Coordinates 8995

Uploaded September 7, 2015

Recorded September 2015

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6,951 f
-52 f
0
10
21
41.56 mi

Viewed 8480 times, downloaded 203 times

near Soúgia, Crete (Greece)

According to my opinion, this is the most complete and beautiful tour that can be done in the Lefka Ori, and thus in the mountains of Creta. Namely, although the mountains west of Samaria are somewhat lower than those on the other side, they feature the Tripiti gorge, which is the most hidden and complex among those descending from the massif. Climbing the 2116 m Volakias from the sea shore through it results in a significant experience: a long walk, but always accompanied by a tremendous variety of landscapes. The job becomes truly complete when on descends via the long and panoramic ridge Volakias - Kokkinavari - Katsaromoura, where one feels suspended between the Tripiti and the Klados gorges.
For me, two factors were crucial in the realization of the tour:
1) I found water at Voukilasi. I did not intend to leave Sougia with a full load of water, like I had done in 2011 heading to Agia Roumeli, so I simply... committed me to good luck;
2) I had bought the Anavasi 1:30.000 sheet Samaria-Sougia-Paleohora. This well-researched map reports the ridge itinerary dubbing it as "long and difficult route with no clear path. A good sense of route finding is needed". But, even more importantly, it is very accurate in the surroundings of the ascent's key point, namely, whe it is time to abandon the stony ground of the valley and to gain the sharp "buttress" separating an east (major) branch, heading to the Kokkinavari col, from a north (slightly secondary) branch, heading towards the col above Linoseli. This section, comprised above 900 and 1100 metres, is the most delicate of the whole tour: do not expect difficult rock passages, but be prepared to cope with some exposed traversals on tricky terrain. Luckily some well-placed cairns help you non feeling too lost in this wonderfully isolated place.
The saddle above Linoseli is the point where one reaches the main watershed and, on it, the safe path from Omalos to the Gingilos, which I first followed in 1993, after escaping an unpleasantly crowded Samaria gorge. I need to do the Samaria tour one day!
As far as the bulk of the itinerary is concerned, the start lies at Tripiti beach, which has to be reached from Sougia... Those wanting to avoid the access and/or the return march may be interested in knowing that there is Captain George in Sougia offering a boat-taxi service to this and many other spots of the surrounding coast. You find signposts with his telephone numbers in many places, including Sougia and Tripiti beach itself.

Photos: WORK IN PROGRESS!

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To begin, follow the E4 path out of Sougia. A mark if found on the shore right east of the village.
Little below the col, this is the only source along the E4 path between Souglia and Agia Roumeli.
Wonderful place, with the ruined Turkish fortress and the short path to Profitis Ilias
One of the most fascinating places on the southern coast of Creta.
The exit of the gorge, featuring also a little beach.
A church hidden below an overhang not far from the beach
This stone is the unique real barrier which has to be turned around in the gorge.
Here one leaves the valley, starting to climb the buttress that rises between its two main branches.
This almost inaccessible shepherd hut is more easily reached from above. I found some work in progress, especially at the big water cistern.
This water seemed to be suitable only for animals.
Here the Tripiti adventure is finished, because one reaches the safe path ascending the Gingilos from Omalos.
The most popular summit above Omalos. For the 360° see also PPH
The best water of Crete!! Little down in direction Omalos one also find a big cave that can be used as a shelter.
Highest summit of the Lefka Ori west of Samaria, and highest point of the present trail.
Thanks to its eccentric position is a wonderful viewpoint over Samaria. Only the Zaranokefala on the other side stands out at the same level.
Perhaps the most beautiful spot on the ridge Volakias - Katsaromoura. The mountain seems aerial, but poses no difficulty.
The Kouvara, next summit after Kokkinavari, can be better avoided remaining on the W side and regaining the ridge immediately after.
The cornerstone of the whole ridge, after which a steep descent begins, in direction SW, to the coast.
I chose to rest here instead of trying the last steep stretch in dim light. This is also a panoramic place.
Wonderful view down to Agios Nikolaos and the end of the Tripiti gorge.
Can be reached with a deviation of 30-40 min from the E4 path.

12 comments

  • Photo of robert outram

    robert outram Sep 11, 2015

    impressive!

  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Sep 12, 2015

    Yes, both the gorge and - even more - the ridge are impressively beautiful.
    Cheers, Alberto.

  • simon-1978 Sep 16, 2015

    Great! Well done!

  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Dec 26, 2015

    Of course by foot!

  • Photo of FunkyPajamas

    FunkyPajamas Feb 15, 2018

    Hi Alberto, thanks for sharing this trail! I'm planning on following it this weekend (Sat-Mon) and was wondering what the duration of the hike was for you. Was it a single day hike, or did you camp somewhere at night? Thanks!

  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Feb 16, 2018

    No, you need to camp
    1) on the beach at the end of the Tripiti gorge, in order to have an early morning start, knowing that the gorge is long and by no means trivial;
    2) on the mountain (I chose a cave in the vicinity of Linoseli)
    3) probably, one more time on the beach, if you have not arranged a return to Sougia by boat.
    Of course, you can avoid the third camping also descending the ridge quickly and without stops.

  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Feb 25, 2018

    Up to now, I know of people who have followed separately the upward half (namely, the gorge) and the downward half (the ridge). Please let me know if you complete the whole loop!

  • cronopio69 Jun 9, 2018

    Hi Alberto. Many thanks for posting it. I will try the loop but starting from Omalos; I will let you know once I do it. Do you live in Crete? If so it would be nice meeting you for a coffee and share experiences.

  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Jun 10, 2018

    No, I like Crete a lot but I live in Northern Italy, in the vicinity of the Dolomites.
    Let me know about your experience with the loop.
    I think that it is one of the best things that one can do in Crete.
    Cheers,
    Alberto.

  • cronopio69 Jun 12, 2018

    I will let you know. Btw, have you been to Gavdos? Easy in terms of hiking but the place is amazing, magical, a paradise. Saluti.
    Alberto.

  • Photo of Alberto Pedrotti

    Alberto Pedrotti Jun 12, 2018

    For the next visit...

  • Jayhickson Apr 26, 2019

    Wow, what a route! I hope to complete that one day. Well done!

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