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Winter Mountaineering Ascent Chelmos (Greece)

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John Olympus · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0

Aroania, also known as Helmos or Chelmos, is a mountain range in Achaea, Peloponnese, Greece. At 2,355 m elevation, Aroania is the third highest mountain of the Peloponnese, after Taygetus and Kyllini, and the highest in Achaea. The largest town near the mountain is Kalavryta. The municipal unit Aroania took its name from the mountain.

Aroania is situated in southeastern Achaea, near the border with Corinthia. The slightly higher Kyllini mountain is about 15 km to its east, separated from Aroania by the valley of the river Olvios. The mountain Erymanthos is about 30 km to the west, across the valley of the river Vouraikos. The rivers Krios, Krathis and Vouraikos drain the mountain towards the Gulf of Corinth in the north. The river Aroanios drains the mountain towards the southwest, to the Ionian Sea.

Although the weather report was not optimal for the day, we have decided to give it a try to climb Chelmos (Helmos) via the most classic route, which starts from the Ski resort of Kalavryta.

Read complete Trip review with many more photos and route description here:

The first part of the route was relatively easy and there was not any technical and/or difficult climb. Actually, the only difficulty we had was the thick fog and the periodic snowfall. Winds were blowing only on some instances and not higher than 30 km/h.

While we were hiking up we would eventually come across with other fellow sportsmen and sportswomen, though they were enjoying some Skiing or snowboarding activities. about 1 hour and 20 minutes since our departure, we came across the Chelmos Mountain Hut that unfortunately is not in function for several years now. From that point an on, we had to hike up through even thicker fog, but when there was a small window of clear sky we could enjoy the stunning views.

Aristarchos Telescope

Almost 1 hour and 40 minutes since the moment we have left the parking lot, we had the first view of the breathtaking Aristarchos Telescope.

The Aristarchos telescope was constructed and was inaugurated in the summer of 2007. The field of view is about 10 arcmin in diameter at the sideport, and 1 degree diameter at the Cassegrain focus. The telescope can reach a limiting magnitude of V~24 in an hour of observation on a dark night, while the limiting magnitude for spectroscopy is about V~19 with the low resolution ATS spectrograph.

As of November 2015, the Aristarchos telescope has become a full member in the Trans-National Access program of the Optical Infrared Co-ordination Network (OPTICON), funded by FP7 and Horizon 2020.

Having decided to pull off the plug just few meters away from Psili Koryfigave us the opportunity to have some fun with some controlled self arrest techniques and some steep climb in an unnamed pick via a couloir which was mostly covered with neve (consolidated snow) and on some parts with hard ice.

Actually, this was the best part of the entire day because we have had the chance to practice our techniques of self arresting and of course to enjoy a beautiful steep but not too long climb.

In parts and due to the harsh weather conditions (snowfall and wind) it felt like we were climbing in the Scottish mountains. For this climb I was using the following main pieces of gear:

The way we have arranged the climb was the traditional one which means that the leading person was climbing up to the point of fixing a belay (either on the rock or with a snow picket) and the rest were following up. We needed to rope extensions and two belay points in order to reach the top of this pick.

Read complete Trip review with many more photos and route description here:


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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