Climb Mt. Triglav from Bohinj valley

text and photographs by Andrej Podlipnik (SLO),  with climbers Bostjan Sporar (SLO) and Larry Kevans (UK)

 

BASIC FACTS ABOUT MT. TRIGLAV

Triglav is in the Julian Alps and is the highest mountain in Slovenia at 2864 m (9390 ft). It stands majestically in the centre of the National Park named after it. The name Triglav has its root in pre-history and probably described a god. In modern Slovenian the word also means three heads. This describes the mountain well because from afar it looks as though it has three peaks. The mountain is the Slovenian National Symbol and appears on the country’s flag.

 

The first recorded climb to the summit took place in 1778. It is now said that you are not a complete Slovenian until you have climbed Triglav. Many thousands do so every year.  It is not easy but can be done by most able-bodied persons who are reasonably fit and have a good head for heights and are properly equipped. The best season to climb it is from beginning of July (or when the snow melts) till the middle of October (or before the snow comes) but the best months are August and September. Most people allow two days for the trip, one day up and one down.

 

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

Never under estimate the extremes of mountain weather. Check the weather forecast before you go and plan and equip accordingly. Up to date weather forecasts can be obtained at tourist offices, our office and in most hotels. Weather website (Kredarica, 7654 ft): http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/14008.html

 

Backpack / rucksack: 45 -60 litres. It is better for the rucksack to stay half empty than to be too small and you have to leave items out or cut down on the water carried. An integral water bladder is useful. Water is at a premium on the mountain. It has to be carried up by mule or helicopter and is therefore very expensive.

Hat and gloves: rain can become snow even in July and September.

Boots: they should fit and should support your ankles. Vibram soles or similar  – wet limestone is treacherous stuff and there are some scree slopes to be crossed. Even better they should be waterproof.  Trainers and sandals are definitely not recommended.

Waterproof clothing: take a jacket and over trousers – Gore-Tex or similar. Expect temperatures from -5C to +25C)

Underwear: two sets, at least. one on one spare: - cotton ok, quick dry better.

Socks: cotton ok, special socks for boots with anti sweat-blister-... systems better. Take extra pairs and carry some blister plasters if your first aid kit.

T-shirts: quick dry non-cotton are best.

Warm clothes: pack a warm sweater or fleece – the temperature drops steeply and quickly once the sun goes down. Pack a pair of long trousers or if you wear shorts take the type that has zip on legs.

Sun cream and sunglasses: take both. A high factor cream is a must. The skin burns much quicker at higher altitude and the cool air can disguise the degree of damage until it is too late. The glare from sun on white limestone can be intense. A good pair of sunglasses with UHV helps a lot.

Cash: you will need this for your overnight accommodation at the huts. This costs between 20 and 30 EUR. A hot meal costs around 8 EUR. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks including water can be bought at the huts.

Emergency rations: huts are generally 2 hours apart but it is sensible to pack some high-energy bars and chocolate and nuts for emergency use. Water is essential and should carry water at all times.

Torch and batteries: useful if you are out after dark and for distress signalling but also a boon after lights-out in the hut. Standing on others on your way to the toilet is unpopular behaviour.

First Aid Kit: blister plasters, antiseptic cream, aspirines,...

Plastic bags: the contents of your bag dry in the event of rain.

Identity card / Passport: required to check into huts.

Map/s: paths in the mountains are very well marked; usually with direction signs. However it is strongly recommended that you use one of the maps listed below: TRIGLAV 1:25000, TRIGLAVSKI NARODNI PARK 1:50000, JULIJSKE ALPE VZHODNI DEL 1:50000. Most of them are published by PZS and can be bought in Bohinj outdoor shops or information centres (costs approx. 13 EUR). 

Compass: this does not have to be sophisticated but is extremely useful for orientating you map quickly.      

 

Map JULIJSKE ALPE VZHOD 1:50000 published by PZS. Red lines are mountain paths.

 

 

ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT

Nice to have but not essential.

Sleeping bag: huts have beds, sheets and blankets but if you insist or you want to sleep outside!

Climbing helmet: these mountains are very busy and there is a danger that you could sustain head injuries from falling stones. At certain times of the year people without helmets will not be allowed on the summit approaches. This item can be hired for your trip from our shop.

Self belaying system: on the summit ridges there can be queues and if you are not an experienced climber it can be helpful to clip on to the security aids.

Mobile phone: in case of an emergency dial 112, tell them your name and address, what happened and where you are.

Whistle: useful in an emergency.

Camera: you will regret it if you don’t take one!

 

 

SOME WORDS OF WARNING

Weather changes: weather in the Alps is very variable. From sun to storm can take less than 20 minutes. Be prepared. The greatest danger is lightning particularly between the highest huts and the summit. These routes are full of steel pins and cables which you have to hold in order to climb up and down. The can act as conductors and you do not want to be part of the earthing system. Thunderstorms are more likely in the afternoons when the air is hot and moist. Try to do the climb before noon if you can.

Vertigo: exposure is considerable at some points on the climb and sometimes you will have one thousand metres (three thousand feet) of fresh air under your boots). If you freeze clip on and others will come to your rescue!

Snake bite: there are snakes on the mountain (vipers, adders and ring snakes) – none are deadly but after snake bite medical treatment is usually required. Look where you are putting your feet.

Mountain goats: can cause rock falls when they run. If that is happening above your head, be careful.

Altitude sickness: is a very rare occurrence but to prevent it drink plenty of water. Aspirin helps as does walking more slowly. If the symptoms continue then go down.

Exhaustion: desire to reach the summit by any price has caused many deaths in the mountains by now. Mind that when you reach the top it is only half way done.

 

 

EN ROUTE

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Ridge under the summit

There are various ways to approach the summit ridge. The South and East side approaches are easier. The most difficult is the North Wall  (3000 ft of III - VII grade climbs; though there are paths on the face which do not need climbing gear – not recommended without a guide). There is also a path that comes up from the Dolic Valley – this does not require climbing gear but is more difficult than the Southern and Eastern routes.

 

 

 

 

 

The easiest way:

Rudno polje na Pokljuki - Vodnikova koca na Velem polju - Triglavski dom na Kredarici - Triglav - Dom Planika pod Triglavom - Vodnikova koca na Velem polju - Rudno polje (16 hrs or 2 days)

 

The basic route from the Bohinj Valley and back (Triglav national park):

Stara Fuzina v Bohinju - Voje valley (Mostnica canyon) - Vodnikova koca na Velem polju - Triglavski dom na Kredarici - Triglav - Dom Planika pod Triglavom - Seven lakes valley -  Koca pri Triglavskih jezerih - Stapce - Koca na planini pri Jezeru - Prsivec - Vogar - Stara Fuzina v Bohinju (23 hrs or 2-3 days)

 

Outline timings:

These will of course depend on weather and the individual’s state of fitness.

 

Start:

- in Bohinj (Voje valley) and go to Vodnik hut: 5 hrs

- in Pokljuka (Rudno polje) and go to Vodnik hut: 3 hrs

 

From Vodnik hut to:

- Triglav hut (Triglavski dom na Kredarici): 2,5 hrs

 

From Triglav hut to:

- Summit: 1,5 hrs (can be more - due to queues at height of season)

 

From Summit to:

- Planika hut (the easiest path to the top): 1,5 hrs

 

From Planika hut to:

- Vodnik hut: 2hrs

- Seven lakes hut: 4-5 hrs

 

From Seven lakes hut (Koca pri Triglavskih jezerih) to:

- Komna hut: 3,5 hrs and down in the valley: 3,5 hrs

- Vogar hut (via Planina pri Jezeru hut): 5hrs and down to the valley a further: 1hr

 

THE COUNTRY CODE

How to behave in the mountains – some do and don’ts which will make life easier for everyone.

You are in a Triglav national park - do not litter, do not make a noise, do not scare the animals, do not pick flowers, (photograph them – they last much longer that way, do not swim or wash your things in the mountain lakes. Do not light fires or through away lighted cigarettes. Close gates after you. Take care on ridges and scree slopes not to send down debris to those below you. 

When you meet or pass somebody say "dober dan" (good day)

 

 

DETAILS OF THE Huts between Mt. Triglav and Bohinj valley

 

 

PHOTOS

Planika hut 1000 ft beyond

From Rudno Polje to Planina Konjscica

 

Planina Konjscica

Towards Jezerca

 

Studorski preval

"Markacija" - marker showing direction (red circle with white spot inside means you are on the correct path)

 

Towards Triglav hut (mostly walking with some climbing sections)

Climbing towards the summit

 

Cables and pins are allready there

Victory!!! However climbers would say: "you are on a half way now"

 

Descend to Planika

 

 

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