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bei Litóchoron, Kentriki Makedonia (Greece)
The most popular route to the peaks of Olympos (including the highest - Mytikas at 2918m), from Prionia above Lithochoro.
07:30 - start from Prionia at 1100m. You can reach this place with regular car from Lithochoro. It offers some parking space, that in early hours is easily available. The hiking path is very very well sign-posted and visible and crowded :-P no way to get lost. It goes through forrest area offering shadow on entire route until refuge. Some water spring on the way.
10:30 - Refuge A at 2100m. Here we make a little stop for a drink and snack. Half of the ascent is done. From here more demanding part starts as the forrest is gone and path goes through open rocky area with no shadow and no water. Loose rocks on the path make the hike even more difficult.
13:30 - Skala peak at 2866m. This is one of four Olympos peaks, the lowest one. From here to the west goes path to Skolio peak and to the north to Mytikas. The path to Mytikas is the most difficult part of the whole route with some sections including chains for more safety. It is not recommended to hike alone there!
14:30 - Mytikas peak at 2918m. The top of the top :-D There is a cross on the peak and a Greek flag :-D Also a book where You can sign You name and date of the hike. We were a little unfortunate with cloudy weather and did not have panoramic views in all directions :-/ (It is said that in clear day, You can see Thessaloniki that are 90km far from the peak!)
16:30 - Ch. Kakalos refuge at 2648m. The descent from the peak to the refuge is called "Kakoskala", which is translated to "the bad steps". It is very steep and has to be done slowly and carefully as every wrong step can throw loose stones to the hikers below You!! This part offers nice views to the east with aegean sea coast.
We have stayed the night in the tent just outside the refuge with many other hikers. The refuge offers very good food, vine and coffee at very affordable prices. We had very good time and company for the evening, as everybody tells their stories and adventures from the passed day.
The route is of moderate difficulty level until Skala. Later - from Skala to Mytikas and down from Mytikas to Louki - the level is difficult/very difficult depending on hikers experience and fitness.
On 2nd day the GPS run out of battery and I have not recorded our descent back to Prionia through Petrostrouga and Gortsia :-/ but here are some details from this part:
08:30 - Ch Kakalos at 2650m. After early breakfast and setting down the tent we started from the refuge with flat section along the range until Skourta.
09:30 - Skourta at 2485m. From here, more steep descent starts and soon we entered the forrest for more pleasant hike under the shadow of the trees.
11:00 - Petrostrouga.
12:15 - Barba.
12:45 - Gortsia. We reach the end of hiking route at the crossing with asphaltus road to Prionia. Here we were lucky to catch a pickup truck to give us a lift to our car :-D
This part is fairly easy compared to previous day's climb. The route goes mostly through the forrest area offering shadow and some water springs. Level easy.