• Dikti (the summit is also called Spathi)
  • 2148 m.
  • Primary factor 1798 m.
  • Location: Dikti range, Crete, Greece.
  • Location: North 35:07.085, East 025:29.836 (GPS on the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2 (mostly trail class 1)
  • Climbed: September 17. 2006.


How to get there: The best approach is taking the city of Malia as your point of departure. Malia is about 30 kilometer east of Heraklio (Iráklio). In Malia, locate the sign (on the main street) that points inland (right if coming from Iráklio) towards Kera and the Lassithi Plateau. Measure from here. The road runs through city streets, then in long zig-zags up the first big hill. After 9.8 kilometer, make a right turn, then shortly thereafter at 10.3 kilometer make a left turn. The road (more narrow) now climbs the next big hill. You arrive at a pass at kilometer 16.3, Continuing downhill, you arrive at a stop sign at kilometer 17.8. From here, one can drive a circular loop in what is called the Lassithi Plateau. This loop passes through many small, nice villages and I strongly recommend to drive the full circle. However, the easiest way to proceed to the trailhead means making a left turn at this T-junction. The road continues and passes through a pretty large village, Lagou, after this, make a right turn (off the main road) at kilometer 23.4. At kilometer 23.8 you enter the village of Konstantinos, continue straight and drive through this little village. At kilometer 25.8, you enter the village of Georgios and the road ahead of you has a 3-way fork. Take the leftmost option and continue 300 more meter.
At this point there is a road forking left. It has a 4WD sign as well as a sign saying "Limnakaro AG. Pnevma 6 Km" and "Dikti 14 km". The condition of this road may change with time and weather, but it was clearly possible to carefully drive an ordinary car at the time of my visit. Measuring from this fork, drive (at most) 6.8 kilometer, you will then approach a road intersection. Park here in a non-blocking fashion. This is my recommended trailhead. If you are worried about driving your car on a partly rough road, then you may even consider renting an ATV. (They seem to be for rent almost anywhere near the coast.)
The summit of Dikti is clearly visible from this trailhead. The location is N35:08.389, E025:28.894, elevation approximately 1135 meter.
Route description: This description will cover the standard route to the summit of Dikti, but then continue to do a complete tour of the three 2000 meter peaks in the area.
From the trailhead described above, head up the dirtroad that points into the valley next to the steep Dikti. You will pass two houses/huts on your right before the road ends. The next section crosses a field full of rocks and one easily looses the trail. Do not waste time trying to locate it, just continue up towards the more well defined valley ahead. The route crosses what looks like a dry river and runs along it on the left side. You will also see a few poles with the "E-4" sign. A couple of these poles are placed quite far from the trail.
The "E-4" is a major route across Europe, ending with a traverse from west to east of the island Crete. The route from this trailhead to the saddle between Dikti and Afentis Christos is part of "E-4". This trail is marked with yellow paint as well as metal poles with an E-4 symbol.
The trail becomes much more distinct and easy to follow as it climbs up the higher part of the valley and enters a flat plateau before climbing further towards the saddle. At some point it is natural to leave this trail (go left) and aim for the ridge that runs up towards the summit of Dikti. You will find a much smaller trail along this ridge, mainly a bit on the right side. Follow this upwards and head for the top ridge somewhere between a first (false) summit and the obvious high point ahead of you. There is a summit marker and a trail register.
In order to climb all the 2000 meter mountains in the area, set course towards Lazaros. Just follow the ridge that extends gently downhill to the key connecting saddle, then climb the very moderate slope to the summit. There is a trail register (nice book), a (now empty) bottle of alcohol plus a small glass for having a drink. In short, one of the more hospitable, remote summits I have visited (somebody ought to bring up a new bottle of alcohol).
The third peak, Afentis Christos, can now be reached in two different ways. The most comfortable, but longest route is to return the same way, more or less across the Dikti summit. A shorter, but slightly more uneven route (YDS class 2), is to hike along the distinct ridge that extends in the direction of Afentis Christos, then traverse the slope of Dikti in order to reach the connecting saddle. From this saddle you ascend up the slopes to your left and reach a small, but distinct saddle where you will locate a trail that connects with the "E-4" trail below. Follow this trail as it climbs the slope above you, then contours around on the left and follows the slope on the far side towards your right. This trail is perhaps longer than what one might expect, but eventually you will see the top with its small church. Along the last segment of this approach it is easy to loose the trail, however your goal is in sight and the terrain is quite reasonable.
Trip Report / Comments: Again, I had been unsuccessful in locating a good hiking map of the area, so the summit coordinates (brought from home) and the car map would be tested again.
I started out at 0710 and quickly located the E-4 trail up towards the saddle between Dikti and Afentis Christos. I left the trail shortly before the saddle and crossed over to the main summit ridge where I recovered the trail. I arrived at the summit at 0920 and sat down to have a piece of bread while enjoying the view and the landscape all around. Unlike the two previous Ultra mountains, the drop towards the trailhead is rather steep.
It was early morning, my third and final Ultra on Crete had been visited and I had pleanty of time. I looked around and located the two other independent peaks that exceeded 2000 meter of elevation. I decided to make a "grand tour" of the Dikti range and visit all three peaks. The continuation to Lazaros was straightforward and required little effort. I next proceeded to traverse from Lazaros to the connecting saddle between Dikti and Afentis Christos. This took 1:20, and I began to feel the effort. The day was much hotter than previous (morning) hikes and I only carried one liter of water. I had already consumed about half of this. (On the two previous hikes I never needed more than about one quarter of a liter.) It occurred to me that I had made a mistake in not taking an extra 1.5 liter bottle from the car (I had 6 liter in the trunk). Here, I was traversing fairly loose, steep and remote terrain far from any trail, in case of any mishap, say a broken leg, thirst could easily be a serious issue long before any assistance could be expected. Lesson reminded: Always carry emergency water when the terrain and climate is like today. Keeping this in mind, I proceeded with an extra degree of attention to where I put my feet. I realized that the next section would involve another 300 meter of vertical climb, the sun was really burning and I had decided to ration my scarce supply of water.
To make things worse, it seemed longer to this 3rd. mountain than first anticipated. In fact, where was the top? I contoured around a first peak, then saw what looked like a really big mountain across another pretty deep valley. Fortunately, the trail I now followed contoured right and seemed to keep the elevation already gained. Finally, I spotted a top with some sort of structure on top, this had to be it. I reached the summit at 1310, it had taken me more than 2.5 hours from the summit of Lazaros. The summit has a small chapel built from rocks and there were clear signs that people had celebrated September 14. also here. I rested, finished my bread and drank half of my remaining water. The temperature was clearly above 30 degree Celcius and the sun was always right there. This break did help and the knowledge of a route that now should drop me about 1000 meter was also encouraging.
I left after about 15 minutes, still wondering about that 4th. summit across the valley. It did appear slightly lower, moreover, the connecting saddle looked much higher when viewed from the summit of Afentis Christos. It might just be part of my mountain, in which case I had just climbed all peaks above 2000 meter also in this entire range. I decided that my friend Jonathan most likely could settle this issue, my road map was certainly useless for the purpose. About one hour away from the trailhead I found some shade behind a big rock and finished off my water. It sure tasted good, the inside of my mouth was dry like sand, I very seldom feel this kind of thirst when tongue, mouth and lips all "scream" for water. Knowing that I had a big supply of water in the car, and that the remaining trail was mostly downhill, made me feel much better and soon, 8 full hours of hot, dry hiking with about 1500 meter vertical, I was back at the car and immediately drank more than a liter of water.
Back at the hotel, Jonathan (via email) quickly confirmed that I had climbed the three ranked and named summits above 2000 meter in the Dikti range. A long and pretty hard hike with good scenery and too much sun and too little water. There was nobody else in the mountains. I observed the same two years earlier on the mainland of Greece, people do not seem to go hiking. This concluded my hiking on Crete, 3 ultra mountains, all among the top 50 in Europe, 4 additional independent peaks above 2000 meter, as well as one lower peak with more than 1300 meter of prominence.