Ascent of Mount Ida on 2018-09-14

Climber: Mark Trengove

Others in Party:With Giorgos Makhrudakhs
Date:Friday, September 14, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Ida
    Elevation:8058 ft / 2456 m

Ascent Trip Report

Rather than hire a car, I had decided before my arrival on Crete to engage the services of a guide, in order to enrich my understanding of what was a new mountain environment for me. Also, to be honest, I was not keen to hire a car, as Crete has one of the worst road safety records in Europe. A web-search led me to Greentour Crete (see at, which came with glowing reviews. I was not disappointed.

Giorgos from Greentour picked me up, as arranged, from my hotel in Rethymno at 08:00 a.m. We took a two-hour drive into the mountains, through attractive villages, stopping at a traditional wood-fired bakery to buy some bread for our lunch. Giorgos was a mine of information about the area. We parked in a large car park by the (closed) Lakkos Migerou Refuge, belonging to the Rethymno Hiking Club. The car park was almost full but deserted, and we had difficulty finding a parking space. This surprised Giorgos, but the reason became apparent as we began our ascent.

A steep path, occasionally marked by cairns, took a slanting route south-east, traversing a shallow coombe on the north flank of the mountain. A string of men were descending. They were clad in traditional Cretan clothes, rather than of the type often worn by hikers. Among them was an Orthodox priest in his long robes. A conversation between Giorgios and some of the men established that a liturgy had recently taken place at the summit chapel, as it was the feast day of the Holy Cross (Timios Stavros). This was the reason the car park below was so full.

Our ascent continued at a gentle place, with pauses to view some of the flora unique to these mountains, and to watch griffon vultures as they wheeled far above our heads in a cerulean sky. The trail now headed up the eastern edge of the coombe on what looked like a lateral moraine. There was also another feature that implied some glacial action – there were crags near the head of the coombe that appeared to have been created by the plucking at the rock by a glacier. These mountains have few such features. An internet search after we got back also noted possible glacial action on the mountain, although the evidence is disputed.

We gained the main ridge, joining the E4 trail heading to the summit from Analipsi to the east. The summit cone was now in sight, and an easy hike away. We were soon there.

We spent nearly an hour on the summit, admiring the rather cloudy view, investigating the chapel and conversing with other hikers. We partook of the sweet blessed (non-consecrated) bread left by the priest after the liturgy, which formed a welcome addition to our Cretan picnic. I discussed points of Orthodox theology with a Norwegian Lutheran pastor and his wife, while Giorgios made friends with a local Cretan and her French friend. Two Italians arrived and kindly took our summit photograph. It was a pan-European sort of place.

As we made ready to begin our descent, a marked change in the weather commenced. Cloud rolled in suddenly from the north, enveloping the summit ridge in a lthin fog. It was certainly time to head down, with the temperature dropping markedly. We retraced our outward route, deviating a little to reach the minor east top of Psiloritis.

A little further on the fog coalesced into rain, and waterproofs became necessary. The rain did not last long and, as we descended, the hill-fog began to clear as rapidly as it had come in. A fine view north emerged, bathed in the soft light of evening. We reached the car park close to sunset.

Also see the log and photos at
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
By the summit chapel, with Giorgos (2018-09-14). Photo by Mark Trengove.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3019 ft / 920 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3019 ft / 920 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.3 mi / 10.2 km
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Hot and sunny
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2986 ft / 910 m
    Distance:3.2 mi / 5.1 km
    Route:North Spur
    Start Trailhead:Lakkos Migerou Shelter  5072 ft / 1545 m
    Time:4 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3019 ft / 920 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2986 ft / 911 m; Extra: 33 ft / 10m
    Gain on way out:33 ft / 10 m
    Distance:3.2 mi / 5.1 km
    Route:East Top - North Spur
    End Trailhead:Lakkos Migerou Shelter  5072 ft / 1545 m
    Time:2 Hours 55 Minutes

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