One of my resent goals is to climb the highest peak of every new country I visit. Slovenia was one of those countries I visited lately, during my climbing training and Triglav National Park would become my playground for the days spent there. I couldn’t wait for the adventure to begin!
Mount Triglav, with an elevation of 2,863.65 meters is the highest peak of Slovenia and the highest peak of Julian Alps and also the most visited mountain of the country. But despite the popularity, ascending to its summit is not for everyone and specifically not for inexperienced climbers, especially in winter conditions.
My journey to the top would start from Vrata valley, across Plemenice and Cez Prag ending again to same valley. A loop of the Triglav North Face, an ascend along its right side along the toughest secured climbing route (via ferrata), a descend on its left side along the classic route past Kredarica hut and 'Čez Prag' and finally back to Vrata valley, would become my next hiking challenge, estimated around 11hours in total.
I was super excited not only for being for my first time in Slovenia but also for never having used before a via ferrata set.I and my two climbing partners began our hike from Aljazev Dom hut, early in the morning. Outside was still dark and chilly. After almost two hours of hiking we reached Luknja saddle and now sun’s beams, while falling on top of the ridge above us, were creating golden crowns, making the background with the Vrata valley bellow us look mesmerizing.
The real climb would start only after that point. All three of us put on our via ferrata set, drank some water and started climb the vertical and exposed passages which are well protected with steel cables. The most challenging part of the ascent was ascending to Sfinga, where the section was real steep, but it was also the most enjoyable part for me since I love challenges. To be honest I didn’t use my via ferrata at all even at the most exposed parts, since I feel confident on vertical exposed walls, but don’t mention that to my mom!
While reaching closer to the top we could see above us on the ridge more climbers, ascending to the top, coming from the classic route, which is shorter and much easier. That’s why so far we only crossed three climbers, following the same route like us, whereas the summit was crowded. The last part to the top is not that difficult and iron pegs or stemples make the passage easier and safer. To be honest I found the whole ascent much easier compairing to what I had read in the website travel blogs.
Finally, after almost 6 hours we reached the top. I was amazed facing, right in the middle of the summit, a metal structure, the Aljaz Tower, which is a landmark of Slovenes and Slovene territorial sovereignty. It was the biggest construction I have ever seen on top of a mountain!
After taking some classic pictures, posing in front of the Tower, holding the Greek and The Higher Than Everest flag we tasted some high calorie snacks, had some rest and gazed at the astonishing view around us. We were extremely lucky that day, since the weather was exceptionally clear and we could see really far away. The horizon now looked like the deep blue sea and the mountain ridges like foamed waves, so called ‘white horses’.
After some time we started our descending, following the classic route. The passage towards Kredarica was very exposed as well but extremely secured. The last challenging part of the route was from Kredarica towards Vrata valley (Cez Prag) with a 15m high vertical wall which we had to descent. On our way down we crossed a herd of wild deers which stared at us in curiosity rather than in fear.
We were hiking for more than 10 hours, almost nonstop, and my stomach had already started complaining. In such cases I always carry with me my favorite snack for the mountains. Peanuts from Alexandroupolis! I have been to so many places around the world so far and yet I haven’t found better peanuts from those I buy from my home town!
After about an hour we reached the hut and a rich dinner with hot vegetable soup and cheese was waiting for us, served by the sweet, tall, blond hut owner, Monica. She was very hospitable, kind and helpful in giving us extra tips of the area, and for our next day’s hike.The clock showed 21:00 and I was craving for my soft pillow. I withdraw at my dormitory, got under the warm blankets, took my camera in my hands and started watching the pictures I captured during the hike. It was only then, somewhere in between my awake and dreams that everything became dark and sweet and this is how my journey to Triglav reached to the end.