Summer holiday, day 6
|09.07.2021||Psili Korifi||1589m||1514m||Lefkada, Greece|
Continued from day 5…
Saturday: The main day was here! Today, we were to ascend an “ultra”. In the peak bagging world, an ultra-mountain is a mountain that has a prominence of at least 1500 meters. In other words, such a mountain has at least 1500 meters in contours completely encircling the mountain.
My friends Petter Bjørstad and Rob Woodall had ascended this peak back in 2010/2011 and I made good sure to read their reports thoroughly. This would be a step up from the tops we had hiked so far on Lefkada island.
The first goal was to locate the village Monastiraki – south of the town Vonitsa. I don’t really know the difference between towns and villages in Greece. Please don’t hold me accountable where I go astray.
According to Petter and Rob, the key was to locate the local soccer field and in the southwest corner look for a signpost sending us in the right direction. The soccer field is quite easy to spot on Google Earth and this is the signpost you want to look for. When you see it, turn right!
The mountain soon comes into view…
From here, we followed the mountain road towards the Moni Panagias Romvou monastery – approx. 1050m. One can drive all the way up, but I decided to park at the bottom of the road leading to the monastery – at approx. 800m. The main reason was a tire alert which I made disappear the day before by pumping more air into the tire, hoping it just happened to go low right then and there, rather than having a leak. A tow-away truck (if needed) would have an easier job at the foot of the hill…
And then we headed up the road, on our way to Psili Korifi – our first Ultra Mountain in Greece. This would also be our first peak on the Greece mainland. We had done tops on Crete, on Rhodes and on Lefkada, but never on the mainland.
We passed the monastery, turned right and left the main road. We were now on our way up some switchbacks along something that can be called a dirt road for cars beyond rescue. This dirt road turned into a path that we followed into the valley.
It wasn’t quite clear to us then, but they key was just to aim for the one and only wind turbine we could see from the forest. These turbines weren’t around back in 2010/2011, so there’s no wonder Petter and Rob didn’t mention them.
Eventually, we topped out on a ridge just below the road between the wind turbines.
We got back on the mountain road and followed it all the way to the last turbine.
At the last turbine, we found a track that we followed up to the ridge leading to the high point. We had some good views on our way up the mountain.
A little bit later, we reached the top. What had felt like a big project to begin with wasn’t any harder than any hike I do in the weekends. But it’s in a foreign country and the temperature is way above what we’re used to. As such, still exotic!
In any case, we were very happy about reaching the top. This hike wasn’t guaranteed, given recent forecast mentioning thunder and lightning.
According to the maps I had seen, the summit height was 1589m. But my GPS showed 1557m. What? Well, I would have to deal with that later. Now, we just wanted to get off the mountain and get back home to the hotel.
Anne wasn’t too keen on returning the way we came. The forest had offered a whole lot of scree and Anne was hoping for a descent along firmer ground. She suggested that we should follow the road between the turbines and then take an off-trail short-cut.
And so we did. At first, this off-trail short-cut didn’t look too friendly, but on closer inspection the route was quite alright. Anne was very happy about this!
Back on the mountain road, we concluded that it’s possible to drive all the way up to 1400m, making the ascent of Psili Korifi quite an easy task! At least we didn’t see any signs prohibiting driving up the road.
Back in Nydri, it was time for a swim in the sea and yet another dinner at Kalypso. At this moment in time, we congratulated ourselves about having bagged yet another Ultra, but something didn’t feel right.
Back in Norway, I consulted with my friend Petter. Peakbagger.com has 1589m as height for this mountain, and there’s no other mountain site I have more faith in. But Peakbagger’s own map shows 1567m! Which is not terrible far from my own GPS reading of 1557m. Petter said he would do research on this. As the prominence is 1514m – only 14m above the “magic height”, the mountain can’t really lose a lot of height before it drops from the Ultra list to the RIBU-list (prominence > 1000m).
In any case, it was a fun hike!
Trip statistics: 16km, 1150 vertical meters, 5h:23m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP) from the visit:
Continued on day 7 & 8