Tag Archives: european alps top hikes

Mount Triglav summit climb

At 2864 meters Mount Triglav is not only the highest mountain in Slovenia, it is The National Mountain of Slovenia. Pictured on their flag, it is said that each Slovenian should summit Mount Triglav at least once. Thus, I was not too surprised that the vast majority of  those climbing Triglav with me in early July 2016 were Slovenians, many +60 years and several carrying the national flag to the top.

Most summit Mount Triglav without any equipment, as did I. However, the summit ridge is genuinely exposed, not all the way, but there is one 20 meter stretch in particular where a slip would be fatal. Cables are attached to this and other sections though, however considering the number of unexperienced people making this climb every year I am surprised that accidents rarely happen.

The exposure on this ridge is my absolute limit for climbing without harness. In fact quite a few guided tours coming up from Lake Bled use both helmets and harness for the ascent, though with the exception of this short section on the ridge, the scrambling sections were manageable and not more difficult than on the GR20 in Corsica.

Mount Triglav summit ridge
Mount Triglav summit ridge

There are several approach routes to the summit of Mount Triglav. However, the trails from two most common approach routes (Dom Planika and Triglavski Dom) meet before the long and exposed summit ridge, which cannot be avoided.

The mountains of the Triglav National Park are limestone mountains and once above the tree line the views are spectacular and wild.
As I already saw a couple of years ago in the Aiguilles Rouges in France, marmots like limestones, and their piercing cry when they perceive danger is instantly recognizable.

The descent  through the Triglav Lakes Valley was endless. Komarca Crag, the final descent is steep and endless (800 meters straight down), especially after having already descended 1100 meter from Dom Planika, totaling 1900 meters descent with full backpack including camping gear (which I did not use as huts were mandatory).

Summit of Mount Triglav, Slovenia
                      Summit of Mount Triglav, Slovenia

The itinerary:

Bus from Ljubljana to Lake Bled and on to Lake Bohinj (Ribcev Laz). Walk 3 km to Stara Fuzina (overnight in hostel)

Day 1: Stara Fuzina to Vodnikov Dom (via Koca na Voja).
Day 2: Vodknikov Dom Hut to Dom Planika. Dom Planika to Mount Triglav Summit and back.
Day 2: Dom Planika to  via Dolicu and Triglav Lakes Valley to Lake Bohinj via Komarca Crag (Savica Waterfall).

Highlights: Climbing the Triglav summit ridge; The limestone mountains around Dolicu.

Difficulty: 5. 5 for the exposed sections of the ridge and several scrambling

Information and maps: Triglav National Park Map. Plenty of information in the Tourist Informations at Ribcev Laz, Stara Fuzina (Lake Bohinj) or Lake Bled.

The complete photogallery of the Mount Triglav hike is available on flickr.

Aiguilles Rouges

Lesser known than the Mont Blanc Massif, the Aiguilles Rouges, the mountains at the opposite site of the Chamonix valley are at least as spectacular a hiking destination.  In fact, the Grand Balcon Sud, Lac Blanc and Col Brevent are parts of Aiguilles Rouges, as well as of Tour de Mont Blanc.

After having completed the Tour de Mont Blanc in 2013, I walked the following four-day itinerary in Aiguilles Rouges:

Le Buet-Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard-Col de Salenton-Lac d´Anterne -Refuge Alfred Wills-Refuge Sales-Col de la Portette-Refuge Platé-Sallanches

Refuge Alfred Wills
Refuge Alfred Wills

Highlights:

  • The blueberry pie at Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard.
  • The huge bouquetin encountered camping above Refuge de la Pierre à Bérard and the mountains around it.
  • Camping at a small lake close to Refuge Moëde Anterne.
    Lac d´Anterne.
  • The atmosphere at Refuge Alfred Wills.
  • The limestone landshape close to Refuge Platé.
  • Marmots resting in the sun and crying to warn others when hikers approach.

Difficulty: 4

Information and maps: Chamonixnet

The complete photogallery of the Aiguilles Rouges multi day hike is available on flickr.

Tour de Mont Blanc – six highlights and five challenges

The summary: July 2013. Tour de Mont Blanc.  From  Les Houches to Les Houches. Anticlockwise around the Mont Blanc massif. 12 days. 168 km. Wild camping everywhere.

The highlights:

  • The high route on the first day from Les Houches to Refuge de Miage via Col de Tricot getting close to the glaciers.
  • Continuing up past Les Contamines, through the gorge, further above the tree limit over snowfields to Col de Bonhomme.
  • Camping directly opposite Mont Blanc on the Italian side after Refugio Elisabetta.
  • Fenetre d´Arpette, by far the toughest and most beautiful stage.
  • Lac Blanc.
  • Camping directly opposite Mont Blanc at the French side at Refuge de Bellachat.
Fenetre d´Arpette - Tour de Mont Blanc
Fenetre d´Arpette – Tour de Mont Blanc

The challenges:

  • Walking in the Alps is generally physically challenging often with ascents/descents of around 1000 meters every day; on the other hand, the trails are well made.
  • The ladders: before Lac Blanc and Col de Brevent a short section of ladders has to be climbed.
  • Fenetre d´Arpette – a genuine mountain pass, with 1200 meters ascent/descent.
  • Occasionally camping in odd spaces: Once in a parking lot (before Refuge de La Motte), another squeezed in behind two Peule tents.
  • Too many inexperienced people on the trail: A lady fall about 30 meter from the trail directly in front of me, mainly because she balanced on the edge of the trail instead of walking on it. Mountain rescue by helicopter was in place within 20 minutes.

    Lac Blanc
                                                     Lac Blanc

The complete photogallery of the Tour de Mont Blanc (2013)  is available on flickr.