White Mountains Snow time!

I t’s been three days since I returned from the mountain. I only remember the beauty of the snowy landscape and the excitement of achievement. Vassilis and Matina are making fun of me when I speak about it, as I am carried out and end up shouting instead of talking.

We started from Omalos plateau on Saturday morning. The weather was perfect for the hike towards Kallergi mountain refuge. Instead of taking the easy (and longest) route, we followed an almost vertical path that I had never hiked before. It sure wasn’t the zero degree of difficulty, no technical path that I was referring to in a previous post.

We arrived at the refuge. First sip of coffee. Perfect.

Sooner rather than later we were out again in the surrounding area. Visibility was perfect as a result of the clear weather and I remained in awe as I realized that I could stare at the sea while being surrounded by the white of the snow. I had to run to get my camera.

It was almost dark when we returned back to the refuge. The atmosphere was festive as food was being prepared and served. The first shot of tsikoudia had already been consumed.

I noticed that someone had brought a tripod. It was impossible for me to resist so I borrowed it and went outside. Looking at the mountains in the light of stars is something that I cannot resist, no matter how cold it is outside. The photos are just the right excuse for doing what your logic tells you that you shouldn’t.

Next morning the weather started to change. Clouds started to gather and the possibility of rain was high. We headed outside to try to find some ice to train on falls and how to stop with the ice axes. While fun, getting back to the refuge seemed like a salvation in the end.

We started to descent towards Omalos. By the time we arrived in ours cars, heavy rain was falling. I felt I needed to sit for a moment, exhausted. It was this brisk moment that thoughts like “why am I doing this” were coming to mind. It only took a minute or so to regain strength. The answer was never spoken as I had already forgotten the question. I was already thinking of the next weekend in the mountains.

Andreas
Winter Mountaineering School,
Kallergi Mountain Refuge, White Mountains Sierra, Crete, 2017.

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