If we agree, king of Julian Alps is Triglav, then 110 m / 360 ft lower Jôf di Montasio (2 754 m / 9 035 ft) must be the prince. Few years ago I have spend night in Bivacco Luca Vuerich. At that time I promise to myself, I will come back to this summit.
I already get used to weather at beginning of summer. After rainy days usually come Monday. This summer it is basically the same. Find location for hiking is not that easy. Everywhere in Austria is weather forecast quite bad, so I am forced to check Slovenia and Italy. In Julian alps, where borders all of three countries meet should be nice weather and I have unfinished job here. My friends are going to already mentioned bivouac and me and my girlfriend are going to Jôf di Montasio – Montasch in German.
Friday afternoon after after work, we have to travel to Lago di Predil lake, where we spent night in tent. For this hike I am not well prepared, but based on the maps we should be able to do circle. About hour later rest of the group is coming. Martin has printed article fromt he web, where is recommended path up and whole trip should take about 6 hours. In this case we have plenty of time and do not need to hurry early in the morning. Guys plans to leave really early, they want to be in bivouac first.
In the morning we spend “bit more” time with sleeping and taking it easy. From the parking we are leaving around 9 am. On top of that, I can not find the path to go up, so we have to go around. However I am still calm. Weather is great and it is just 6 hours hike. We still have a plenty of time to relax on the grass :)
Near G. di Brazz hut (1 660 m / 5 446 ft) the sign says it is 4 hours to Jôf di Montasio summit. What a stupid information. Whole hike takes about 6 hours and we already did small part of it. Without stopping and wondering we continue thru meadow to saddle. At the beginning it is a lovely path but it is getting steeper and steeper as we are getting close to the saddle. We need to gain about 600 m / 2 000 ft in altitude. Jôf di Montasio is directly above us.
Based on Martin instruction we should go by bottom path via Pipan rock and ladder which is here since World War I. It is easy ascend and nothing dramatic. Below first via ferrata we put on all needed gear. However it is not needed. All the part are really easy and short. I am bit surprised by the direction which we are going. Jôf di Montasio is behind our back and we keep going further and further.
Quick chat with local hikers solve the issue. We are going good direction and to the Pipan we need to go up and left. Their English is much worse then mine, but at least we know which way to go. We need to cross snow field and walk left. Thanks to the guys we know which way we should go. We turn left, go thru few rocks and find our self`s under gravel part. On the other side we can see couple of people.
Walking up directly stupidity. In better case we will do two steps forward and one we slide back. Where gravel should meet rock is snow field. This is also no way. Lets go on the rock with easy climbing. Terrain is dry, it is easy to climb but it takes a bit of time. In half way up a see ladder, which brings us to the ridge.
Under the ladder we have to wait a bit. About 15 hikers are descending. It is time to take a short break and rest a bit. At the end we have spend there about 30 minutes waiting. Other hikers come in the meantime and start descending. Finally we can start climbing up. There is lot of room where we can pass with last 3 hikers.
Ladder brings us to the ridge. We need to ascent few more meters and then it is almost flat to the summit. Anyway it takes about 30 minutes to reach summit. It is about 2:00 pm, when we reach summit. There is nobody. I mean just two of us and one ibex, which is licking the rock. Wind is giving us hard time to find nice place to sit, relax and have something to eat. Summit picture is taken by timer. At home we have noticed that camera was focused on the rock not on us. Anyway original summit picutre from Jôf di Montasio :) .
Four hikers from Austria are coming to summit, when we want to descent. They ask us to take the picture of them. In the mean time I am asking about the way down. They plan to go down via same way. I prefer to do the circle, so we are going opposite direction. After couple of minutes it is clear this is going to be lots of “fun”. We need to go around one rock, path is covered by snow. Wrong step, could by my last step in my whole live. We managed to go thru.
After few more steps I see couple of people far below us. Because of this steep descent I am thinking if this is the way we want to descent. Everyone know, it is much easier to go up, than down. However this looks really bad. I look at Lucka`s face and it is decided. This is no way.
We are back to Jof di Montasio summit. Luckily we did not descent to much a could get back to summit within couple of minutes. I hate to go up and down taking same path, but sometimes there is no other choice. Descent is much faster, because we do not need to look for the path. We are quite quickly near via ferrata.
From up here I can clearly see how we should go thru gravel part. Descent is much faster and bit more technical part is in front of us. On some places we need to hold rock, on other places we need to go backwards – facing to the wall. Both of us enjoy this type of hike. In one place we got stuck for a while, because path has disappeared. In those moment I often think about marked hiking path in Slovakia. They are just brilliant. Finally we can see a bit of iron rope, and we know how to descent.
We are back to saddle, where two different routes to summits meet. It is time to sit down to grass, enjoy the view and relax. Lots of ibexes are going up from the meadows to the rock, where they are going to spend the night. I don`t want to go down, but I have to. Before we start descending, I check opposite ridge. This is the place, where I would like to go once.
Shortly after five and we are only one on the hiking path. Austrian guys are already down. Hikers, who climb up thru Findeneggs couloir are somewhere on the ridge. Besides ibexes we meet lot of marmots. I am surprised how close we can get to them.
Last part of the hike is descent thru dry river bed. I wanted to go up this way, however I could not find the path in the morning. We lost it also on the way down. Luckily from up here we can see, where we need to get. I am glad we are close to the parking place.
Ascent to Jôf di Montasio and descent took us about 10 hours. If I do not could looking for path at the beginning and long break under the ladder it was about 9 hours. Faster hikers can do it in 8. It is really important to be clear which way you want to go. Easiest way is the path we took. Take ladder for both ways. More experienced hikers can take Findenegg couloir as way up and descent via Pipan path. Most of the hikers took this path today.
For me it was clear lesson, that I have to prepare my self much better for the hiked. Information which I got was not complete and correct or I misunderstood them. If I would do my “homework” properly I would go as most of the hikers.