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!
I always wanted to see the ice kingdom which the winter Mount Snežnik is famous for and possibly ski among the frozen silhouettes. You see, since the mountain is close to the sea (only 28 km), it receives more precipitation, which in combination with strong winds can build incredible ice structures on anything that sticks up the ground. Thus the lodge at the top puts on an otherworldly ice cover, while dwarf pines, which sporadically cover the highest parts of the plateau, turn completely white and resemble an exhibition of art work rather than trees. Really spectacular!
What a weird weekend. It started with big plans but ended up with nothing tangible worth bragging about. In contrast to what you must be thinking right now, no, it was still a great weekend, just very different from expected. We walked up an icy trail and we’d have been ok with that if it hadn’t been for the rain which gradually intensified into a heavy downpour. The next day, I fought with incredible amounts of soft wet snow with each step sinking into knee-or- butt deep snow. In the rain again. While I’m usually not a quitter, I quit both hikes. The only things I didn’t quit last weekend were a sunrise hike up to Šmarna gora with my doggy pal Lisa and sauna pampering with my girlfriends.
Ice climbing has never been my thing. Ever since the climbing accident ten years ago, I’ve steered myself away from the vertical and kept my step safer on the trail instead. A few weeks ago, though, the news arrived about frozen waterfalls in the Hell Gorge near Ljubljana; being such a rare sight I decided to duck out of my comfort zone and join my friends the next morning for an ice-climbing session in the Hell.
I’ve written about climbing our highest peak over and over and over again. It’s strikingly beautiful and climbing it fills you with indescribable emotions way beyond exhilarated. But then again, Triglav is surprisingly demanding and even in perfect conditions a serious ascent. Experienced climbers describe winter ascents to Slovenia’s highest peak as a true challenge. You want to do it safely? Climb it with a mountain guide. Seriously.
As soon as my husband and I finished work for the week, we quickly hurried towards Gorenjska and left our car in the parking below the Matizovec farm at the foothill of the Košuta massif. In fact, Košuta is the largest massif in Slovenia with its 10 km (6.2 mi) long crest and as many as 12 mountains over 2 K. The goal for the evening was to hike to Kofce, a mountain hut at 1.488 m (4,882 ft), and record a time-lapse video of the sunset in the mountains.
There are days when I need a challenge and days when I just need to take it easy, relax, even meditate in a way. That’s how I pick mountains. I usually turn in for the night with a ready backpack, but no real plan where to go the next day, only to make one during my morning ritual. If it seems impossible to decide in the evening, it all clears up in the morning. My Wednesday pick two weeks ago was no different.
I woke up early when others were still sound asleep, an hour before my actual alarm. I set out in complete darkness and drove towards the mountains. Since the snow was still fresh from the day before, the greater risk of avalanches outweighed my wish for a true adventure. My safest bet, thus, was Mt. Begunjščica, a 2,060-m or 6,760-ft mountain in the Karawanks range, also called a mountain of a hundred ravines. I figured it would make a great winter escapade; nothing technical, just pure pleasure.
It was neither an easy nor a short trail with 2,930 ft (893 m) of elevation gain and some sections covered in ice and slippery compact snow. As an experienced hiker and a parent, I knew it was a long shot of actually reaching the top with a small child, but we gave it a try nonetheless. It is all about the journey, anyway.
Storzic, Dec. 2, 5026 Ft / 1532 m elevation gain, 6 hours car – top- car. At 2132 m / 6994 Ft high it is one of the highest mountains in the Slovenian Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
I used to hike mountains all the time, on weekends, after work, during holidays, or whenever there was an opportunity. Now, times are a bit different. With two little rascals on my back, we prefer small hills rather than great peaks, and even those usually turn into long and tiring daily trips. This time, I took a day off work, dropped the kids in day care and school, and started off to one of my favorite mountains, Storzic. It felt amazing.