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Orpheus Climb Mount Olympus

15th Sep 2022 - 19th Sep 2022

5 days/Greece /Challenging

Overview

This challenging 3-day trek and climb in the ‘home of the Greek gods’ is a great opportunity to experience Greece’s rugged, beautiful and tough mountain landscapes and uncover the ancient myths and legends.

You will carry your own kit each day which creates an additional challenge so suitable fitness training is required.

This trip is more than just a trek if you intend to summit the highest point on Mt Olympus, Mytikas. To reach the summit you will scramble up an exposed, steep, rocky slope while roped up in teams so a head for heights is a must. It’s a real adventure and this scramble is a highlight for most people! If you have a phobia of heights, you can opt out of the summit climb and wait for the team to return however there are also many areas along the trail which are exposed and steep.

You are recommended to conduct your fitness training on similar terrain, and to gain some experience of scrambling in the UK, with the support of a guide, to familiarise yourself with this type of climbing.

This trek is classified as challenging for someone of a good level of fitness. You will carry your own kit each day (your backpack could weigh 10-12kg), the terrain is rough, steep in places, hilly and scrambling over rocky areas is necessary. There are some narrow and exposed areas along the trail.

This trek is classified as ‘challenging’ for someone of a good level of fitness. You will carry your own kit each day (your backpack could weigh 10-12kg), the terrain is rough, steep in places, hilly and scrambling over rocky areas is necessary. There are some narrow and exposed areas along the trail.
You are recommended to be comfortable with heights, and if you wish to attempt Mytikas summit, have previous scrambling experience. The ascent up to the summit is considered a Grade 1-2 scramble (UK grade) or a Class III scramble (Yosemite Decimal System) which includes scrambling with increased exposure and where handholds may be needed frequently. A rope and helmets will be provided locally for your safety. If you wish to attempt Mytikas summit you should arrive in Greece with previous experience of scrambling and an adventurous spirit. Reaching the summit of Mytikas is a thrilling and unforgettable experience so you’re recommended to come prepared to tackle this summit (weather permitting).
You will stay in basic accommodation on the mountain and the climate is changeable. Each day you will trek for approximately 7 hours (depending on group pace) and you will cover approximately 5 miles/8km.

This trek is accompanied by professional English-speaking local guides who have an excellent knowledge of the mountain, and a Different Travel Company UK tour manager. All staff members are first aid trained.

You must be fit and healthy for this challenge and prepared to carry your own kit throughout the entire trek. Porters are not available so you must be able to carry a backpack weighing more than 10kg.
You are suggested to start your fitness training as soon as possible after booking your place (at least 6 months before departure), to ensure your best chance of success and enjoyment on the challenge. Hill walking while carrying a heavy backpack should form a major part of your training as this will most closely replicate the trek and be the best way to prepare your body for the terrain involved.
If you wish to attempt Mytikas summit, scrambling experience is strongly recommended. The Lake District, Snowdonia and many areas of Scotland are great places to try out scrambling, with the support of an experienced local climbing guide. You should try to gain experience of scrambling while roped up in teams to prepare yourself for the climb to the summit of Mytikas. If you arrive in Greece without scrambling experience, you may find the summit attempt of Mytikas daunting, however rest assured that this summit is optional so you may wait at the base of the climb for the team’s return.
Increasing your cardiovascular fitness and endurance along with your core and leg strength will benefit you greatly. Hill walking and scrambling training can be complemented with running, cycling, gym workouts, boot camps etc. You can download a number of free apps which will help you train and track your progress. E.g. MapMyWalk, C25K (couch to 5k run), MyFitnessPal etc. Please take your training seriously. If you attempt to complete the challenge without adequate training it will make the trip unnecessarily difficult and may hinder your experience, and the experience of your teammates.

Before and after the trek you will stay in a hotel in Thessaloniki, in en-suite twin or triple rooms (single rooms may be possible subject to availability and payment of a single supplement). Depending on flight times, you may to transfer to Litochoro upon arrival and stay in a rural guesthouse instead of Thessaloniki. During the trek you will stay in basic mountain refuges, in mixed gender dormitory style bedrooms. Blankets are provided at the refuges.

At the accommodation before and after the trek, there will be showers and flushing toilets. At the mountain refuges the facilities are very basic with no showers. Toilets are shared and may be composting rather than flushing. You are recommended to bring a small pack of biodegradable baby wipes to maintain personal hygiene.

While trekking in a mountainous region you need to be prepared for extremely changeable weather conditions. Mount Olympus experiences high levels of precipitation which falls as snow from November to May and as rain and hail from June to October. The temperature decreases as you ascend, and you can expect highs of 30°C and lows of 5°C but this of course varies greatly due to unpredictable weather patterns. Mount Olympus experiences frequent strong winds and lightning storms therefore the trekking days usually start very early to avoid the worst of the weather. It is possible to see some patches of snow remaining on the slopes even in mid-summer.
Please note that although the conditions mentioned are historically accurate, we cannot be held responsible for deviations.

You must arrive in Greece with good quality kit and equipment and be able to manage yourself while trekking (e.g. keeping hydrated, avoiding hunger, maintaining a steady pace). You should bring high quality non-cotton technical clothing (including very good quality shell waterproofs which do not leak) and broken-in boots (e.g. Gore-Tex or eVent) to ensure maximum comfort and safety while trekking. Please refer to the kit list for advice. You should bring layers which you can adjust depending on the climate. Please pack light! You are responsible for carrying all your kit yourself. You do not need a fresh outfit for each day.

Greek food is packed with Mediterranean flavour and makes use of vegetables, salads, meat (especially lamb), wine, olives and olive oil and cheese (particularly feta). Vegetarians and vegans can be catered for if you request this in advance.
During the trek your meals will vary but a typical breakfast could be bread with butter, honey, jams and cheese with hot tea and coffee. Lunch will either be packed (such as sandwiches, biscuits, fruit, eggs, etc.) or will be taken at the refuge. Meals at the refuge may include pasta, soup, salad, bread, cheese, stews, sausages, potatoes etc.

The terrain is mountainous so there are lots of uphill and downhill, steep and flat areas. Underfoot you will find rocky trails, uneven forest terrain, scree and slate. You may walk over some snow or ice-covered ground depending on the weather conditions at the time. It is critical that your training includes hill walking on various gradients while carrying a heavy backpack. Trekking poles are recommended. Scrambling experience is highly recommended and having a head for heights is very important.
On trek day 2 you will attempt to climb some of the summits of Mount Olympus which involves scrambling over steep, rough and rocky terrain. Please note that in the interest of safety, weather conditions will dictate the peaks you can climb. If conditions allow an attempt of Mytikas peak, it is strongly recommended that you arrive in Greece with prior experience of scrambling and that you are comfortable with heights, as it is very exposed. This summit is optional but it’s an absolutely fantastic experience, so it is recommended!

You must be at least 18 years old to participate on this trek unaccompanied. It may be possible for you to participate if you are 16 or 17 years old, but you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is no upper age limit.
The trek can be undertaken by anyone with a good level of fitness, who is healthy and determined. Adequate preparation, planning and training is important because the fitter you are the more you will enjoy this experience. An ideal candidate would be a hill walker, an open-minded person with a sense of adventure or someone who would like to take part in a challenging and life-changing fundraising experience in the beautiful Greek countryside.

We require a medical form to be completed by everyone upon registering, and any pre-existing conditions, medications used and other medical issues must be specified. All your medical details are treated in the strictest confidence.
The information will be securely screened by a qualified medical professional, and details provided to your tour manager and local guides so our staff are adequately informed and prepared to support you during the trip. By completing this booking form you are giving consent for us to contact you confidentially with any follow up questions regarding your health.
If you declare any medical conditions you may be asked to provide more information, or we may request to contact your GP. We must be informed if any conditions or medication change, or if new conditions develop. If necessary confirmation of fitness to travel from your GP or specialist may be required.
In the event that your medical issues represent a concern for your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of others in the group, you may be recommended not to take part. If this happens your deposit will be refunded. Please note that we will never unreasonably deny participation on a trip nor contravene the Equality Act 2010.

Essentials

E-tickets + pre-departure info
Passport + copy
Travel Insurance info + EHIC card
Pen for immigration forms
Cash (£ Sterling) / ATM card(s)
Head torch + spare batteries
Adaptor 2 round pins (Euro)
Sunglasses (100% UV)
Camera + spare batteries
Mobile phone + charger
Walking pole(s)

Clothing & Footwear

Hiking boots*
Slippers/Crocs/sandals for refuge
Casual clothes for non-trek days
Non-cotton trek socks + trek underwear
Non-cotton long sleeve base layer
Non-cotton t-shirt
Long sleeve warm layer/light fleece
Lightweght trek trousers
Waterproof jacket + trousers
Gloves
Warm hat
Sun hat
Buff multifunctional headwear
Casual clothes/travel clothes

Hygiene

Shampoo + conditioner*
Toothbrush + toothpaste*
Antiperspirant deodorant*
Wet wipes*
Toilet paper (1-2 rolls)*
Sun cream (high SPF)*
Hand sanitizer
Feminine hygiene products*

First Aid Kit
Prescription medicine
50% DEET insect repellent
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
Plasters
Blister plasters (e.g. Compeed)
Imodium (Loperamide)
Rehydration (e.g. Dioralyte)
Muscle rub (tiger balm/Deep Heat)
Anti-histamine tablets/cream
Antiseptic cream (e.g. Savlon)
Lip balm with SPF protection
Scissors/tweezers (optional)
Indigestion remedy (optional)
Zinc oxide tape 
Spare glasses/contact lenses

Optional

Portable charger (optional)
Video camera (optional)
iPod/MP3 player
Diary/notebook and pen

Luggage

Suitcase or kit bag (for flight)
Backpack (45-50 litres)
Small hand luggage
Waterproof dry bag(s)
Combination Padlock
Luggage organisers (optional)

Eating and Drinking

Energy snacks
3x 1-litre water bottles or
2-litre water bottle (e.g. CamelBak)
1-litre standard water bottle
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. NUUN)

Sleeping

Ear plugs (essential)
Silk sleeping bag liner
Pyjamas (use spare base laters)

Please note: This list is just a guideline and is not exhaustive. The items on this list do not take into account your personal preferences based on your previous trekking experience, or individual requirements. For information about items on this list please refer to the trip dossier or contact The Different Travel Company on info@different-travel.com

*Please ensure you pack your hiking boots into your hand baggage in the unlikely event your checked luggage goes missing or is delayed.

*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options. Consider shopping at Little Footprint Gifts.

Itinerary

Day 1 (Thursday 15 September 2022):

London – Thessaloniki
Depart London for Thessaloniki and transfer to our hotel. We will have a welcome dinner and a pre-trek briefing this evening. If flight times permit, we will transfer to the village of Litochoro and stay in a rural guesthouse overnight.
Meals: Dinner

Day 2 (Friday 16 September 2022):

Thessaloniki – Prionia – Refuge A (2,100m)
After breakfast we transfer to the trailhead at Prionia (approx. 2 hours), where we begin our trek at an attitude of 1,100m. The trail is one of the most frequented on the mountain and forms part of the E4, a 10,450km walking trail across Europe. The trail winds its way thick forests of pine, beech and fir, on well-maintained but fairly steep paths uphill almost all the way. It takes roughly 4 hours to reach our first overnight refuge, Refuge A (Spilos Agapitos), our base for the night.
Trekking approx. 4 hours. 4 miles/6.5km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3 (Saturday 17 September 2022):

Refuge A – Summit (2,917m) – Plateau of Muses (2,700m)
After breakfast we follow a zigzag path which delivers us just below the main summits of this mighty mountain.
There are two options today, depending on the weather conditions and the group’s ability. If possible, we will attempt to summit Mytikas peak which, at 2,917m, is the highest in Greece. This involves an 800m ascent which takes around 4-5 hours of trekking. You will traverse narrow paths; some quite exposed and then have approximately 150m of scrambling. You will be roped up to your guide, and helmets and harnesses will be provided for safety. You can opt out of the scramble and wait at the base of the climb for the team to summit and return.
Alternatively, we can aim for the stunning Skala and Skolio peaks. Starting with an ascent of Skala (2882m) we cross a narrow ridge to take us up to Skolio peak, just slightly lower than the highest point at a lofty 2,911m. We descend along a spectacular path underneath Stefani Peak (the third major peak of Olympus, the Throne of Zeus), before emerging onto the Muse’s alpine plateau to reach our small refuge in Kakkalos, Refuge C.
Trekking approx. 6-7 hours. 4.2 miles/6.8km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4 (Sunday 18 September 2022):

Plateau of Muses – Gortsia – Thessaloniki
We start today with an ascent of Profitis Ilias peak, situated just behind the refuge. From the top we can enjoy amazing views of the summits of Mount Olympus. We descend for approximately two hours until we reach the refuge of the Hellenic Rescue Team, Petrostougka (1940m), where we will have our lunch. After lunch we continue our descent to Gortsia, a further 3 hours of walking, where our vehicle will transfer us back to Thessaloniki for our overnight stay (2 hours’ drive).
Trekking approx. 5-6 hours. 6.6 miles/10km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 (Monday 19 September 2022):

Thessaloniki – London
Depending on flight times you will have some free time before heading to the airport for the return flight to London.
Meals: Breakfast

Note: The day-to-day program is subject to flight schedules, weather, general conditions, ability of the group and other factors. While we do not expect to make changes to the itinerary, we cannot be held responsible for changes made due to unexpected circumstances. The safety and health of the group takes priority in all circumstances.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £315
Sponsorship: £2200

SPONSORSHIP

This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • The minimum sponsorship must be paid to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.

What's included

  • Return flights from London (inc. current taxes and fuel surcharges)
  • Transfers and transport in Greece
  • Accommodation in a hotel in Thessaloniki before and after the trek (or a guesthouse in Litochoro before the trek) (2 nights)
  • Refuges during the trek (2 nights)
  • All meals as specified
  • Local mountain guides
  • Safety equipment for attempting Mytikas summit
  • Different Travel UK tour manager.

What's not included

  • Transport to/from UK airport
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips (€35-40pp)
  • Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, souvenirs etc.)
  • Vaccinations

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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