Crazy hike through Triglav

We are all settled somewhere. Somewhere is a place where feel at home and where we know it. Then we go to other place and we apply the knowledge and skills we have from home … and we fail. This is exactly what happened to me during my first visit to Slovenian mountains.

To plan a hike in Slovakia, it suffices to buy a map. On it there are lines in four colours, red, blue, green and yellow, representing the hiking routes. And without any extra knowledge you can go to any one of these routes with basic equipment for mountains.

So I applied this strategy when being in Slovenia. I bought a map and I went to mountains with it. Of course, I spotted a difference. In Slovenian map, all the hiking routes were marked red. But some were drawn by full line, some by a dashed line and some by a dotted line. Those drawn by dotted lines were the most difficult, which in my eyes meant that they are the most interesting. Therefore I planned my hike to Triglav using as many dotted lines as possible.

I started the hike at Aljazev dom in Vrata valley (1015 m). Why? Because the northern wall of Triglav, which has more than 1500 metres, is something you must see. It is great, wonderful, magnificent.

For the way up I took Tominskova pot. On my map it is marked by a dotted line and at the very start of the footpath there was a signpost “Zelo zahtevna pot” (a very difficult route). The route was beautiful and on some places a bit exposed, but if this is “very difficult”, I will have no problems in these mountains. At least so I thought.

I was sleeping at the mountain hut Dom Valentina Stanica (2332 m). Just above this hut is a hill Begunjski vrh (2461 m). I very much recommend you to climb this hill as it offers the best view of the marvelous northern wall of Triglav.

Next day I proceeded to Triglav. Again, I used a dotted-line route. This one was more exposed, but nothing really hard. On the footpath I passed a few groups of elderly people, some well over their 60’s.

The top of Triglav (2864 m) was overcrowded. I didn’t spend much of time there and started to descend. And here the real fun started. To be honest, it didn’t start immediately at the top. First I went down a sharp slope and crossed a huge stone plane. But at the west end, the plane was more and more narrow. Suddenly I occurred on a sharp crest and the descend was more and more difficult. I went very slowly, as on my right-hand side there was the vertical northern wall of Triglav and on my left-hand side it was not much better. Some metres of the footpath were on a narrow rim just above the northern wall of Triglav.

I met some people going the other direction. One guy seriously tried to turn me back, but I already had some experience with “difficult routes” here so I didn’t expect serious troubles. The guy had some fancy ropes and a helmet … I thought that he is probably too cautious.

However, the descent was worse and worse. On one place I was standing on the crest at the top of a rock, wondering where the footpath proceeds. Then I leaned forward and I spotted a peg on the other side of the stone. Uff! I went down to all four, turned back, took the peg into my hands and was trying to reach the ground with my feet. I succeeded, but from this point on, my bones were like from a gum. I was swearing like a sailor.

If I can describe the process of descending Triglav, it was like “boiling a frog”. It is believed that if you put a living frog into a pot with cold water and you start to heat it, the frog will not jump out as the temperature changes gradually. The result is that the frog will be cooked. Now replace “increasing the temperature” by “increasing the difficulty”, and you know how I felt.

The most complicated place was awaiting me close to Luknja saddle (1758 m). There was a vertical stone wall, and on this wall there was an iron rope in a zig-zag manner. I was hanging on the rope with all the strength of my arms. I was really afraid that my life can be terminated here. To my surprise, there was something on which I could stay with the tops of my shoes and I went down without any accident.

In the saddle, there was a group of retired people from Germany. They watched me on the wall with the zig-zag rope and when I went to them, they applauded me. But I was ashamed. From my side, it was very stupid to go down this route. Later I read about it a bit. Its name is Bambergova pot and it is a difficult ferrata. Its difficulty is C/D. It is highly recommended to have a helmet and a ferrata-set here. I had none of these, instead, I had a heavy backpack, with plenty of clothing and with a meal for the next two days.

Since that time I made many ferratas, some of them very difficult. Of course, I have a ferrata-set, a helmet, and several small things which help me. But I will never forget the lesson Triglav taught me. “When I go to a new place, first I must read about it.” No information means no hike.

To conclude this note, on Internet you can find that Tominskova pot is a ferrata of difficulty B and the route from Kredarica to Triglav is a ferrata of difficulty B/C.

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