Walking in the White Mountains

Presenting some photos of people walking in the White Mountains might help the viewers to picture themselves there.

The photos were taken over a long period of time (from late 1990's) and span film as well as five generations of digital cameras so the quality is quite variable.

 

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  • Reaching the saddle below the summit of Spathi. We were coming from the mountain hut of Volikas. The slope to the saddle is quite steep at times and it was a little icy which is why we were using ropes. The bay of Souda, the peninsula of Akrotiri and Chania airport are clearly visible in the background.
  • A big group from several Cretan and Athens mountaineering clubs on a 3 days winter crossing of the White Mountains. We had come more or less straight up from Petradhe to the western summit of Pachnes. A long climb when you are carrying food and camping gear for three days.
  • On the final ridge to the western summit of Pachnes. The rest of our big group is already at the summit.
  • A big group from several Cretan and Athens mountaineering clubs on a 3 days winter crossing of the White Mountains. We are walking between the western summit of Pachnes and the main summit. It is linked by a long ridge (with a big drop in between as you can see on the left of the image) which becomes a huge snow cornice in winter.
  • After driving up on the dirt road that leads to the White Mountains from Anopolis and stopping at the snow (in winter it is generally at the tree line) we were heading up towards the Ammoutsera valley on snowshoes. Note the island of Gavdos clearly visible in the sea.
  • Coming back from the valley of Ammoutsera and heading out of the mountains towards the tree line
  • Arriving at Roussies on the way to Pachnes
  • Descending a slope in Chorafas Korfi. This small (just under 2000m) summit is located to the South-East of Troharis (or to the South-West of the Ammoutsera valley)
  • Walking along a snow cornice in Chorafas Korfi. This small (just under 2000m) summit is located to the South-East of Troharis (or to the South-West of the Ammoutsera valley)
  • Descending a snow slope in Chorafas Korfi
  • Descending from Chorafas Korfi towards the valley of Ammoutsera (which is right behind the central hill in the image)
  • The long slope leading up to the summit of Psilafi is easily accessible (it starts at the road end in Xyloskala) and provides fantastic views of Gingilos (to the right, mainly out of the picture), the gorge of Samaria (below where I am standing) as well as the central Whte Mountains and the summit of Pachnes. It can be dangerous in poor visibility (and beware, clouds can arrive really quickly on this mountain!) as the ridge follows a big vertical drop to the South.
  • A difficult descent on scree and stony ground from the summit of Sternes straight down to the path that links Roussies and the end of the shepherd's road from Anopolis. The summit in the centre of the photo is Troharis
  • Preparing to cross a steep snow field in spring. Snow will stay on the sun-protected slopes until sometime in June
  • Crossing a snow field in spring. These will stay on the sun-protected slopes until sometime in June.
  • Walking up towards the summit of Pachnes on new snow in early November
  • Standing on one of the last snow patches at the saddle just below the summit of Pachnes. Being South facing it ought to have melted a while back but what probably happened is that a huge snow drift built up just below the saddle (snow blown from the North by prevailing winds) and the sheer quantities of snow prevented it from melting any earlier.
  • Fog is what the shepherds fear most in the White Mountains. This is understansable as fog will strip the High Desert of most of its features and unless you have a GPS (and shepeherds don't) you will have no idea where you are and where to head to.
  • A lone figure in the High Desert on the final slope up to the summit Pachnes, It isalready quite late in the afternoon which is why the mountains are taking a pinkish / orange hue.
  • Our shadows as we walk up towards Pachnes in late afternoon
  • Taking a break on the saddle north of Kakovoli to take a look at the map
  • On the descent from the summit of Melindaou (towards Kallergi and Omalos) you can see many mountain and hill ridges all the way to the western end of the island.
  • Standing on a rocky ledge just below the western summit of Pachnes. You get good views of the valley of Potamos, Petradhe, the gorge of Samaria (in th left of the image) as well as the summit of Melindaou (highest in the middle of the picture). On a clear day (mainly in winter) you might even see as far as the mountains of Taygetos on the Peloponnese.
  • Heading back from a walk to Gingilos. This is photographed through the big rock arch.
  • The spectacular rock arch on the way to Gingilos is very much a feature of the walk
  • This rock arch is located in a very remote area below the summit of Svourichti (at an altitude of around 2000m) and very few people have ever seen it or are aware of its existence
  • This rock arch is located in a very remote area below the summit of Svourichti (at an altitude of around 2000m) and very few people have ever seen it or are aware of its existence. The summit (in the clouds) in the background is Agio Pnevma.
  • Descending Svourichti in difficult ground (and a lot steeper than it looks in this wide-angle image) heading towards the North-West, trying to rejoin the route between Askyfou and Katsivelli. This route passes in the valley at the foot of Agio Pnevma (summit on the left) and heads towards the saddle (in the middle of the image with Grias Soros on the right).
  • A group of walkers descending Pachnes in summer. The summit oin the right of the photo is Troharis, the second highest summit in the White Mountains.
  • A group of walkers descending Pachnes in summer
  • Passing on a small ridge that links the two summits of Gingilos. Several summits of the central White Mountains are clearly visible from there: Agio Pnevma, Svourichti, Grias Soros, Modaki, Mesa Soros and Pachnes.
  • Descending the scree slope below the saddle of Gingilos in rainy, cloudy weather
  • On the path that links Agios Ioannis and Potamos. You ascend to 1900m before descending into the valley of Potamos
  • Traversing an area of sinkholes South of Pachnes (that's the summit behind with the horizontal white band of rock) heading towards Zaranokefala. This is a weird and wonderful landscape, not quite of this earth.
  • To the South-West of Pachnes (visible as the summit with the white band going across) there is an interesting area of sinkholes. You can pick a way through them when there is no snow but I don't think that I would like to walk here in the winter.

 

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Crete photo of the day
Crete Photo of the Day