The king of the Julian Alps, the highest mountain of Slovenia and an iconic climb for most of the nation, Triglav rules its kingdom of jagged peaks, stunning lakes and deep valleys. Strategically positioned in the heart of Triglav National Park, actually the only national park of Slovenia, its somewhat pointed summit lures the crowds in summer, but the question today is who’s up for the challenge in the snow? Because the reward is simply finger-licking sweet!
Although climbing Triglav in the snow may sound like a crazy idea for a mediocre mountaineer like myself, yet I have been playing with it for the last couple of months. Seriously, why not climb Triglav in winter? And I’m not talking about climbing it with a couple of equally underexperienced friends or let alone doing it solo as part of life ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ experiments (that kind of risks should be out of the question for anyone!). However, climbing it with someone who knows exactly what they’re doing and is trained to assure the highest safety possible, is another story altogether. Yes, I’m talking about climbing Triglav with a mountain guide, the one person who will attach you to their climbing harness and make sure that the climb not only turns out an enjoyable adventure but also a safe one.
The reason behind my growing desire to climb Triglav in the snow is actually my friend’s message back in January, which he sent from the crowded Kredarica Hut, 2,515 m, the highest lying mountain hut in Slovenia positioned right beneath the peak of Triglav. It was one of those beautiful sunny days with stable snow conditions and the trails nicely trodden, so arriving at Kredarica wasn’t a challenge on its own but more a relaxing venture. The conditions for ascending further on to the peak of Triglav itself were a bit more favorable than they are now, so, according to another friend who also happened to be at Kredarica at the same time, guiding two guests from the UK to Triglav, climbing the great peak was somewhat trivial (in comparison to climbing Triglav in May 2016). He is an IFMGA mountain guide and has taken clients to even steeper and bigger mountains like Mont Blanc and Matterhorn, so I trust his judgement.
Back to their January climb. With the sunny weather forecasted on Wednesday and possible snow storms on Thursday afternoon, my friend Miha and his two guests followed the classic winter trail from the Krma Valley over the Kalvarija slope and to the Kredarica Hut, the trail suitable for adventure enthusiasts with basic mountaineering skills. As his guests were tired from the hike to Kredarica, they postponed the final ascent to the summit until the next morning. Nevertheless, Miha decided to climb the peak alone the same afternoon and luckily chose the most picture-perfect timing – just in time for the sunset. Here are a few photos from Triglav for sunset that will probably make you scream Me too! I know I did!
If the evening in the mountains was spectacular, so was the next morning. Under the cloudless blue sky Miha attached his two guests to his rope, which would’ve kept them safe in case of a fall, and mentally calmer during the climb. I mean, what does an average enthusiastic mountaineer seriously know about successfully stopping themselves with an ice axe on a 70-degree slope, right? Then they headed towards the summit. And summited it an hour later.
Anyway, Triglav turned out a great adventure for the UK guests, who I’m sure will come back for more. While I’m also seriously considering climbing it either this spring or next winter (with a mountain guide of course), I’d like to encourage all you doubters out there, who’d like to climb it but aren’t sure whether you’re up to the challenge, to consider climbing it with a mountain guide. If you decide in favor of climbing Triglav with a proper guide, you’re welcome to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can ask my IFMGA mountain guide friend Miha Habjan to help you with the climb.
Until next time!