Hiking Triglav – Slovenia’s national symbol and pride.

One day last year Elias asked if we should go to Slovenia. I must admit, I did not know much about Slovenia at that point, so my first question was: “Are there any nice mountains there?”. Sure enough, Slovenia has a lot of nice mountains. I was really impressed when I saw the mountains from the train window and even more when we later did the hike to Triglav. We took a train to a train station called Lesce-Bled (3 km away from Lake Bled). From there we took a bus to the Bled. Elias had sadly developed a quite hard cold so we were not even sure if we would be able to do the hike. Also, at the hostel they advised us not to go hiking since the weather forecast had announced thunderstorms for the days to come, but we were stubborn and we decided to try. Even though Elias had a lot of trouble just hiking the hill by the Bled lake the day before. Nevertheless, the day after we started our hike.

We planned to do the 7 lakes route. This is probably the most beautiful Triglav approach. It is quite long and quite tough to go one way in one day, both ways is impossible. The best way to do it is to sleep in one of the huts along the way.

We ended up with the following path:

  • Bled – Ukanc (buss)
  • Koca pri Savici hut – Koca na Planini hut
  • Koca na Planini hut – Vodnikov Dom
  • Vodnikov Dom – Dom Planika (Stay overnight)
  • Dom Planika – Triglav traverse – Triglavski Dom
  • Triglavski Dom – Dom Planika
  • Dom Planika – Trenta

From Bled we took a bus to Ukanc. Just get off on the last bus stop before the bus turns around. We told the bus driver that we wanted to hike Triglav and he made sure that we got off at the the right stop. Once off the bus cross the bridge and follow the small road to Koca pri Savici hut. You actually need to take a forest path to the right, before you reach the hut. This path up is really steep and you will feel it in your legs for sure :D.  For us this was really heavy because it was warm and we had more or less full 80L and 60L bags with us. As Elias was sick we really took it slow here and were even considering turning around. There is a reason why Elias still says that this is the hardest hike he has every done in his life. I just remember that it was really heavy, but the nice thing was you could always see the end of the wall so our goal was to make it up the wall and then decide if we should turn around or not. Luckily we decided to at least make it to the first lake and from there on it was not that steep anymore.

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The first lake, the water look tempting but there is a reason why nobody is swimming

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From the first lake you can follow the signs to Koca na Planini hut. Fill all your water bottles at this hut as there is no water at the huts to come ( at least during summer season). The path from the hut was through a thin forest, meaning that we got some protection from the sun, which was nice. From here the plan was to make our way to the Dom Planika hut. Which I remember turned out to be much further away than we expected.

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Relaxing at the last lake
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The beginning of the final steep section.

The final steep section was before Vodnikov Dom .First you hike up to a moon like landscape. Really this is how I expect moon to be like. This was really cool, but there was no protection from the sun and we were running out of water.

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Can you see the holes? This is what I would expect the moon to be like.

After wandering around on this moon we finally reached a big way point from where we could see Triglav (I did not know it was Triglav at the time) in front of us.

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Triglav is just to the left, barely visible from the clouds

From here we took the steep gravel path down and held to your left. You can also take a path over the mountain to your left to Dom Planika, but we did not have any energy left for that.

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Elias making sure that we did not take the wrong path.

 

Hungry and thirsty we made the steep descent down, quite desperate looking for our hut we finally saw it behind a turn. Oh what a feeling that was!! And what a view. I was really so tired and thirsty at that point that Elias went ahead to see if he could spot the hut and then reported back to me that we were close.

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Dom Planika hut

The hut was nicely placed with a idyllic view. Since we hadn’t booked ahead we were a little anxious about getting a place to sleep, but this was not a problem at all. There were people arriving after us who also got a madrass. The food at the hut was simple and the portions quite small for hikers, but we expected that so we had a lot of bread with us (hence the big bags). We were glad for the extra food we had with us because hiking on empty stomach is not enjoyable, at least not for us.

Since the thunderstorms were supposed to hit Triglav the day after, we decided to wake up at 5AM to start the ascent to Triglav.  We left our bags at the hut so that we could be faster and took only the most necessary with us. From the hut it was only 700 hm to the peak. The hike from the hut to Triglav can be divided into two; The first ascent of 200m on a nice and well established path. Then a part that is more or less flat and then a wall.. it is literally a wall.. looking at it we were really not sure how it would be possible to hike it. It was possible, it is steep, there is one part (only 3 m or so) which was really exposed (You were latterly walking on air) and it is all scrambling. Just the way we like it! It was awesome!

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The peak from distance.
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The wall, this is where we started wondering how we were going to hike this ting up, because the path lead us directly to the wall, not to its right or left.
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And this is how, and you cat see it but there was more than 100m fall right down. Therefore, if you have problems with highs this path is NOT for you. Instead try the ascent from Triglavski Dom, where you can use a ViaFerrata set.
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Happy couple on top of Triglav, no thunderstorms to see.

After a long break on the top (an hour or so, since there were no thunderstorms to see) we went down from the other side of the mountain, which I recommend since the ridge is super nice and it makes you feel like a queen on to of this majestic mountain. If you do this you will end up at the Triglavski Dom. Also I was happy we did not have to go down the same way we came up because there were places there were there were not much space to meet the traffic from other direction.

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From Triglavski Dom we hiked back to Dom Planika hut. It was a really nice hike, and it was easy to forget the time while looking at the surroundings. It took a little bit longer than we expected but around 14.00 we were back at the hut and picked up our bags. With no long break we started our descent down to Trenta from where we planned to take a bus to Ljubljana.

The ascent is steep and boring. I am glad that we did not hike up that trail. It was more or less endless snake trail between the same mountains. We met other hikers who were on their way up and they asked us how far it was to the hut. I felt bad but, I could not lie, they still had a lot of height meters to climb. We had to hurry up to catch the bus, so we were running when possible. During the last hm down it started to rain so we were glad to make it down from the mountains when we did. We made it to the bus stop 10 minutes before the bus came and had just enough time to buy some snacks for the bus ride (there is a little Kiosk on the other side of the bus stop).

It must be said that originally we had planned to do Triglav and some other peaks close by but since the weather was turning bad we decided to drop that. We were right in doing that since it was raining for a week after our hike. Luckily the weather was nice in Ljubljana so all in all we had quite some luck weather wise during this travel 🙂

 

One day hikes from Innsbruck – Weißstein and Rosskogel

Last weekend I found myself in Innsbruck, trying to find a hike or two which I could easily do with limited planning. My original plan was to do a part of the Stubaitaler Höhenweg, but bad weather forced us to improvise and change our plans at the last minute. So on the bus from Munich to Innsbruck I was desperately searching for some nice one-day hikes from Innsbruck. One would think that finding a nice hike from Innsbruck should be really easy, but take into consideration that I had to rely on public transport, that the hiking season was ending which meant that many of the hiking buses did not go anymore and that I was not just looking for a hike, but for a reasonably high peak, without any cable car (read tourists), and which was doable in one day..Yes so it turned out to be quite difficult.

After a lot of searching and even considering to just give up and go home, we landed on Weißstein 2640m and Rosskogel 2646m.

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We took the bus from Innsbruck to Gries im Sellrain. Here there was a small shop where we could get everything we needed for a lunch pack. After shopping we had some trouble finding out where the trail started as there were no sig

ns to see. So here is a tip: go behind the shop and pass the church and you will spot the yellow signs. The path up is through a quite steep, but beautiful forest path. 

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Eventually we ended up on a yellow/orange plain. The sun was warm and autumn golden colors shined. This is how autumn is supposed to be.

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The area has a nice small river and there is a possibility to fill a water bottle both on 1700 meters and on 2000 meters.

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Can you spot the Weißstein peak cross?

From the plain we could also spot both peaks. We decided to do Weißstein first and then Rosskogel, but one could also go directly to Rosskogel. The way up to Weißstein went first pass some avalanche protecting yards? Not sure how these things are called.

Once we were pass those we got a dramatic and mysterious view to the peak. We met a couple who had turned around because they didn’t expect there to be so mu

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ch scrambling. And indeed the sign before the last ascent to the peak warned us that it would be a very difficult climb so I guess they were scared that it 

was too much. We on the other hand did not let us scare off, but we had to do some real scrambling before we got to enjoy the view from the peak. But it was not exposed so I did not feel unsafe at any point. The way down on the other side of the peak (for going to Rosskogel) had one really long climb, but that was in a small mountain crack and not exposed. The important point is that there are not many iron ropes or ladders, it’s more of a natural experience 😉

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After a long beak, all alone on Weißstein we went on to Rosskogel. I think we used no more than 30 minutes to get from one peak to the other.

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The view to Weißstein from Rosskogel

On Rosskogel we had some more snacks and then started the descent. The way down was really nice to begin with, once again the autumn showed itself from it’s best side.

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But then we made the mistake to head down to Sellrain instead of Gries. DO NOT DO THAT! What looked like a nice path turned into a long mountain road of zigzags and in the end there were no signs so we got lost. We decided to just follow the road down to the valley and then ask for directions. In the valley it became clear that we had walked pass Sellrain. The guy we asked told us that the next bus stop was 20 minutes walk away, but when I looked at the direction he showed us I was sure that it was much longer and we had only 1 hour to the last bus back to Innsbruck. So in the end we decided to go down to the valley instead of following the directions given to us and to stop a car and ask for directions for the closest bus stop. The driver was so nice and drove us to the bus stop. We could also have made it there by walking as it was not so far, but when you don’t know where the buss stop is getting there takes longer time 😉 Moral of the story is that do not try to be too adventurous, sometimes taking the same path up as down is the best option, especially when you have a bus to catch 😉

The adventure ended well and we made it back to Innsbruck with the last buss. Now the question was what we would do the next day. We started looking at possible hikes again and I found the options below, which are now on my to-do list, as we had to cancel our hiking plans the next day due to bad weather and decided to head back to Munich. One day hikes from Innsbruck on my list:

 

Five peak challenge from Axamer Lizum until Hochtennspitze

This is a five peak challenge via Ampferstein and Marchreisenspitze or you could even make it a six peak challenge, when you add Nockspitze to it. My plan was not to do Nockspitze as I think it is a very popular peak and I prefer to enjoy my peaks alone ;). All in all this is a would be 1570 meters climb up and 1988 meters down. I estimate it to take 7-8 hours. There is a bus to Axamer Lizum from Innsbruck.

Sulzkogel – 3016m

I wanted to do this one when I was in Innsbruck, but unfortunately the bus to Kühtai stops going mid of October so there was no way for us to get there. But the peak is on my list now as it is an easy 3000m mountain. It is just a 1000m climb and a 6h hike up and down.

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There are definitely many other cool peaks in the area and many of them you can also get to without a car, but it takes some planning. The two mentioned are definitely on my list for my next Innsbruck visit 🙂 But the Stubaitaler Höhenweg, and the Innsbrucker Klettersteig will also remain on my list for next year.

 

Hiking & Biking – Birkkarspitze 2749 m, Is it doable in one day?

Birkkarspitze was actually not my plan for this weekend, but as I could not do the hike I had planned in Innsbruck, this was a nice plan B. This is not very easily accessible hike, specially when you want to do it with one day.

Birkkarspitze is the highest peak in Karwendel mountains, I actually thought that Westliche karwendelspitze was the highest one and that I was on top of karwendel when I did Mittenwalder klettersteig. Turns out that it is actually Birkkarspitze 😀

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If you want to hike Birkkarspitze in one day the options are to bike into the Karwendeltal or Hinterautal. The advantage of choosing Karwendeltal is that you will have a hut on the way back and you can do a nice loop, including the ridge over Ödkarspitze. From Hinterautal you can only do Birkkarspitze and you will need to go up and down the exact same path. We did the Karwendeltal route, If I decide to only hike Birkkarspitze, I will do it via Hinterautal.

So our route was the following (Outdooractive link):

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This was the first hike where I bike to the starting point of the hike. I just bought a new (used) bike on Thursday and I was both excited and nervous about using it on this hike. I had read on the all knowing internet that the road to Karwendelhaus should be also bikeable with normal bike, but I also knew that it was 500hm uphill, over 13 km. So I uncertain if my city bike would be suitable for that 😀 But when in doubt I try to remember the advice a Norwegian expeditionist,  Børge Ousland: “Don’t be so afraid of failing”. So with this advice in my head we packed the bags on Saturday and went to bed at nine to wake up 5:30 the day after.  The first train from Munich to Scharnitz leaves at 6:30 so we biked to Hbf. in the dark!! I can’t believe that it was dark, this actually means that winter is coming! Ok I am exaggerating a bit, but still, days are getting shorter fast.

In Scharnitz we took out our outdooractive map and tried to follow it, but still go lost. Luckily there was a nice lady who told us where the bike road to Karwendelhaus starts.

Still, the beginning of the trail was a little bit tricky. We could just follow the road and signs to Karwendeltal, but chose to take a short, but steep as hell, shortcut through the forest. In retrospective it was worth it, because I am quite sure it saved 30 minutes, or more by doing this. But if you do not feel like starting the hike by pushing your bike up a narrow ,steep forest path, just follow the road and signs to Karwendeltal (the outdooractive map follows the forest path 🙂 )

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After sweat 20 minutes in the forest, the path ran into the main gravel road and we were able to start biking. It was still heavy and all the mountain bikers, with their crazy ass mountain bikes, biked pass us. One of them was even asking me if we really wanted to do Birkkarspitze, then laughing and biking pass us. Honesty, not everybody has 2000 euros to invest into a mountainbike, you do not need to be a ***hole about it!

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From Scharnitz It took us 2 hours to bike to Angeralm, but since we forgot to look at the map we biked a bit too far and had to bike back. That cost us probably 15 minutes or so 😦  

At Angeralm we locked our bikes under a nice three and started the hike at 11:45. There were no signs on the whole hike so a GPS map from outdooractive was really very useful. The hike up was very steep to begin with, but flattened out after a while when we reached the ridge. The path itself was hardly visible, and at times it felt like we were not following a path at all, just walking in the wildness. There were no other hikes on the path we took, so I guess most people hike just Birkarspitze from the hut.

 

 

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Do not bike into the forest here, the path starts on the right side of the big tree

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We did not mind having the path to ourselves, the views were amazing and looking up towards the ridge reminded us of the Dolomites, just without all the tourists. Before we got to the real ridge we had to cross a long gravel valley, but it was not steep and was easy to cross. From here the last accent to the real ridge started. There were sections on the ridge that were surprisingly exposed. Luckily there were fixed iron ropes on these sections, which was good because even I felt unconformable at one spot :O :O

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Climbing down from Ödkarspitze

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Another thing that surprised us was that the ridge was not really flat. Looking at the map I thought it would be more or les flat, but in fact we had to go quite a lot up and down between the Weslishe Öderskarspitze (2712m) , Östliche Ödkarspitze (2738 m) and Birkkarspitze(2749), even though their height difference is only couple of meters.

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When we got to the part where you can choose to go up to Birkkarspitze or down to the hut it was 15:30 and so after some discussion we decided to drop the peak. We were not sure how much time it would take and we wanted to have some time at the hut. Also, the path down to the hut looked really hard and we decided therefore to take a small break at the Biwak hut instead, have our Gipfel beer there and then head down. The Biwak hut was nice but very small, I think some of the people coming up planned to stay there overnight. So this would also be an option, but remember, there is no water there, so you need to bring enough water in you want to do this.

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Biwak slefie

In retrospective we could definitely have made the peak as well, but we would then have been stressed about the time on the way down and would not have enjoined it as much. Therefore I am also not too bitter about missing the peak. In the end I don’t do this to gather the most peaks, I do this because I love being in the mountains. From the Biwak we used 1h 30 minutes down, not rushing it. We were at the hut 17:30, but it turned out they did not serve dinner before 6:00. Which meant they only had soup and beer. Not exactly what we were hoping for 😦

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Karwendelhaus, Birkkarspitze is in the fog behind it.

After some beer and Apfelstrudel we started heading down to our bikes, which took us about another hour walking. From Angeralm we just rolled back to Scharnitz in ca. 1 hour. This was pure enjoyment! And at the same time I understood why it was so heavy to bike to Angeralm, it was in fact all uphill! 😀 😀 ..

We were down at Angeralm at 19.00 and at Scharnitz train station at 20:15. The loop to the hut took us 6.h 30 min. If you want to do the peak you need to add at least 40 minutes, I would say.

We had some time to kill before as the last train back to Munich leaves 21:30. We used the time on stretching and got some beverages and crisps from the local petrol station.

All in all this was a real challenging hike, including the hm from Scharnitz, we did over 2000 hm in one day! The feeling of accomplishment was even stronger as we did it with normal bikes, which is way more adventurous and challenging than cruising to the hut on a mountainbike. Do I recommend this hike for “normal” people ? Well, you differently need to like a challenge if you decide to do it with normal city bike, but let there be no doubt, it is doable!

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This weekend I can’t go hiking because of work 😦 , but the boulder world cup 2017 is held in Munich this weekend, so I plan to stream it and enjoy my sofa. Furthermore, in two weeks I plan to do a real badass hike in Austria, which I need to charge my batteries for, so a weekend at home will be nice. 

 

 

Slogen – a hike you can’t miss while in Sunnmøre.

Sunnmøre is the southernmost region of the western Norwegian district of Møre og Romsdal. Its main city is ÅlesundThe district is made up of mainland as well as several large islands such as Hareidlandet, plus many small islands. The region is an hikers wet dream! There are several big fjords in the area which means steep hikes and amazing views. Most of the hikes start around sea level, so even though the highest mountain in the area is bellow 2000 m, fear not, you will get to climb enough high meters. There are few sports that can not be practiced in Sunnmøre, its perfect for hiking, kayaking, skiing, paragliding, and you can even do surfing. There are also a lot of possibilities for climbing.

I have not yet explored all the different possibilities and do not know the mountains as well as the locals do, but I have done around 5 hikes in the area and am convinced that the mountaintops in sunnmøre are what dreams are made of 🙂

If you are lucky enough to be in the area during nice weather, Slogen (1564m) is the mountain you can not miss. Despite its sharp and steep appearance, the top is relatively easy to climb. From the peak you have a fantastic view of the peaks around and the valleys deep down at Hjørundfjorden.

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From the fjord, Slogen rises like a triangular pyramid, straight up. Coming closer you will see that it is not quite as steep.

With nice weather, the hike up is easier than you would think, only the last part is a bit exposed and requires some scrambling, so do not be surprised to meet Norwegians in sport BH and shorts running up. There are some really sporty Norwegians out there so even we had to let some pass us 😀

You do not need any equipment of any kind to get to the top, but I do not recommend this hike with fog or rain, at least not all the way to the peak as the last 100 hm are really exposed. We are talking about several hundred meters right down!

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The trip up to Slogen is suitable for day trips, but there is a possibility to spend an overnight stay at the Patchellhytta before climbing the top the next day. With accommodation here, this trip is also suitable for children.

To get to Patchellhytta (and further up to the top) you can either go up Skylstadbrekka from Øye in Norangsdalen (about 2-3 hours) or up the Liadalen from Engeset not far from Stranda (about 2-3 hours). From Patchellhytta, the trip takes up to about 3 hours. The trail up to the top from Patchellhytta is not marked, but it is quite easy to find. The third option would be to walk from Urke to the hut and then do the peak next day.

Season: June-September.

From Øye: 3 km. 1500 altitude meters, 4 hours.

From Patchellhytta: 3 km. 750 height meters, 3 hours.

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We hiked the route from Øye (Marked black on the map). It is 1500 hm more or less right up, but in return you feel that you are getting closer with every step you take and just after 1 hour, you can already spot the peak. The first 1000 hm are in the forest, after that there is a short part of gravel path and after that you have to jump between the rocks and find you way to the top, while enjoying the amazing view to Hjørungsfjorden.

The path from Øye has normally less snow so it is a nice option if it is early in the season. After perhaps 500 hm you will find a sign to water. It is a nice opportunity to fill up your water bottle as it gets really warm on that side of the valley during sunny days.

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We did not fill up our water bottle on the marked place, so we had to get creative.
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100hm from the peak, there was a lot of snow so we had to climb next to it. This is where you want to stop if you do not like scrambling.

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The views from the peak speak for themselves:

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The one hour that we spent on the top, went way too fast!!

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This view spoiled us on the way down. I need to figure out what the closest mountain is called and add it to my list 🙂

We used 4 hours up (with two 20 minutes breaks)  and 2,5 hours down. The path down is long and steep so I do recommend hiking poles, even thought you will be an obvious tourist while using them (very few Norwegians use hiking poles :D).

If you are a true Norwegian you finish your hike with a refreshing (read freezing) swim in the fjord. Luckily I am Estonian so I had an excuse 😉

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This is just one of the hikes we did during our vacation in Norway this year. In one weeks time, we managed to do another hike and some kayaking in the area. I had also planned outdoors camping, but that we had to cancel due to the weather 😦