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!
Perched between the jagged peaks of the Julian Alps and the Soča Valley, a small settlement of about a thousand carries not only a long history but also incredible landscapes. While Kobarid’s intriguing part of the history, the 1917 Battle of Caporetto, made it actually world renowned with Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, experiencing it in person completely surpasses one’s expectations. It offers a whole pack of outdoor activities, anything from kayaking in the white waters, relaxing on long dusty bike trails, sport climbing, paragliding, to exploring endless trails over small hills and rocky faces of high mountains.
It was early August, so to speak the peak of the mountaineering season for most of the country, and the sun was about to spread its first rays over the sleepy slopes. Besides a few other cars, my husband and I were among the few hikers to go up the highest peak of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps that day, Mount Grintovec.
Somewhere far away from the city bustle, nested among towering mountain peaks, an enchanting green meadow stretches speckled with colorful flowers, and right in the middle of a green patch there is a friendly mountain hut. On its sunny terrace in totally relaxed vibes, a bunch of eager mountaineers share their bold climbing stories over barley porridge called ričet and cold beer while soaking in epic views of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. That’s Kamniško Sedlo.
I saw a brave little boy climb the steep route to Mt. Nanos alone this weekend. As a parent, I was shocked. Truly, guys, who lets their six-year-old climb a mountain alone? Over rocks, pitons and steel cables?
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.
There’d been several attempts this year to conquer it, but failed (remember Ski touring below the Triglav North Face, Climbing Triglav in spring and The third try?). Not by much; yet still standing at the top of the second of the two highest peaks doesn’t quite measure up to that sweet feeling of actually reaching the summit, does it? A fourth attempt based on a spontaneous idea from a day before surprisingly succeeded. Not only succeeded, but it excelled so greatly it can be easily placed on my top five hikes of all times!
Do you ever have those trips to the same mountain when you continuously fail and need to turn back down over and over again? That was Triglav for us. The otherwise friendly mountain and the pride of every Slovenian can quickly turn an ugly face in less than perfect conditions.
It was one of those situations when you seek spring, only to find harsh winter conditions in the mountains which resemble more to those expected in January and not in the mid-May. The weather this week has been mostly rain, bringing snow in the high mountains. Lots of it. Although snow conditions were anything but stable due to a very thick layer of new snow, our team had been planning an ascent of Triglav for this particular weekend for a long time and thus decided to give it a go regardless of the situation. Anyway, one could always turn around if conditions turned too bad, right?
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.