Ascent of Saitas on 2011-04-23

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Andrew Tibbetts
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, April 23, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Elevation:5951 ft / 1813 m

Ascent Trip Report

We had summitted the Ultra Killini in the morning, and Saitas made a convenient target on our way south towards tomorrow's Ultra, Óros Taigetos.

A convenient trailhead is at the road pass at N37.85842 E22.25022, 1177m. It's also a very nice viewpoint for Killini, seen across a colourful patchwork of fields. However, although there is an obvious track on Google Earth, the initial part of the route turned out to be obscure. A dirt road heads SSE, slightly downhill - this is the wrong way. Instead, head due S, following a steep loose trail up the bank. This arrives in about 50 metres at the correct dirt road, at N37.85755 E22.24978. This road climbs at an easy gradient, then zigzags more steeply. There are traces of an older road, and a wide grassy slope is reached which provides a more direct route, beside some power lines. In a while a concrete water tank is reached (N37.84678 E22.25661, 1492m). Shortly after this the track turns off R, into woodland.

At this point it should be noted that Saitas is a ridge with three summits of very similar elevation. Jonathan de Ferranti's P600 list gives the summit co-ordinates as 37.83916,22.25083. This is the west summit (trig pillar). However, we consider that the east summit (N37.83905 E22.27313 GPSr) is higher. Midway between them is a slightly lower summit.

Anyway, we headed for the W summit, initially following the track then a more direct upwards route (easy terrain), with (disused) power lines as a guide. The summit is grassy, with a square trig pillar (N37.83946 E22.25133, 1800m), a small derelict building and another trig pillar a few metres lower. However, looking east, Andrew reckoned that the far end of the ridge looked higher. I couldn't really disagree and the ridge looked good, so we headed east. We crossed the middle summit, N37.83933 E22.26363, 1797m, P79m approx. The east summit (itself a twin top with the easternmost higher) at N37.83905 E22.27313 registered 1808m on the GPSr. The difference between the two GPS readings is by no means conclusive but our impression, viewing the W summit against the horizon, was that this E summit is the true summit. We'd been on all three anyway so it was bagged! We headed back towards the water tank, passing R of the centre peak, crossing two minor ridges. There was a slightly scrambly descent at one point, earning YDS 2+ although it might be avoidable. A small area of woodland and some nice meadows (crocus in flower) led back to the concrete tank where we joined the main track. A nice 3h circuit, longer and more interesting than we had expected and thoroughly recommended.

We now continued our journey south, stopping off for the drive-up summit Tsemberou - our third of the day and we felt we had earned an easy bag.

Trip photos
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2663 ft / 810 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2663 ft / 811 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.7 mi / 9.1 km
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2647 ft / 806 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2089 ft / 636 m; Extra: 558 ft / 170m
    Loss on way in:558 ft / 170 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 6 km
    Route:from N (road pass)
    Start Trailhead:road pass to north  3862 ft / 1177 m
    Time:1 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2105 ft / 641 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2089 ft / 636 m; Extra: 16 ft / 4m
    Gain on way out:16 ft / 4 m
    Distance:1.9 mi / 3.1 km
    Route:from N (road pass)
    End Trailhead:road pass to north  3862 ft / 1177 m
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes

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