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near Kaloí Lákkoi, Crete (Greece)
Lefka Ori ( White Mountains ), Amutsara-Tafkos Lagkonias Chasm-Rusies Mtn Pass-Pachnes 2453m-Gavala 2370m.
Route to the highest peak of Lefka Ori, Pachnes 2453m, second highest mountain in Crete Island. The mountain presents unique alpine landscapes that are often better described as alpine desert or lunar like. These landscapes are unique to the Greek Mountains, even to those situated in Crete Island.
The mountain comprises 58 peaks that are over 2000m.
( Το κείμενο είναι γραμμένο στην Αγλλική. Τυχόν περίεργες λέξεις ή φράσεις χωρίς νόημα, οφείλονται στην αυτόματη μετάφραση απο τα Αγγλικά στα Ελληνικά ).
Lefka Ori mountain ( White Mountains ) ( also known as Madares ( Μαδάρες ) in Crete ), is the second highest in Crete Island and 10th highest in Greece. The view from the highest peaks is spectacular, offering view to the Aegean Sea at the North and the South Cretan Sea at the same time.
E4 main route crosses Lefka Ori from the NW to SW and splits in two sections, one that reaches Anopolis Village and another that reaches Amoudari Village at Askyfou Plateau. This route matches- partially, the former.
This particular route's starting point is Ammoutsara, a plateau at 1840m elevation. A winding dirt road starting off at Anopolis village concludes at 2000m ( total distance 18 km ), near Rusies Mtn pass and passes by this plateau. Be aware that this is a difficult dirt road. It is not suitable for plain cars with little to middle ground clearance.
The route is well marked and presents no technical difficulties.
There is no fountain at any point on the route, make sure you carry all the water you will be needing.
The route could be summarized to the following sections:
01. Amoutsara Plateau 1840m-Rusies Mtn Pass 2140m.
The route covers 1.3 km on the dirt road and continues on marked trail. There are two entrances to the trail ( the route enters at the second and exits from the first ). It soon passes by a chasm opening ( Tafkos Lagkonias ) and continues it's ascent reaching again the dirt road just before it's highest point at 2000m. Covering some 20m on it ( we come across two trail entrances again ), it continues again it's ascent to Rusies Mtn Pass.
02. Rusies Mtn Pass 2140m - Pachnes 2453m.
The markings are less frequent but the trail is very clear and it's track does not deviate. Admiring the unique landscape of white Mountains, passing by several dolines and enjoying the contrast of the light brown ground to the blue sea at the background we reach Pachnes summit.
03. Optional deviation to Gavalas peak 2370m. The route descents back to the starting point following the same route. However at 2300m elevation an easy off trail ascent reaches Gavala peak at 2370m.
More information could be obtained through the text at the waypoints.
Total Distance 13.1 km.
Altitude Gain + 820m.
If you are up to the Crete's four highest mountains challenge, links to gps tracks can be found here:
1. Idi Mt 2456m
2. Lefka Ori 2453m
3. Dikti 2148m
4. Volakias 2116m
to be uploaded
Plateau at 1840m elevation. Starting point of the route. Lunar landscape.
The dirt road concludes at 2010 m elevation.
The trail follows the dirtroad for 20m to the West.
At 1890m elevation leave the dirtroad and continue on marked trail with red and white markings. West barring. The trail traverses and after passing by a chasm ascends on a ridge.
At 35.28952N, 24.06654E
Continue on the dirt road, NW barring for 1.3 km. The dirt road that ascents from Anopoli Village to 2000m elevation near Rousies plateau is difficult for plain cars. Only suitable for off road vehicles. Red and white markings since at this point the Anopoli-Rusies trail follows the dirtroad.
The trail passes by the ridge of a doline and continues SW.
At 35.29508N, 24.04571E
The trail encircles the doline from the North. A lesser trail encircles it from the South. 2170m.
The first of the two entrances to the trail that leads to Rousies Mtn Pass. Densely marked on Red and white colour.
Gavala peak 2370m.
At 35.29201N, 24.04394E
The trail passes at the ridge of another doline at the north base of Gavala Peak. Many Dolines in Lefka Ori hold snowpatches even until late summer.
At 35.29365N, 24.04430E
Optional off trail linkage to the main trail. Follow the ridgeline that turns North.
Pacnes Peak at 2454m elevation. Highest peak at the highest Mountain in Crete Island.
Clear marked trail that leads to Pachnes Summit. The trail forstlky ascends on the ridge and the traverses from the North.
Rousies Mtn Pass at 2140m. Trail Crossroad. The one heads North towards Katsiveli Hut. The other Heads West towards Pachnes Sunnit.
Rousies Plateau at 2140m. A small hut with a locked well. A few meters ahead the Rusies Mtn Pass.
At 35.29498N, 24.05191E
The trail traverses a 5m scree. A fixed rope offers protection. Continue on the marked trail.
At 35.28950N, 24.06849E
The older entrance to the trail, a newer one has been marked recently a few meters to the East.
At 35.29021N, 24.05676E
Small stone wall shelter just a few meters away from Pachnes peak that protects from fierce Northern winds that are frequent in Lefka Ori (White Mountains).
The marked trail passes through a rock formation. A few a stairs. Continue West on a small traverse and then a small steep ascent towards the dirtroad.
At 35.28959N, 24.05888E
Tafkos Lagkonias Chasm. Continue on west barring on a small ridge. / Σπηλαιοβάραθρο Τάφκος της Λαγκωνιάς.. Συνεχίζουμε Δυτικά σε μικρή ράχη.
At 35.28911N, 24.06436E
Trail point at 2210m elevation. We get visual with Pachnes summit for the first time on the route.
The additional trail section concludes on the dirtroad.
At 35.28927N, 24.07033E
The trail continues Westwards and crosses a small ridge perpendicularly. 2340m.
Option to cover some distance back to the starting point via trail.
Point on the trail at 2085m elevation.
Point on the trail traversing Gavala peak from the North. 2290m elevation.
The trail continues Westwards. Small one man shelter inside a small cave on a rock.
The trail passes by scattered rocks and continues Westwards.
The trail reaches a small section on a broad ridge East of Pacnes Peak at 2390m elevation. The trail continues West for it's final ascent to Pachnes.
The final ascent for Pachnes Peak.
Viewing point towards Volakias Mountain and Samaria and Elygia Gorges ( only their outlines are visible).
The trail passes by the ridge of a doline West of Gavala Doline and continues West. Crossraod with an unmarked trail that leads to Trocharis Peak.
At 35.29148N, 24.04076E
Off trail easy ascent on the West Gavala Summit.