The Hania branch of the Greek Mountaineering Association -that was the first name of the Greek Mountaineering Club- was founded on 28th of September 1930.
Members of the Mountaineering Club of Athens were returning from a mountaineering expedition in Northern Greece when they met the then Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos at the railway station. They approached him to greet him and pay their respect to him. They mentioned that they were going to set out for the mountains on Crete in the following days. Venizelos was enthusiastic over the idea. He sent a telegraph to the then General Governor of Crete and minister Mr. Katehakis asking him to help the climbers in every possible way. Venizelos wished that climbers from Hania could participate in the ascent on the White Mountains. Indeed, a few enthusiastic mountaineers from Hania participated in that ascent, and later founded the Hania branch of the Greek Mountaineering Association.
The Hania branch was one from the ten branches that constituted the Greek Mountaineering Federation -which was called Central Council at that time- in the late 1931. Today, the Greek Mountaineering Federation includes approximately 80 Clubs from all over the country.
The Mountaineering Club of Hania has offered many people the opportunity to discover the most beautiful mountainous, flat and coastal landscapes in the prefecture of Hania as well as a lot of magnificent areas in other parts of Crete; The Club has promoted tourism on Crete.
The public came to know the Samaria gorge and the area around it largely through the excursions that the Mountaineering Club of Hania organized. During the first excursions at the gorge, the walk would start from Lakki and it would finish at the same point, lasting more than 20 hours. These two-day, leisurely excursions were a lot of fun. The Mountaineering Club of Hania (MCH) had been organising these excursions until 1965. Successive administrations of the MCH struggled for many years for the creation of the Samaria National Park, submitting repeated reports and memoranda. Today, MCH is actively involved in the effort for the conservation and extension of the Park as well as in the effort for the rescue of the Cretan wild goat.
Lafonisi, Fragokastello, Grambousa, Falassarna have been only a few of the «discovery» expeditions of the Mountaineering Club of Hania at a time when cars had not yet become part of our everyday life. The gorges of Trypiti, Kladou-Domata, Eligia, Aradaina, Saint Irene, Nimbrou and many other gorges of unique beauty are favorite
destinations of regularly organised hikes by teams of the MCH.
• The speleological team was founded in 1955. Since then, it has been organising significant expeditions to a lot of caves in the prefecture of Hania, under the guidance of Mr. Antonis Plymakis, head of the team. In 1997, 1.500 caves were recorded and the records were given to the Prefecture of Hania.
• The children's team, the youngest part of the Club, was founded in 1980. The MCH organises excursions for children once a month, as well as twice a year to children's camps at the MCH shelters. More than 350 children have learned how to ski during the educational excursions every winter at the ski centres of Central Greece. Mr. Houliopoulos, the chairman of the MCH, was the one to come up with this idea and he has been leading the excursions himself.
• The renewed climbing team has a special place in the activities of the MCH. Its members constitute the core of the rescue team of the Club. The MCH rescue team has answered the calls for help of the authorities of Hania many times when one or more of our fellowmen were in danger on the White Mountains or elsewhere.
A lot of people have expressed their appreciation and thanks, acknowledging the unselfish help that this team has offered on many occasions.
• Despite the fact that there are no skiing facilities in Hania, skiing is quite widespread. The MCH plans skiing excursions on a regular basis at the ski centres of Velouhi and Parnassos. In the last seven years, there have also been skiing excursions to famous ski centres abroad (Borovits, Mprasov, Innsbruck etc) every February.
• Moreover, the MCH includes a Mountain Bicycle Group, which frequently organises tours of the mountainous areas of the prefecture of Hania, as well as a Canoe River Crossing Group, which has recently crossed the seasonal rivers of Hania.
• The MCH publishes its quarterly programme of excursions and events and the annual magazine «MADARES» with mountaineering activities and with news and photographs of the activities of the Club. Both booklets are distributed to the members and the friends of the MCH free of charge.