Christmas Hike and Climb on Dirfi Mountain

Hallelujah! Alleluia! Hooray! Yahoo! Yippee!

Finally, after two years of extreme lockdown measures in Greece, we are back for some Winter Mountaineering activities! The past two years, due to the coronavirus restrictions, I was not able to visit the mountains while there was snow on them. In fact, last time I have been on a Winter Mountaineering trip was in Vardousia on February 2020.

Few days ago, I got in contact with a good mountain buddy of mine and we agreed to arrange an easy ascent on Mount Dirfi.

Dirfi is the highest mountain of Evia. Although Evia is technically an island, it is considered part of mainland Greece because it is only separated by a narrow channel. It stretches from NW to SE, with Dirfi rising in the middle.

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Dirfi Mountain

Its highest peak Delphi 1,743 meters, is the highest mountain of all the Greek islands after the mountains of Crete. The mountain has pine trees, chestnuts, oak trees, fir trees, many steep parts and a rich fauna. Each year there is a lot of snow on its high peaks and for this reason it has so many springs of flowing waters, which are bottled. You should also see the aesthetical forest of Steni and the famous Dragon Houses on the mountain. The hut of the mountaineering association of Chalkida, is located at an altitude of 1.150 meters above sea level.


See previous ascents on Mount Dirfi here:


Even though its height is moderate, Dirfi is popular for two reasons: The proximity to Athens (making a day trip possible) and the challenging conditions. Being exposed to the winds of the Aegean Sea, Dirfi often has weather conditions normally found on much higher mountains. The route to the peak is a walk-up but the weather can still make you turn back. Its slopes also attract Ski-Mo activities. What is strange about Dirfi is that its peak looks like a volcano crater, which is why some people call it “Greek Fuji”. There are some steep couloirs near the peak but they are too short to be considered routes.


Dirfi Parking Lot – Dirfi Mountaineering Hut

In order to reach the mountaineering hut of Dirfi, use the E-75 highway (joining Athens with northern Greece) and exit to Chalkida. The city is located on the East side of the channel.(77km from Athens).

After passing the bridge don’t enter the city, instead turn left following the signs to northern Evia and Artaki. In Artaki (5km) turn right and follow the signs to Steni. Steni is a village at Dirfi’s base and the usual trekking start. (27km from Chalkida).

When there is not snow, the dirt road that leads to the mountaineering hut is clear and visible, though, when there is snow, is not very easy to identify.

The path towards the mountain hut is rather easy and even an unexperienced hiker can reach the refuge. The saddle on which the refuge is located at an altitude of 1.150 meters above sea level. Also, The saddle on which the refuge is located is also a good camping site.

The visitor of Mount Dirfi, will enjoy the views towards the north, and especially towards the south-east that can easily see and identify the fabulous Xerovouni Mountain.

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View of Dirfi Mountain from “Hunter’s Col” – Parking Spot
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Hiking towards the mountain hut

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Dirfi’s Mountain hut and the peak in the background
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Looking the ridge that leads you to the top

Dirfi Mountain Hut – Dirfi Peak

Our initial goal was to climb to the top of mount Dirfi via the central couloir. The central couloir is not a difficult climb, but it is very demanding for unexperienced mountaineers and therefore it is highly suggested to go and climb this couloir with experienced alpine climbers.

Though due to the high north winds, we decided to go via the normal route, because in any case our goal was to enjoy this sunny day on the mountain and not to go for some high performance activities.

Nevertheless, the conditions we found on the mountain were unique! Ice everywhere and therefore after the col and before the summit push we started using crampons and ice axes.

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between the mountain hut and the col
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Hiking towards the col
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at the col
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a short break before the summit push

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Everything is frozen here
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Climbing up
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Ascending with a splendid view

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Everything on Ice

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Enjoying the view towards Xerovouni
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View towards the seaside
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View towards Xerovouni
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View from the top

After about 2 hours and 55 minutes from the moment we started hiking from the parking spot we have reached the summit of mount Dirfi and we were able to enjoy the surrounding environment and other mountain peaks such as the following ones:

The Descent

Furthermore, from the summit, we were able to see and enjoy the blue Agean sea and this is one of the nicest parts of climbing at the top of mount Dirfi.

As soon we have reached the peak of Mount Dirfi, we have had some water and a snack, we took a couple of photos and then, due to high winds we moved rapidly towards the descent.

One more wonderful mountaineering ascent was concluded and this time with some great company too.

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enjoying a snack after reaching the peak
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Sudden fog
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Enjoying the view towards Xerovouni
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Descending a couloir
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Downhill
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downhill

How to reach Dirfy Mountain from Athens

Use the E-75 highway (joining Athens with northern Greece) and exit to Chalkida. The city is located on the East side of the channel.(77km from Athens).

After passing the bridge don’t enter the city, instead turn left following the signs to northern Evia and Artaki. In Artaki (5km) turn right and follow the signs to Steni. Steni is a village at Dirfi’s base and the usual trekking start. (27km from Chalkida)


Where to Stay

There is a hut maintained by Chalkida Alpine Club. It is usually open on weekends (in the winder only if the road is cleared) for food and warm drinks. You can make reservations there, by contacting the club. The hut sleeps 50, has a fully equipped kitchen and shower with hot water.

The surrounding environment can also be used for tents.


Details of the climb:

  • Location: Dirfi Mountain
  • Starting Point: Dirfi Hunter’s Col
  • Ending Point: Dirfi peak, Delfi 1.743 m.
  • Trail Signs: partly signed path (when there is no snow)
  • Minimum Elevation: 915 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 1.743 m.
  • Total Distance: 9,5 km
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Water Features: No

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

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The route on map
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The route in 3D


Gear & Equipment

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


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.

14 thoughts on “Christmas Hike and Climb on Dirfi Mountain

  1. I’m happy for you that you finally got to do winter mountaineering again. Your photos are amazing. The deep blue sky on your ascent is incredible and wow, what a view! Happy new year and may you get in lots more mountain adventures!

    Like

    1. Thank you Caroline and indeed, finally, again we were able to enjoy some winter mountaineering activities.

      Best wishes for the new year to you too and I look forward to see and read more of your adventures on your blog! Enjoy the outdoors!

      Like

  2. First – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!
    Second – that is one nice looking mountain.
    Third – when people think of Greece, the iconic blue and white comes to mind. Most people think of the islands, but now we can add White snow Peaks and impossibly Blue skies to that iconic image.
    Have a great year, my friend. Climb lots!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merry Christmas and happy New year to you too Alisen!

      Thank you for being part of this blogging adventure and for reading through the articles I post over here.

      Also, great to read your outdoor adventures from the other side of the world! Take care and climb/hike/ski safe!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. On this specific trip, I did not stay overnight but on a previous visit on this mountain I stayed in a tent. Though, from my experience, most of the people prefer to stay in the mountain hut.

      Should you visit Athens, then Dirfi is highly suggested due to its proximity and beauty.

      Like

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