Route: Kosi Profitis Ilias - Kopsi Barbala Loop (Olympus, Greece)

Submitted by Greg1124 on Sun, 11/12/2023 - 09:04am
23.1 km
Vertical Gain
2,610 m

The route described below is one of several routes in Olympus (Greece) that are somewhere at the intersection of running, hiking and rock climbing, so all of these skills are needed. 

Kopsi Profitis Ilias is one of ridges that lead to the mayor peaks of Mount Olympus (Greece). Kopsi in Greek language  means ‘ridge’. Other more or less known ‘kopsis’ on Olympus are K. Barbalas, K. Xerolaki (Naoum), K. Skolio and K. Christakis. This kopsis are not frequently climbed. The approach is not always obvious and they are all on steep and demanding terrain. The elevation gain varies from about 1500 to 2500 m, from bottom till top. Barbalas and KPI have a 2500 m gain. KPI is the most challenging of all this kopsis. 

When we prepared for KPI our first challenge was to find valuable information: route description or gpx files, information about the rock climbing sections (difficulties, bolting, how to find, etc.), testimonials/ reports, estimations of timing and – related to this – what gear to take (without bivy or with, sleeping bag? , 1/2/3days food and water?, hardware/ropes? From the little information we had we considered that there were roughly two options, with consequences for the gear to take with us. First option would be the one bivy+ one night refuge option. For this option we would need a lot of equipment to carry. The other option would be the lighter version. Climbing in one day + sleeping in the hut and return the second day. In English language there was no information. We found online the perfect Greek booklet of Vasilis Mamouris about some unknown routes on Olympus, with a description and picture with indication of KPI and we were very happy.

But when we translated the information in English (Google translate) we were not able to figure out how much time it would take us and if all the climbing sections were real climbing sections with rope or rather scrambling. For us this was important information. When big part of the rock sections would be accessible without rope we would gain a lot of time. And less time would mean less weight. Which would again make us faster.

The route  desctipted below consists of two sections:
1st. uphill from Agia Triada (380m) to Prifitis Ilias Peak (2788m), which is technicaly very difficoult, have some (short) rock climbing section - so you have to take climbing equipement with you. No path, no markings in higher section.
2nd. downhill from Profitis Ilias back to Agia Triada with Kopsi (ridge) Barbala, which has no technical dificoulties and partly is quite comfortable and runable path. 

Amazing views all along the course!

More information about this route on RunninGreece wbesite