In September 1927, on Mount Olympus peak, 24 Greek, French and Swiss mountaineers decided to establish a Mountaineering Association in Greece. Τhus was created, by the unofficial mountaineering club «The Cuckoos», the Athens Mountaineering Association on 7-3-1928. Soon afterwards on 27-6-1928 the Patras Mountaineering Association was established. Those 2 Mountaineering Associations proceeded to the establishment of the Hellenic Mountaineering Association on 20-2-1930 (Ε.Ο.S.), which initially acted as a Federation of the new Mountaineering Associations being established throughout the country at the time.
As E.O.S. expanded its activities and the popularisation of skiing and mountaineering became obvious (until 1940 there had been mountaineering clubs and groups in 43 towns in Greece), the Government recognised E.O.S. as a National Federation that would represent the country as per mountaineering and skiing abroad. Under this status of national representation (Winter Olympics, Conferences e.t.c.), Ε.Ο.S. became a member of the following International Bodies: F.I.S. on 14-2-1936, U.I.A.A. on 29-8-1936 and quite recently E.W.V. on 1-1-1985 and attended numerous many Council and Commission meetings since 1953.
In parallel with mountaineering and skiing E.O.S. dealt with and developed speleology by studying and exploring since 1932, at least 100 important caves. In 1950 some E.O.S. members and members of the «Pan» Ramblers group established the Hellenic Speleological Society.
E.O.S. also supported the protection mountain areas and had an active and militant role since 1937 when they helped draw legal documents and contributed in the creation of the first two National Parks in Greece (Mt. Olympus and Mt. Parnassus) in 1938. On 23-10-1950 E.O.S. became a member of U.I.P.N. and through this membership contributed to the establishment of the Hellenic Society for Nature Protection in 1951.
Moreover, E.O.S. recommended to governments in power the need to build mountain refuges so as to facilitate access to mountains for mountaineers and skiers and all the efforts made at the time resulted in the building of refuges in the 1930′s. The first mountain refuge was built on Mount Olympus between 1930 and 1931. The Hellenic Federation owns 11 mountain refuges and another 70 are owned by member associations.
It would also be interesting to know that the tiny ski lifts which E.O.S. had installed since 1951 on various mountains, in order to hold skiing competitions constituted the main core for the creation of the major ski-centres in Greece.
Between 1940-41, E.O.S. officials and association members formed and managed the First Battalion of Skiers offering their mountaineering and skiing equipment.
The E.O.S. board took the initiative and had thousands of woollen items made such as jumpers, gloves and stockings for the Greek army.
During German Rule E.O.S. had an active social role by organizing camps for 1500 children between 1942-44, a prevantorium for 300 children between 1943-44 as well as providing with soups various social groups. Because of those activities E.O.S. was awarded a honourable mention by the General Army Headquarters and the organisation «The Soldier’s Shirt» whereas many of its members were awarded prizes for their dedication by various social bodies.
Federation Presidents and Board Members have been Board members or just Council Members of many important organisations such as the National Tourism Organisation, the General Secretariat for Sports, the International Olympic Committee, the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Academy, the Committee for Sporting Status as well as the U.I.A.A.
In the line of mountaineering activities since 1935, E.O.S. organised expeditions to great mountain ranges and trained climbers in high mountain camps. From 1956 and onwards rock climbers were trained abroad and later they took part in alpine camps organised for them. E.O.S. members were trained in ski mountaineering, alpinism and mountain rescue since 1964. At the same time rock climbing seminars and mountaineering seminars were organised throughout the country from 1959 and 1963 respectively.
As per skiing E.O.S. took great care of athletes continuous training, in special training seminars organised since 1933 in Greece but also overseas from 1953 and onwards. E.O.S. competitors participated in international skiing competitions, World Championships and Winter Olympics.
Until 1983 the Federation had organised 43 National Skiing Championships (1932-1983), 4 National Cups (1980-1983), and innumerable regional and special competitions, 2 Balkan Competitions (1974 & 1978), 3 international competitions (1954, 1967 & 1969).
National competitors took part in 14 Balkan competitions (1968-1982), in over 30 international competitions (since 1936), 6 World championships (since 1937) and 9 Winter Olympics (1936, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980).
As a member of International Sports bodies E.O.S. held in Greece 5 U.I.A.A. General Assemblies (1953, 1962, 1970, 1978, 1999), 2 U.I.A.A. Council Meetings (1975, 1990), 7 U.I.A.A. Commission meetings (1980, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996), 1 International F.I.S. Conference (1963) και 1 E.W.V. General Assembly (1988).
The Federation Rescue team members have so far successfully helped in scores of mountain accidents as well as natural disasters, shipwrecks and plane crashes.
To keep its members associations informed the Federation published 3 Year (1930-31, 1946 & 1947-48), 20 books, brochures and leaflets on mountaineering, rock-climbing, skiing, speleology mountain paths, flora, fauna together with 243 issues of «The Mountain – To Vouno» magazine (1934-1965), containing various invaluable reference articles about mountaineering and skiing.
Over the last 3 years the Federation has completed the publication of 5 volumes. The first one is about its own history (1930-2000), followed by two guides about the Mountains of Attica and Mount Olympus, a bibliographical guide about Geography, the natural environment and the monuments of Greece and one about the history of the Greek climbing.
In 1977 E.O.S. was renamed into Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Skiing (Ε.Ο.Χ.Ο.), but when competition skiing was administered by the newly-established Skiing Federation in 1983, it was renamed in 1985 into Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering Associations. In 1996 the Federation was renamed again into Hellenic Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing (E.O.O.A.).
The Academy of Athens presented the Federation with an award on 30-12-1980 to honour 50 years of contribution and overall commitment to mountaineering, skiing and sports.
Ε.Ο.Ο.Α. is today a sports federation answering to, controlled and subsidised by the General Secretariat for Sports. It represents mountaineering and climbing, competition climbing and ski mountaineering in Hellas and overseas. As a secondary body, it supervises 89 associations with over 16.000 members throughout the country.
E.O.O.A. provides continuous training to association members by organising mountaineering and climbing seminars every year, according to the candidates” level of competence. It also selects competent mountaineers to take part in seminars and events abroad. Athletes are trained via seminars and performance sessions in the country or abroad.
Competition Climbing: Since 1990 the Federation has organised 15 National Championships, 11 competition climbing Cups, 5 Bouldering Cups, 3 Balkan Difficulty Competitions, 3 Balkan Bouldering Competitions, and 1 World Bouldering Cup (2000). There are 149 male and 49 female athletes from 24 associations.
Ski mountaineering: Since 1992 the Federation has organised 13 National Championships, 10 National Cup races. Three Balkan Ski-Mountaineering competitions have also been organised as well as three international races. The last event of the European Cup Teams was successfully held in Greece in 2002. Ski- mountaineering competitors have taken part in International and Balkan events since 1995. The National Ski-Mountaineering team competed in the First and Second World Championship (2002 and 2004 respectively). There are 75 male and 16 female athletes from 23 associations.
Mountaineering: Since 1936 there have been 63 National Mountaineering meetings organised by the Federation on different mountains, 15 national climbing meetings, 2 mountaineering Balkan meetings, 1 Balkan climbing meeting and 3 international climbing meetings.
Successful Ascents Abroad: Since 1935 there have been over 350 mountaineering expeditions organised in 120 mountains in 6 continents. There have also been 250 routes successfully completed in over 100 rock faces in Europe.
Hiking: To facilitate access for European and National hikers the Federation has sign posted an traced over 4,000 km of long distance paths like E4 and E6, as well as 19 national paths joining important mountain and archaeological landmarks.
Translation: M. Fourioti