SOTA 5B/CY-027, Moutti tou Khondrou

I had initially planned to activate this mountain on the same day as 5B/CY-005, but following my GPS instructions, I ended up way off course along some tenuous mountain roads and scrubbed the activation. Instead, I headed for the Kykkos Monastery and took in the museum, which had recently reopened to visitors. Today, however, I managed to make it to the top.

Yesterday, I replotted the approach and spotted where I had gone wrong — GoogleMaps just doesn’t like a stretch of road. Instead, it planned a route along some tiny mountain paths rather than the nearby paved road.

Here is the overall route coming from Nicosia to the east. I have highlighted the problem area in yellow.

In the close-up, below, I’ve put a big red “X” through the crazy route on a dirt road and indicated the right way to go, highlighted in yellow. If you are driving this route and pass the Panorama restaurant and its roadside sign with a salmon on it, you have gone to far.

At the other end of the route, the final approach to the peak is made from a dirt road that branches off the highway opposite some kind of military post. On the map, it looks like there are two roads towards the peak and that these roads cross back and forth over each other. Puzzlingly, the recommended route is not to take the broad road that goes right to the peak, but the smaller road next to it and then to walk up to the peak.

The approach is from the top of the image.

This makes more sense when you see the roads in three dimensions. The broad road to the peak is extremely steep. Since it goes over the top of the mountain, I decided to check it out from the other side, hoping it would be less steep there. the smaller road wraps around the peak and the two roads meet on the other side.

The smaller road is to the left, the road to the peak is on the right. This picture does not do full justice in terms of conveying the steepness of the latter.

The road to the peak on the other side is not much better in terms of steepness, but it did seem wider, with trees on both sides. I gave it a try and could not make it up — or maybe I could have, but decided not to push my luck. Whether the engine just could not put out enough power or did not like the angle of ascent, it seemed to me that the car would not have enough momentum to make it to the top and rather than risk a stall, I took the car back down the hill in reverse gear very slowly. I probably made it about two-thirds of the way up.

Again, that hill looked worse in person.

I sat there for a while thinking about the best way to proceed and decided to take this hill by foot, but very, very slowly. On the steepest part, the ground was very crumbly and I had to use the trees on the side of the road to gain any height. I had good climbing shoes on, but a climbing pole would have been a big help. Coming down was largely a matter of trying to slide slowly. I don’t see any other way up this peak short of a vehicle with tank treads.

I took along the minimal equipment: long wire antennas, a short feed line, string, and the radio (operating on internal batteries). The trees to the side of the peak were adequate to get the antenna in the air and conditions were good, so 24 contacts on a Friday afternoon.

I think once is enough for this peak and am in no hurry to try it again — there are plenty of more accessible peaks in Cyprus.

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