Mount Olympus, Greece’s highest and most famous cliff, has been honoured with a Google Doodle today.
For years, the mountain remained unexplored until it was first ascended by three climbers on August 2, 1931.
Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece. It is located in the Olympus Range on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, between the regional units of Pieria and Larissa, about 80 km southwest from Thessaloniki.
On this day in 1913, Swiss photographer Frédéric Boissonnas, his friend Daniel Baud-Bovy, and Christos Kakkalos, a Greek hunter who served as their guide, set off in treacherous weather to climb this famous mountain.
Kakkalos knew the mountain so well that he scaled its sharp inclines barefoot. The Swiss had some experience in mountaineering, but Boissonnas had to lug heavy photographic equipment up the mountain. He and his friend, Baud-Bovy, were tied together with a rope, standard procedure for such expeditions.
During their climb, the summit where Greek gods were said to reside (not to mention Zeus’ favourite spot) was wreathed with storm clouds, and the climbers mistook a lesser peak for the home of the gods. Thinking their ascent was done, the elated adventurers wrote cards describing their feat and put the notes in a bottle that they buried on a crest they christened Victory Top. When the mist cleared, they spied another, more impressive peak, called Mytikas.
With Kakkalos in the lead, the men continued upward, scrambling across the slippery gorge. Boissonnas later wrote that he was compelled by the fire of Prometheus, who stole fire from Athena and Hephaestus’ workshop on Mount Olympus, gifting it to humans to help them in their labors.
Today’s Doodle celebrates their accomplishment and the fire that inspired them.