Taygetus, is a mountain range in the Peloponnese peninsula in Southern Greece. The highest mountain of the range is Mount Taygetus, also known as the “Profitis Ilias”, or “Prophet Elias”. The name is one of the oldest recorded in Europe, appearing in the Odyssey. In classical mythology, it was associated with the nymph Taygete. During Byzantine times and up until the 19th century, the mountain was also known as “Pentadaktylos” which means “five fingers” in Greek. The name was related to the 5 peaks of the mountain range.
At certain point, we came across a sign which was indicating the crossroad of multiple trails. One trail was heading directly to the mountain hut of mount Taygetos which happens to be the E4 trail path and the other trail was towards the location of Livadi. We followed the one that was leading to Livadi, where we have spent the night.
Although our backpacks were very heady with all equipment and more than 5 litres of water each, we have managed to reach Livadi within 1 hour and 45 minutes since our departure from Anavriti village. We had to carry so much water, because for almost 2 days we would not have access to any water feature. It was almost dark when we have reached Livadi and therefore we have set up very soon our shelters. For this trip, I was carrying my Hilleberg Akto tent because I wanted to have minimum weight and volume within my Lowe Alpine Cholatse II backpack.
Just before entering into the Hilleberg Akto I wanted to watch the night sky and it was simply beautiful. I wish the camera of my phone (that I take all photos) could capture this mystical experience the Taygetus’ night sky had to offer. Having watched the starts for sometime, I entered in my Cumulus Panyam 600 and I had a pleasant sleep till around 6 a.m.
About 8 hours since our departure, we have managed to reach the refuge of Mount Taygetos.
Taygetos Alpinists Refuge – Varvara, is located at 1550m. altitude just beneath the mountains highest peak, Profitis Elias. The refuge was built in 1962 by the local Mountaineering Club as the previous refuge was destroyed during WW2. The access is via a rough dirt road, which become even harder during winter, or via the trail from Magganiaris Springs. The building is equiped with a heating, bunk beds for up to 26 people, blankets and a kitchen. In order to spend the night there, you will have to make prior arrangement with the local Mountaineering Club. Recently, the mountain hut was equipped with solar panels and there is also electricity.
It was an amazing day, full of beautiful peaks, breathtaking views and a great feeling of having complete such a route.
For more photos and complete story, visit here: https://olympusmountaineering.wordpress.com/2018/09/10/taygetus-mountain-crossing-pentadaktylos-five-fingers-anavriti-tsarkos-spanakaki-sidirokastro-athanati-rachi-profitis-elias-eos-refuge/