sadi Migas – Karteros Pass – Astraka Refuge

  1. Wow, we are definitely adding this one to our list. The views are amazing and so different on one side of the pass to the other. It’s letting me comment today too:) Maggie

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  2. And the adventure continues! This hike just keeps getting better and better. Although I gotta say, the hike through the snow looks super challenging. Glad you just saw bear footprints instead of the actual mama bear and her cubbies.

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    1. Indeed, the adventures continues and as you could see from the photos it’s getting better and better.

      With regards the bear, I have been visiting the mountains of Greece, for quite few years now, and I have never seen any bear. So I guess they are quite “shy”.

      Thank you for your kind and positive comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are definitely breaking stereotypes of Greece. Look at that snow! 🙂 I bet you wished you were climbing some of those peaks?

    Nothing like kicking steps for hours on end going up to the col, but there is a simple rhythm to it that I enjoy. Nice to see that you had snow on the downside too, which is fun to run through.

    You had a gorgeous weather for the trek! The blue skies above the snow is spectacular. Well done!

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    1. Your first sentence, is exactly the reason I started this blog few years ago. To brake the stereotypes of Greece (sea, sun and islands), and to give a different insight about mainland Greece.

      Greece, in contrary of what most people thing is a very mountainous country and I could dare to say still unexploited. This means a lot of wilderness areas great for mountain exploration.

      For this trek, weather was just fabulous! Perfect temperature, blue skies and in combination with the landscape was just a magical trek.

      Thank you for taking the time to read through this post and for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well then, well done to you! If you are one of the first to write about the hiking trails and routes, do you plan to publish a guide? I know you have a free climbing guide on your site, but I’m sure people would pay for a book version.

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      2. That’s a very good question Alisen.

        Although I have never thought thoroughly about publishing a hiking-guide, in the future, I might collect the best hiking/trekking adventures of Greece and will create a guide for new hikers.

        Though, again, as the climbing guides I already publish on this blog, it will be released and distributed for free.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You are too kind 🙂 Your work and time is valuable, especially if there is not already a guide book being published. Something to think about.

        Like

  4. Pingback: Mount Tymfi (Pindos) North Side Thru-Hike Part 3 – Astraka Refuge – Davalista – Konitsa – Olympus Mountaineering

  5. Pingback: Mount Tymfi (Pindos) North Side Thru-Hike Part 1 – Konitsa – Moni Stomiou – Sadi Migas – Olympus Mountaineering

    1. That part of the hike was truly wonderful with the view of the high peaks.

      Many more people, just like you, didn’t think Greece had such mountainous environments.

      Concerning the bears, well, here in Greece we have the brown bears and the last years their population is growing rapidly.

      So, next time you hike in Greece (in mainland) just keep an eye on them.

      Liked by 1 person

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