Ascent of Olympus - Skolio on 2017-09-13

Climber: Mark Trengove

Others in Party:KE Adventure Travel party of 7 other
plus guide Ico Stoilkov.
Date:Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Olympus - Skolio
    Elevation:9551 ft / 2911 m

Ascent Trip Report

After a short rest on the summit of Skala, soaking up the view, our guide Ivo led those who had not summited Mytikas down by our outward route of ascent. The rest of us decided to do a round of the cwm, and to rejoin the others at the start of the Zonaria path which traverses below Mytikas and Stephani to the Plateau of the Muses.

I was particularly keen to reach the summit of Skolio in addition to Mytikas, as there was only 8m-9m of height difference between the two, according to the latest Greek map data. Given the unreliability of spot heights and contours on Greek maps, it would have been very galling to learn at some later date that, following another survey, Skolio was actually higher than Mytikas. It would have been frustrating not to have stood on the highest summit on Olympos.

So we set off west on a faint path for our next objective, descending quickly to a shallow col, and then a push up to the summit of Skolio. This opened up fresh vistas and I was glad to have put the effort in to ascend it.

Our route then swung down south round the head of the deep cwm on the southern side of the peak, and then east, as we followed the broad ridge down. While we descended we watched two lonely chamois making a meal of the sparse vegetation growing at this height. We reached a wide stony col, with a subsidiary top rearing up beyond it. As we followed the path round its northern flank we encountered a deep chasm on the flank of the hill, still with a block of winter's ice in its shady depths. The path continued on scree and rock in a series of zig-zags down into the valley to join the Skala ascent path at a junction.

The rest of the party had set off already on the Zonaria path, but as we progressed on this impressive trail we eventually caught them up. The path uses the limestone bands below the peaks of Mytikas and Stephani to contour round their flanks, rising continually on the way to the col between the peaks of Stephani and Touba. The sun was sinking fast now, and a cold blustery wind hit us from the east, necessitating the donning of extra layers to keep warm. Above us loomed the great rock wall of Stephani - the Throne of Zeus himself. Although not the highest, Stephani is by far the most impressive peak on the Olympos massif, and a mecca for rock-climbers.

We were not far from Refuge 'C' (Christos Kakalos), and within a few minutes reached its welcoming interior warmth. The hut is named after the Greek guide who was the first to summit Mytikas on 2nd August 1913, together with two Swiss clients. It is strange the first recorded ascent was so late in climbing history, given the iconic nature of the peak. The refuge is small, consisting of an office/bedroom, living room and kitchen downstairs, with a sleeping area above with bunks crammed together like sardines. The toilet block is outside at some distance, and with no running water to speak of. The refuge is certainly small and basic, but the hospitality of the owners and atmosphere of climbing camaraderie makes this rather a special place. I enjoyed my stay.

Also see log and photos at
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:361 ft / 110 m
    Total Elevation Loss:857 ft / 261 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Dry and sunny
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:361 ft / 110 m
    Distance:0.5 mi / 0.8 km
    Route:Skolio col - summit
    Start Trailhead:Skala 2866m  9190 ft / 2801 m
    Time:0 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:857 ft / 261 m
    Distance:5.4 mi / 8.7 km
    Route:Zonaria path
    End Trailhead:Hut C  8694 ft / 2649 m
    Time:4 Hours 0 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Olympos Traverse (3 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Olympus2017-09-13 2594 ft / 181 m
2Olympus - Skolio2017-09-13 3361 ft / 110 m
Total Trip Gain: 955 ft / 291 m    Total Trip Loss: 1451 ft / 442 m

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