Gkiona - Plaka Sykias - W. Face

Michailidi - Leontiadi

Rock, Mixed, Traditional

The first ascent of the route "Michailidi - Leontiadi" (VI-, 1100m) was realized on 26-27/10/1959 by G. Michailidis - L. Leontiadis with one bivouac and it was the first climb on Plaka Sykias.

The line is the most classic of the classic ones on Hellenic Mountains. The huge elevation (1100m), the very good quality of rock, the reasonable difficulty and the easy approach that characterize the route, make it one of the most popular and favorite choices of ambitious climbers.

Protection: Until the terrace all the belays and some pitons; after the terrace only the first two belays

Equipment: 2x50m ropes, a set of nuts, friends and optionally pitons

Approach: From the playfield of Sykia village begins (right next to the spring) a marked footpath leading to Lazorema and Vathia Laka. You can see the Face just in front of you. At the point where the path, moving at first toward the Face, turns left for Lazorema, you go on following the water groove of the gully that comes from the base of the Face. A bit later, follow the characteristic right ledge, above the water groove of the gully, and it will take you to its base. Cross the base leftwards, up to the belay station. Until that point, total approach time comes up to 1h and 15min. Instead of following the ledge you can alternatively move along the water groove of the gully, up to exactly under the base of the Face, in front of a characteristic cave. In that case though, a pitch of 50m is required.

Return: The route ends up on a big diagonal ramp that crosses the Face (Michailidis' ramp). From that point, you either go on until the ridge and then you follow the route Ridge - Laka before the summit Pyramida - Vathia Laka - Spring Haliki - Lazorema - Sykia, or you descend the ramp and you find the marked path of Lazorema - Sykia. The second option, though it is faster, is only recommended if one of the climbers of the rope team is familiar with the area.

Time: An experienced climbing party may climb Plaka Sykias to the top and return back in the same day (10-12 hours). Many climbers spend the night on the terrace, right after passing the difficult parts.

Season: From June to October. It is a west Face and during the afternoon hours of the warm days, things begin to be somehow unpleasant.

The lower part of the route:

R1: Climb an easy pitch (III+) up to the tree.

R2: Climb up above the tree, onto a ramp, slantwise to the right, until the slab. At that point you can build a belay (35m) in case you have placed too many pros and the ropes left are not enough. In the opposite case, just continue on the slab (VI), to the right, for another 10m and at the end of it, after 5 more meters, you will find a bolt for your belay (50m from the tree).

R3: Downclimb a bit and follow the second dihedral to the right (V+), at the end of which traverse to the left. A very sentient pitch. The belay is built on the bolt.

R4: Above R3 there is a dihedral with a piton. Just ignore it. The route passes to the left slab and continues above a slight overhang (VI-). The belay is built on the bolt.

R5: Continue straight up on the layback crack (VI-) and then slightly to the right. Attention: at the end of the crack, to the left, on the wall, the pitons belong to "Diagonios". The belay is built below a characteristic tree, on the bolt.

R6: To the right of a fir, in a loose crack-corner, you will find a sere fir and a bolt for the belay. At 4m to the right lies the belay of the route "Hloi".

R7: Go straight up the dihedral with the little trees, at the end of which you will find yourself at the base of the characteristic overhanging triangle (visible also from Sykia village). The belay is common with "Hloi"'s (possibility of returning from "Hloi" - requires 6 rappels).

R8: Traverse to the left, where you pass through a plateau and build the belay on a fir.

R9: Follow the gully - corner up to the terrace. From the terrace, you can return from its left end, where you will find an organized 50m rappel leading to a mountain slope with firs. From that point traverse a bit to the left and you will happen on the path of Karagiannis.

The upper part of the route:

Begin from the high - last one to the right - cone of loose stones.

R1: The first pitch starts with some easy climbing (V-), to the left of the characteristic right fissure and after 8m it enters into a frictionless corner (V-, run-out), to the left of an overhang. At the point where the corner ends, build the belay on the bolt.

R2: Follow the characteristic chimney (V-), that, after 10m, leads to a ledge and then continue straight up for another 25m, on a big crack (IV+), on the slab found exactly above the ledge. Build the belay on the bolt.

R3: Traverse - easily - onto screes for 25m and then continue on a crack (IV) that will take you to some trees - bushes, where the belay is built.

R4: Follow the easy field on your right side. It leads to an easy corner (IV-). Build the belay at the point where the corner ends.

R5: Go on straight, passing under characteristic overhangs, then continue to the right for 15m, and build the belay at the base of the easy field.

R6: Keep going straight (IV+) on the easy field and a bit to the right.

R7: Straight, on a fissure (V-), on a slab. Build the belay on the characteristic fir. From that point you can put on your trekking shoes and move generally diagonally and leftwards, through a system of easy chimneys (max IV+), easy field (max III+) and arêtes, all the way to the ramp. Basically, it is an easy field of maximum rating IV/IV+.

The upper part of the route

The lower part of the route

Source: P. Athanasiadis, Anevenontas i. 13 & i. 63, Korfes i. 140, D. Mavropoulos
Translation: E. Katsikerou
Editing: Routes.gr
Area: Gkiona
Location: Plaka Sykias
Published: 2003-05-01
Modified: 2020-09-16