For many years, I have been looking at the South-West ridge of Mount Ortholithi and I was always wondering how it would be to climb it. About two years ago, just before covid would reach Greece and lockdowns would be imposed, I had the chance to go, climb and free a new route which I named as Monsters of the Wind.
Since the moment I climbed Monsters of the Wind , I was wondering if it would ever be possible to try this route in winter conditions. Although this year in Greece we had a quite cold winter with quite some snowfalls, Mount Ortholithi is located in a rather dry area where snowfalls are extremely rare. Nevertheless, in mid-March of the current year we experienced and unexpected fall and I have noticed that the area of Mount Ortholithi would be covered with snow.
It was a great decision, because as soon we arrived in the parking spot, we had a magnificent view towards mount Ortholithi. It was like a dream, becoming reality and I was very excited about!
See more hiking/mountaineering routes around this area:
- The Long Run IV+/V South-East Ridge of Mount Ortholithi
- Lizard V UIAA 90 m. | Climbing on top of Thermisia Lagoon
- Souzaki Mouzaki V- UIAA 50 m. | Climbing in Kouverta Beach – Ermioni
- Dardiza Bayby 1 V- UIAA 30 m. | Trad Climbing in Dardiza Bay – Ermioni
- Dardiza Bayby 2 IV UIAA 30 m. | Trad Climbing in Dardiza Bay – Ermioni
About Mount Ortholithi
Ortholithi Mountain is situated in the prefecture of Greece, Argolis. One part of the mountain is in Argolis and the North face is in Troizinia. The highest Peak of Ortholithi is 1.105 meters above sea level. From the top of the mountain the view of the sea side is breathtaking and you can easily see the capital of Greece, Athens.
Monsters of the Wind IV+/V- UIAA 500 m. – First Ascent of the South-West Ridge of Mount Ortholithi
On February 16, 2020, me a.k.a. Olympus Mountaineering, together with M. Tsokas and M. Karagiannis we have climbed the entire South-West ridge of Mount Ortholithi.
On March 13, 2022, me a.k.a. Olympus Mountaineering, together with C. Toutoutzhs, we attempted to have the first winter attempt of this route.
Download for free the complete route description and Topo map
- See first publication here: South-West ridge of Mount Ortholithi
- Download the complete route description and Topo map in PDF (english)
General route information
“Monsters of the Wind” (IV+/V-, 500 m.) follows the south-western ridge of Mount Ortholithi, offering an atmospheric climb overlooking the Saronic Gulf and Ermionida. The route can be described as an “adventure route” with great potential for free route selection. The route also does not present any difficulties in terms of safety with the use of temporary protection.
From Athens one needs to drive towards Epidavros and from there should follow the road to Ermionida. Just after Trachia village, should follow the road to Karatzas village and from there to Choriza.
Total distance from Athens: 150 km
About 2 km before arriving in Choriza ( 37.520145, 23.233478 ), there is a dirt road where we can leave the car and start the approach hike.
The approach hike is an easy hike of about 10 minutes.
At the base of the route
Getting ready for the Climb
Monsters of the Wind – First Winter Ascent attempt
The route starts with the first pitch (35 m.) exactly at the base of the south-west ridge (37.525356, 23.234392) of a IV slab. Shortly before the slab is climbed, and as we enter a dihedral, where I think the climb in mixed conditions is about M3+/M4.
Wrong Gear and Retreating the route
Before starting the route, I took the decision (at the end it was a wrong decision), to not get on the mountain my La Sportiva Nepal boots with the Cassin Alpinist Tech crampons, but instead to wear the Verbera boots with the strap-on Rock Empire crampons. My decision was based on the fact that only the first pitch would be demanding and there would be a long hike for the return.
Based on these two factors, I left behind what I should not have left. While I was climbing in mixed terrain, I realised that the Verbera boots were way too soft and not stiff enough in order to support me vertically on the wall. In addition, the dual point strap-on Rock Empire crampons were not the best for correct crampon placement on the rock.
Don’t forget to check out more Winter and Mixed Climbing activities here:
- Alpine Climb in Gerontovrachos – Parnassos
- Dry Tooling in Athens – Rizos’ Cave
- Dry Tooling in Parnassos (Parnassus) Mountain
- Mixed and Alpine Climbing in Vardousia Mountain | Aris II 2 M2 – 400m.
- Winter Mountaineering Climb in Strogoula – Tzoumerka (Athamanika)
The more I was climbing, I was realising that my balance was not good at all with this gear and at some point I found a bomb-proof tunnel from where I retreated the route. Unfortunately, my dream to ascent this route with winter conditions did not become a reality, but due to the fact this particular type of climbing (mixed climbing and fully trad) is very demanding, the decision to retreat the route was wise.
Lesson learned: Always get the best available gear you have and never leave them behind.
Gear & Equipment
For this trip, I was carrying the following main gear:
- The North Face Verbera
- Rock Empire Machki crampons
- Petzl Quark Ice Axe
- Lowe Alpine Mountain Attack 35-45 Backpack
- Mammut Ophir Harness
- Camp Mach Express Alpine Quickdraws
- Garmin Dakota 20 GPS device
- Cumulus Minilite Down vest
- Rab Spark Waterproof Jacket
- Petzl e-lite headlamp
- Mammut Wall Rider Helmet
- Wild Country Rocks Nuts
- Cumulus Incredilite Endurance
- Simond 2-in-1 Mountaineering Gloves
Before you leave this blog check out the following map
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.