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Construction page

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Created/Edited: Jun 3, 2009 / Feb 6, 2016

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This is my backyard page for pre-publishment stage works. In other words, PERMANENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!! :)
Please do not vote on it.

Zemplén Mountains
Zemplén Mountains

High Tatras

Vysoka, Rysy and Niznie Rysy - High Tatras

Biography of Dávid Frölich with his experiences in the High Tatras at the bottom of p176 and several other interesting non mountain-related things...

A Magas-Tátra feltárása

Zamkovského chata

Salvamont info

calimans 4

General emergency number: 112
National dispatcher: 0-SALVAMONT (0725-826668)

Salvamont Bihor | salvamontbihor(at)yahoo.com | 0359-436022
Salvamont Mureş | salvamont(at)cjmures.ro | 0729-988844
Salvamont Gheorgheni | 0724-212586
Salvamont Sibiu

A list - not known how up-to-date



Gendarmes of Retezat
from Tău Porţii
Bucura valley
from Viorica lake
Hanging lake
Agătat lake and Poarta Bucurei ridge
Slaveiului ridge
Slaveiului ridge

First of all, let's mention that no marked trail leads to the summit of Judele (so, if you take the NP rules very strictly, it is not allowed to climb it). However, one of the marked trails crosses the Judele saddle, which is so near to the peak that temptation is hard to resist if you are not afraid of a little scrambling. The saddle can be approached in four possible ways:

1) Bucura Lake – Tăul Porţii - Ăgatat Lake – Şaua Judele

Difficulty: difficult
Time: 1.5 - 2 h
Level rising: + 400 m
Marking: blue stripe -> yellow stripe -> red dot

2) Bucura Lake – Ana Lake - Viorica Lake - Florica Lake - Ăgatat Lake – Şaua Judele

Difficulty: difficult
Time: 1 - 1.5 h
Level rising: + 400 m
Marking: red dot

Routes #1 and #2 merge by the well-hidden Ăgatat Lake, situated just below Turnu Porţii. From here a steep ascent follows up to Judele saddle - this part of the route is usually covered with snow until summer, and can be dangerous to tackle unprepared in such conditions.

3) Zănoaga Lake - Şaua Judele

Difficulty: moderate

Time: 1 - 1.5 h
Level rising: + ... m
Marking: red dot

4) Bucura Lake – “La Pintenul Slăveiului” – Creasta Slăveiului (Slaveiului ridge) – Şaua Judele

Difficulty: difficult

Time: 2 - 3 h
Level rising: + 550 m
Marking: blue cross, yellow dot, red triangle -> stone marking

Route #4 has unmarked parts, so the hiker must be prepared for some route finding. But this probably makes it even more interesting.

Judele peak
Judele from Judele saddle

Once you have reached the Judele saddle, take the obvious ridge (unmarked) towards the peak. The first section is wide and comfortable. When you reach the base of the summit, it gets more exposed (see the photo on the left). The safest route is a path on the western side of the ridge (the photo on the left shows the exposed eastern face), which is occasionally marked with stone piles. Soon you will reach the summit of Judele, marked with a wooden pole.

NE Carpathians

The lowest group of the Carpathians, located at the NE reaches of the Pannonian basin, forms a stout flysch bridge between the old orogens of the Northwestern Carpathians and those of the Eastern Carpathians. The topography of the Northeastern Carpathians is rather monotonous. The outer belt of flysch is accompanied by an inner belt of Tertiary volcanoes. The elevation of the mountains and passes generally increases toward the southeast to finally culminate in the highest summits of the Chornohora Range (Black Mountains) and the Marmarosh Mountains, but the highest point hardly exceeds 2000 m. Most of the other ranges generally rise within the 1000-1500 m bracket. The borders of this quarter of the Carpathians are drawn somewhat arbitrarily: usually the valley of the Topľa River in the NW and Prislop/Borşa pass in the SE.

In the tables below, the member ranges of the NE Carpathians have been listed from northwest to southeast, sorted by rock type; in the following format: mountain range - highest peak - elevation (in meters). The divisions and names of the subgroups within the sandstone chain are plenty and confusing. A case in point can be the borderline between the Eastern Beskids and the Marmarosh Mts., which has completely different versions: 1) Użocka/Uzhots'kyi pass at the Polish/Ukrainian border, 2) Verets'kyi pass, 3) the source of Bela Tysa (White Tisa) River by the Ukrainian/Romanian border. Here we have used the last one, as it is the most commonly applied today.

Triangles indicate the highest peaks of particular ranges (hover the mouse over them to see the names of the ranges and peaks). Black pentagons indicate major towns (click - if available - to open links for airports).
Central / Low Beskid (Bušov, 1002 m)Góry Sanocko-Turczańskie (Magura Łomniańska, 1024 m)Bieszczady Zachodnie (Tarnica, 1346 m)Bieszczady Wschodnie (Pikui, 1405 m)Beskidy Skolskie (Parashka, 1269 m)Gorgany (Syvulia, 1836 m)Pokuts'ki Karpaty (Rotylo, 1483 m)Mountains of Northeastern Bukovyna (Lungul, 1377)Putylski Hory (Yarovytsia, 1575 m)Obcina Mare (Skoruşet, 1223)Obcina Feredeu (Veju Mare, 1494)Obcina Mestecăniş (Ţapul Mare, 1661)Polonyna-Runa (Runa, 1480 m)Polonyna Borzhava (Stiy, 1682 m)Polonyna Krasna (Hropa, 1564 m)Svydovets' (Blyznytsia, 1881 m)Chornohora (Hoverla, 2061 m)Hryniavs'ki Hory (Pohreptyna, 1605 m)Munţii Maramureş (Farcău, 1956 m)Vihorlatské vrchy (Vihorlat, 1076 m)Makovytsia-Synyak (Dunauka, 1019 m)Velykyi Dil (Buzhora, 1085 m)Tupyi Mountains (Tupij, 878 m)Munţii Oaş (Piatra Vâscului, 917 m)Creasta Pietrii (Igniş, 1307 m)Munţii Gutâi (Gutâi, 1445 m)Munţii Lăpuş (Văratec, 1348 m)Munţii Ţibleş (Ţibleş, 1839 m)Košice /Kassa/ (SK)Uzhorod /Ungvár/ (UA)Satu Mare /Szatmárnémeti, Sathmar/ (RO)Ivano-Frankivsk (UA)Lviv (UA)
Wetlinska Meadow II - Summit Vistas Western Bieszczady - fall
Maramures seen from Chornohora Marmarosh Mts. - winter
Main ridge and Hoverla Chornohora - summer

Sandstone (flysch) beltVolcanic belt
Central / Low Beskid between the Topľa River and Lupkovský/Łupków pass, in Poland known as Beskid Niski, in Slovakia as Ondavské vrchyBušov1002
Eastern Beskyds (a.k.a. Ukrainian Carpathians) usually split into two subgroups: the Polonyna Ridge and the Wooded Beskyds/Carpathians - details in a separate table belowHoverla2061
Marmarosh Mountains the most complex and unique of all the mountains in the Northeastern Carpathians, in geological and geomorphological terms - more info below this tableFarcău1956
Bukovina Carpathians a group of parallel ranges within the borders of the historic Bukovina (now in Ukraine and Romania): UA - Mountains of Northeastern Bukovyna (Lungul, 1377), Putyls'ki Hory (Yarovytsia, 1575) RO - Obcina Mestecăniş (Ţapul Mare, 1661), Obcina Feredeu (Veju Mare, 1494) and Obcina Mare (Skoruşet, 1223)Ţapul Mare1661
Vihorlatské vrchyVihorlat1076
Velykyi DilBuzhora1085
Tupyi Mts.Tupij878
Munţii OaşPiatra Vâscului917
Creasta PietriiIgniş1307
Munţii GutâiGutâiul Mare1445
Munţii LăpuşVăratec1348
Munţii ŢibleşBran1840

Sometimes the Oaş and Lăpuş Mountains, along with Creasta Pietrii, are incorporated into the Gutâi Mountains.

Hoverla Chornohora - winter
Pearl of the Chornohora Chornohora - summer
Cliff of Pip Ivan s corrie Marmarosh Mts.
Mount Cergowa ( 716 m ) Low Beskid
Karst arch Polonyna Krasna - fall
Gutai Gutâi Mountains

Cearcănul (Sárkány)

To demonstrate the complexity of the Marmarosh Mountains, it should suffice to list their highest peaks along with the rocks they are composed of:

  • Pop Ivan (1937 m) - Precambrian gneiss, one of the oldest rocks in the Carpathians
  • Farcău (1956 m) - submarine basalt
  • Mihailecu (1920 m) - alternate beds of limestone and basalt, folded and set vertically
  • Toroiaga (1930 m) - andesite (lava intrusion)

The above peaks once comprised the main ridge of the Marmarosh Mountains, which has been cut by headward erosion of the tributaries of the Vişeu (Vyshov) river. (This part of the Carpathians - in contrast to the NW Carpathians - is still being lifted relatively quickly.) Therefore most of today's main ridge is a much lower, mostly flysch ridge (its central part is often called the Chyvchyn Mts), and the isolated, non-flysch, highest summits of the Marmarosh stand alone and tall. This interesting geomorphology is enhanced by traces of little glaciers of the Ice Age.

The highest range of the Bukovina Carpathians (Obcina Mestecăniş) is geologically similarly patchworked, although it is less prominent.

Maramureş Mountains
Marmarosh Mountains viewed from the Rodnei Mountains - summer

As to the Eastern Beskids / Ukrainian Carpathians, the various divisions, names (Ukrainian/Polish/Rusyn) and elevations found on the maps and in the guidebooks can be perplexing. In the table below, we have aimed to provide an accurate and reasonably comprehensive list. Providing you are able to decipher Cyrillic, you can also enjoy these excellent maps.

Wooded Beskyds / Wooded Carpathians (In Polish: Beskidy Lesiste. In Ukraine, the term Beskydy is not normally used for any mountains east of Toruns'kyi/Vyshkovskyi Pass.)Polonyna Ridge (Polonyns'kyj chrebet)
Western Bieszczady (Polish: Bieszczady Zachodnie) between Lupkovský/Łupkowska and Użocka/Uzhots'kyi passTarnica1346
Eastern Bieszczady (Polish: Bieszczady Wschodnie) or Skolivs'ki Beskydy several parallel ridges between Użocka/Uzhots'kyi and Toruns'kyi/Vyshkovskyi passPikui1405
Gorgany (Horhany) SE of the Bieszczady/Skolivs'ki Beskydy as far as the Prut riverSyvulia1836
Pokuts'ki Karpaty between the Prut and the Cheremosh riversRotylo1483
Polonyna-Runa (Rivna)Runa/Rivna1480
Polonyna BorzhavaStiy (Stohy)1682
Polonyna KrasnaHropa (Gropa)1564
Hryniavs'ki HoryPohreptyna / Polonyna Myhailova1605

Issues that complicate the situation:

  • The SW part of the Western Bieszczady lies in Slovakia, where it is known as Bukovské vrchy.
  • The NE threshold of the Bieszczady is named the Sanok-Turka Mts (Polish: Góry Sanocko-Turczańskie - Magura Łomniańska, 1022) or the Upper Dniester Beskyds (Ukrainian: Verkhnio-Dnistrovs'ki Beskydy).
  • In Ukraine, the term Eastern Beskydy is used for the parts of both the Western and the Eastern Bieszczady that lie north-east of the main ridge. What Poles call Beskidy Skolskie (Parashka, 1269) is the northeasternmost range of the Eastern Bieszczady.

The Sun of Bieszczady W Bieszczady - winter
Three polonynas Toward Polonyna Runa
Sunrise viewed from Svydovets Svydovets' - summer
View from Wyzna Pass (872 m) towards Mount Tarnica (1364 m) W Bieszczady - fall
Swidowiec,Ukraine Svydovets' - fall
His majesty Marmarosh Mts. - summer

E Carpathians

Ferdinand ;)
Face to face

The Eastern Carpathians run southwardly from Prislop/Borşa and the valley of the Bistriţa Aurie at least as far as Predeal Pass, beyond which rises the dramatic wall of the Bucegi Mountains towering over the Prahova Valley. If more attention is drawn to the rock type than to the topography, the west frontier of the Eastern Carpathians will have to be pushed farther west and the most logical border line will be Giuvala Pass (Bran-Rucar corridor). If you have read the previous chapters, you will not be surprised that we have opted for the latter division line.

The location of the highest point of the Eastern Carpathians depends on the answer to the question where the southwestern reaches of these mountains are. Having decided on Giuvala Pass, we have to look towards the Bucegi Mountains and point to their highest summit Omu, 2509 m. Had we opted for Predeal Pass and the Prahova Valley, it would be the highest peak of the Rodnei Mountains (Pietrosu Mare, 2303 m). Except for these two ranges, most of the other mountains in this part of the Carpathians reach elevations from 1500 to 2000 m.

In the Eastern Carpathians, all the three lithologic belts characteristic of the Northwestern Carpathians get exposed again. The volcanic range is of great importance and boasts the highest volcanic massifs across the Carpathians. The flysch belt is well developed, as wide as the flysch belt of the Northeastern Carpathians but - especially on the Transylvanian side - differs from the typical Carpathian flysch in that it contains large amounts of calcium. As a result, several ranges of the Eastern Carpathians show off scenic, bizarre, mighty rock formations of calcareous conglomerate (or arenaceous, i.e. sandy, limestone).

The table below lists member ranges of the Eastern Carpathians from north to south, sorted by rock type, in the following format: mountain range - highest peak - elevation (in meters).

Triangles indicate the highest peaks of particular ranges (hover the mouse over them to see the names of the ranges and peaks). Black pentagons indicate major towns with - except Braşov - airports (click to open links).
Munţii Rodnei (Pietrosu Mare, 2303 m)Munţii Bârgău (Heniul Mare, 1612 m)Munţii Suhard (Omului, 1932 m)Munţii Bistriţei (Budacu, 1859 m)Munţii Giurgeu (Şipoş, 1576 m)Munţii Ciucului - North (Noşcolat, 1553 m)Munţii Căliman (Pietrosu, 2102 m)Munţii Gurghiului (Saca Mare, 1777 m)Munţii Harghita (Harghita-Mădăraş, 1800 m)Ciomat (Ciomatul Mare, 1301 m)Munţii Giumalău-Rarău (Giumalău, 1856 m)Munţii Giumalău-Rarău (Rarău, 1651 m)Munţii Stânişoarei (Bivolul, 1530 m)Munţii Ceahlău (Ocolaşul Mare, 1907 m)Munţii Goşman (Cracul Geamăna, 1442 m)Munţii Tarcăului (Grinduşul, 1664 m)Munţii Hăşmaş (Hăşmaşul Mare, 1793 m)Munţii Ciucului - South (Şoiul Mare, 1553 m)Munţii Nemira (Nemira Mare, 1649 m)Munţii Bodoc (Cărpiniş, 1241 m)Munţii Baraolt (Gurgău, 1017 m)Munţii Perşani (Măgura Codlei, 1292 m)Munţii Vrancei (Goru, 1783 m)Munţii Penteleu (Penteleu, 1772 m)Podu Calului (Podul Calului, 1440 m)Munţii Siriu (Siriu/Bocârne, 1657 m)Munţii Ciucaş (Ciucaş, 1954 m)Munţii Grohotiş (Grohotiş, 1767 m)Munţii Baiului (Neamţului, 1923 m)Munţii Bârsei - Piatra Mare (Piatra Mare, 1843 m)Munţii Bârsei - Postavarul (Cristianul Mare, 1804 m)Munţii Bucegi (Omu, 2507 m)Munţii Leaota (Leaota, 2133 m)Sibiu /Hermannstadt, Nagyszeben/Braşov /Kronstadt, Brassó/Târgu Mureş /Marosvásárhely/Cluj-Napoca /Kolozsvár, Klausenburg/
Pietrosu and Buhăescu peaks Rodnei Mountains - summer
Ciucas Ciucaş Mountains - spring
Rock climbing area Bucegi Mountains - spring

Flysch beltCrystalline beltVolcanic belt
We have split the great number of mountain ranges within this group into these two (subsequent ranges are listed in a separate table below):
  • Moldovan-Transylvanian subgroup
  • Carpathian Bend subgroup

The term Carpathian Bend, (Romanian: Carpaţii Curburii; Hungarian: Kárpátkanyar) is in widespread use for the mountains between Oituz pass and Giuvala pass, where the great Carpathian arc takes a sharp turn (from N-S to E-W).
Munţii RodneiPietrosu2303
Munţii SuhardOmului1932
Munţii Giumalău-RarăuGiumalău1856
Munţii BârgăuHeniul Mare1612
Munţii BistriţeiBudacu1859
Munţii GiurgeuŞipoş1576
Munţii PerşaniMăgura Codlei1292
Munţii CiuculuiNoşcolat1553
Munţii LeaotaLeaota2133

The Perşani Mountains are geologically complex and display sedimentary and volcanic rocks as well as crystalline rocks. The southern part of Munţii Ciucului consists of sedimentary rocks.
Munţii CălimanPietrosu2102
Munţii GurghiuluiSaca Mare1777
Munţii HarghitaHarghita-Mădăraş1800
CiomatCiomatul Mare1301

Ciomat is a relatively small volcanic block situated on the periphery of the flysch Bodoc Mts., but geologically related to the Harghita Mts. Ciomat is the youngest and best preserved volcano of the group, cradling the beautiful Szent-Anna Lake in its main crater. There is still intensive post-volcanic activity in the area. SP photo album about Ciomat

Pietrosu and Grohotu
Rodnei Mountains (Vf. Pietrosu) - highest crystalline

Ocolaşul Mare - Ceahlău mountains Ocolaşul Mare, Ceahlău Mts
 Dripping Stone , Transylvania Gurghiului Mts
Leaota Leaota Mts

Călimani Mts - highest volcano

Ranges of the flysch belt in detail:

Moldovan-Transylvanian subgroupCarpathian Bend subgroup
Moldovan ranges
Munţii StânişoareiBivolul1530
Ceahlău *Ocolaşul Mare1907
Munţii GoşmanCracul Geamăna1442
Munţii TarcăuluiGrinduşul1664
Transylvanian ranges
Munţii NemiraNemira Mare1649
Munţii Ciucului (S)Şoiul Mare1553
Munţii BodocCărpiniş1241
Munţii BaraoltGurgău1017

The northern part of Munţii Ciucului consists of crystalline rocks.
Munţii VranceiGoru1783
Munţii PenteleuPenteleu1772
Podu CaluluiPodul Calului1440
Munţii SiriuSiriu/Bocârne1657
Munţii Ciucaş *Ciucaş1954
Munţii GrohotişGrohotiş1767
Munţii Baiului (Gârbova)Neamţului1923
Munţii Bucegi *Omu2507

The Ciucaş, Baiului, Grohotiş and Bârsei (mostly limestone, see below) mountains are often grouped together as Munţii Braşovului. Likewise, the Penteleu, Podu Calului and Siriu mountains (along with the small Întorsurii and Ivăneţu mountains, which are neglected here) are often grouped together as Munţii Buzăului.

Ranges marked with an asterisk (*) in the above table are composed mostly of calcareous conglomerates (and arenaceous limestone) and boast scenic rock formations.
Romania Bucegi
Ciucaş - Tigăile Mari Ciucas
Romania Ciucas

Spectacular limestone ranges and blocks:

  • Rarău in the Giumalău-Rarău Mountains (Rarău, 1651 m)
  • Munţii Hăşmaş (Hăşmaşul Mare, 1793 m) - featuring Egyeskő/Piatra Singuratică, Oltár-kő/Piatra Altarului, Fekete-Hagymás/Hăghimaşul Negru, the breathtaking Békás/Bicaz gorge, and Gyilkos-tó/Lacul Roşu (a lake created by a 19th century landslide blocking a stream)
  • Vargyas (Vârghiş) gorge and Măgura Codlei in the Perşani Mountains
  • Bârsei Mountains - consisting of two distinct massifs: Postavarul (Cristianul Mare, 1804 m) and Piatra Mare (Piatra Mare, 1843 m)

Oltár-kő/Piatra Altarului (Altar Rock)
Egyeskő / Piatra Singuratică Egyeskő/Piatra Singuratică (Solitary Rock)
Gheara Pisicii (right side) Piatra Mare/Nagykőhavas (Big Rock)
Spring in Transylvania Gyilkos-tó/Lacu Roşu (Killer/Red Lake)
Is This DRACULA? Békás-szoros/Cheile Bicazului (Froggy Gorge)

S Carpathians

The Southern Carpathians (also known as the Transylvanian Alps) extend from the Mountains of Banat in the west to Giuvala Pass, or - according to a diverse vision - Predeal Pass in the east, where the mountain system meets the Eastern Carpathians. If the latter endpoint is assumed, the Bucegi and Leaota mountains, which we have included in the Eastern Carpathians, belong to the Southern Carpathians.

Bucura cirque panorama
Retezat Mountains - spring

The Southern Carpathians differ from the Northwestern, Northeastern and Eastern Carpathians in that both flysch and volcanic belts are completely missing from them. These mountains are the most elevated, southern edge of the ancient Tisa-Dacia platform. They contain about a dozen ranges that exceed 2000 m in elevation, including eight ranges rising above 2200 m - more than the other parts of the Carpathian Mountains altogether. However, many of the high ranges of the Southern Carpathians are rather monotonous. The ridges, usually of metamorphic schists and gneiss, are generally broad and constitute remnants of a Tertiary plain - best preserved and easily recognizable in the Godeanu mountains - lifted high, deeply cut by the rivers and since time immemorial used as pastureland. These natural meadows have been extended by clearing the bushes of the mountain pine above the tree line, which may also have been lowered; especially on the less rocky, warmer, southern slopes. The bold alpine, or rather Tatra-like relief, is to be found in the Făgăraş and the Retezat mountains, and also in the highest part of the Parâng. Limestone karst is fabulously developed in the southwestern, lower ranges, whereas at the east end of the Southern Carpathians stands the most spectacular limestone ridge in the Carpathian Mountains, the Piatra Craiului (Royal Rock), which offers plenty of climbing opportunities and shelters stunning wildlife.

The gentle surface of Godeanu
Godeanu Mountains - summer

The table below lists member ranges of the Southern Carpathians from east to west, split into three major mountain groups, in the following format: mountain range - highest peak - elevation (in meters).

Triangles indicate the highest peaks of particular ranges (hover the mouse over them to see the names of the ranges and peaks). Black pentagons indicate major towns with - except Braşov - airports (click to open links).
Piatra Craiului (La Om, 2238 m)Munţii Iezer-Păpuşa (Roşu, 2469 m)Munţii Făgăraş (Moldoveanu, 2544 m)Munţii Cozia (Cozia, 1668 m)Munţii Cândrel (Cândrel, 2244 m)Munţii Lotru (Stefliste, 2242 m)Munţii Căpăţânii (Nedeia, 2130 m)Buila-Vânturariţa (Vânturariţa I, 1885 m)Munţii Şurean (lui Pătru, 2130 m)Munţii Parâng (Parângu Mare, 2519 m)Munţii Retezat (Peleaga, 2509 m)Munţii Vâlcan (Oslea, 1946 m)Munţii Ţarcu (Pietrii, 2192 m)Munţii Godeanu (Gugu, 2291 m)Munţii Mehedinţi (lui Stan, 1466 m)Munţii Cernei (Dobrii, 1928 m)Timişoara /Temesvár/ (RO)Sibiu /Hermannstadt, Nagyszeben/ (RO)Braşov /Kronstadt, Brassó/ (RO)Târgu Mureş /Marosvásárhely/ (RO)Cluj-Napoca /Kolozsvár, Klausenburg/ (RO)
Piatra Craiului Piatra Craiului - summer
Negoiu peak (2535m) taken... Făgăraş Mountains - winter
Lakes of the Bucura valley Retezat Mountains - summer

Făgăraş GroupParâng GroupRetezat Group
M. FăgăraşMoldoveanu2544
Iezer-Păpuşa massifRoşu2469
Munţii CândrelCândrel2244
Munţii LotruŞtefleşti2242
Munţii Şureanului Pătru2130
Munţii ParângParângu Mare2519
Munţii CăpăţâniiNedeia2130
Munţii RetezatPeleaga2509
Munţii VâlcanOslea1946
Munţii ŢarcuPietrii2192
Munţii GodeanuGugu2291

The  Iezer-Papusa  mt.., the hihghest summit ( 2391 m), in the center
Iezer-Papuşa - winter

view Făgăraş
rocky wall of Gruiul peak (2345m) Parâng
Bucura from Pietrele valley Retezat

Leontopodium alpinum II

Remarkable limestone blocks:

  • Piatra Craiului (La Om, 2238 m) - the most majestic limestone range of all in the Carpathians, whose name translates as Royal Rock
  • Munţii Cozia (Cozia / Ciuha Mare, 1668 m) - on the western edge of the Făgăraş Group, across the Olt river from the limestone part of the Căpăţânii Mountains
  • Buila-Vânturariţa massif (Vânturariţa I, 1885 m) - interesting, prominent dolomite ridge in the southeastern corner of the Căpăţânii Mountains
  • Munţii Cernei (Dobrii, 1928 m) - southerly extension of the Godeanu Mountains
  • Munţii Mehedinţi (lui Stan, 1466 m) - vast karst area dotted with caves and gorges, southwestern extension of the Vâlcan Mountains

Piatra Craiului Piatra Craiului
Romania From Cozia to Buila
Romania Mehedinţi

South Ridge
Piatra Craiului - winter

SW Carpathians

Nera s Gorges
Nera Gorges
(Munţii Aninei)
Beusnita Falls (Aninei)

What we have identified as the Southwestern Carpathians consists of three separate mountain groups.

1) By the Danube River, in the historic province of Banat, sits the last segment of the Carpathian Arc. The mountains of Banat and the northernmost mountains of Eastern Serbia can be seen as parts of the same mountain group - a link between the Carpathian chain and the Balkan (Stara Planina) Mountains - split by the canyon of the Danube. In fact, there are three options for the SW end of the Carpathians:

a) The gorges of the Danube, for which we have opted here.
b) The Juzna (South) Morava and the Timok rivers in Serbia.
c) The Timiş (Temes) and Mehadica rivers in Romania.

Regardless of whereabouts the Carpathians end, the eastern border of the mountains of Banat runs straight north from the Iron Gate proper, along the tectonic fault line which determines the course of the Mehadica and Timiş rivers, between the towns of Orşova and Caranşebeş.

2) To the north-east of these mountains, north-west of the Retezat Mountains, lies the massif of Poiana Ruscă - for centuries heavily grazed, and more recently heavily mined for iron. Both the mountains of Banat and the Poiana Ruscă contain fairly low mountains (below 1500 m a.s.l.) and are often regarded as parts of the Southern Carpathians.

3) Finally, north of the Poiana Ruscă, across the valley of the Mureş (Maros) River, stands the largest and highest (above 1800 m) Carpathian "island" (some geological classifications exclude it from the Carpathians, however), bounded by the Pannonian Plain in the west and separated from the Carpathian Arc by the upland of Transylvania in the east. Romanian people call it Munţii Apuseni, which translates as the Western Mountains (before World War I, they were called the Island Mountains of Eastern Hungary, nowadays Hungarians refer to them as Island Mountains of Transylvania).

Craciunesti main  wall Munţii Metaliferi (Ore Mts)
Cheiile Manastirii Trascău/Torockó Mts
Inside the caldron Padiş/Pádis karst world

The Southwestern Carpathians are the lowest and least forested of the five major parts of the Carpathians we have depicted on this page, each in a different chapter. What makes these mountains fascinating is the fact that they embrace vast limestone areas, including the most spectacular karst paradise of all in the Carpathians: the Padiş Plateau in the Bihor Mountains. Some evidence suggests that the ancient core of the Apuseni differs from that of the Carpathian Basin and could have once been part of the Dinarides. On the flanks of the Apuseni, besides limestone plateaus, post-Paleozoic lava (most of the Vlădeasa Mountains) and flysch are also present.

In the tables below, the member ranges of each group are listed from north to south, in the following format: mountain range - highest peak - elevation (in meters). Ranges marked with an asterisk (*) in the tables display spectacular limestone karst.

Triangles indicate the highest peaks of particular ranges (hover the mouse over them to see the names of the ranges and peaks). Black pentagons indicate major towns with - except Braşov - airports (click to open links).
Munţii Plopişului / Şes (Măgura Mare, 918 m)Munţii Meseş (Măgura Priei, 996 m)Pădurea Craiului (Hodrâncuşa, 1027 m)Vlădeasa (Vlădeasa, 1836 m)Codru Moma (Pleşu, 1112 m)Munţii Bihor (Cucurbăta Mare, 1849 m)Padiş (Biserica Moţului, 1456 m)Munţii Gilău (Muntele Mare, 1826 m)Munţii Zarand (Drocea, 836 m)Munţii Metalliferi (Poieniţa, 1437 m)Munţii Trascău (Dâmbău, 1369 m)Poiana Ruscă (Padeş, 1374 m)Munţii Aninei (Leordis, 1160 m)Munţii Semenic (Semenic/Piatra Goznei, 1446 m)Munţii Locvei (Corhanul Mare, 735 m)Munţii Almăjului (Svinecea Mare, 1224 m)Timişoara /Temesvár/ (RO)Sibiu /Hermannstadt, Nagyszeben/ (RO)Târgu Mureş /Marosvásárhely/ (RO)Cluj-Napoca /Kolozsvár, Klausenburg/ (RO)
Székelykő from the Szentgyörgy castle Székelykő (Szeklers' Rock)
Hiker s Paradise From Trascău to Gilău
Tordai Hasadék (Cheile Turzii) Turda/Torda Gorge

Apuseni Mountains (Western Transylvania)
Northern group
Pădurea Craiului *Hodrâncuşa1027
Munţii Plopişului / ŞesMăgura Mare918
Munţii MeseşMăgura Priei996
Central group
Codru MomaPleşu1112
Munţii Bihor *Cucurbăta Mare1849
Munţii GilăuMuntele Mare1826
Southern group
Munţii ZarandDrocea836
Munţii MetalliferiPoieniţa1437
Munţii Trascău *Dâmbău1369
Poiana Ruscă and Mountains of Banat
Poiana RuscăPadeş1374

Munţii SemenicSemenic / Piatra Goznei1446
Munţii Aninei *Leordis1160
Munţii AlmăjuluiSvinecea Mare1224
Munţii LocveiCorhanul Mare735
NERA S GORGES Danube River at Carpathians' SW end

Eminenciás-vízesés / Cascada Evantai Galbena Gorge (Padiş plateau)
Turnul Ascuţit (Éles-torony) Turda/Torda Gorge (Trascău/Torockó Mts)
Rock in Cheile Rameti Râmeţ/Remete Gorge (Trascău/Torockó Mts)

Truly Transylvania
Padiş/Pádis karst plateau


Romanian Piatra Craiului

German Königstein

Hungarian Királykő

Retyezat Overview Resummited

Instead of "Geography"

Granite, take away the High Tatras, is not a common rock in the Carpathians at all. But the bulk of the Retezat Mountains which sit between the Parâng group in the east and the Godeanu and Ţarcu mountains in the west is of granite. Were the Retezat Mountains just two hundred meters higher, they would be most likely as jagged as the High Tatras are. Hardly rising above 2500 m, the Retezat Mountains are no doubt gentler, however, the northern walls of some of their peaks house several fine rock-climbing routes at UIAA grade V (YDS 5.8) and over, not to mention a number of routes which are less demanding but no less fun.
Lakes of the Bucura valley 
Gate Tower of Retezat 
The northern main ridge of Retezat Mountains 

The Retezat Mountains have 55 peaks over 2000 m and are probably the most prominent mountainous area in the Southern Carpathians (sometimes called "Transylvanian Alps"), covering almost 500 square km. Its average elevation is over 1500 m, with a quarter of its territory rising above 1800 m (and still rising in our days, by about 3.5 mm/year). Since the Retezat Mountains were sculpted by glaciers in the Pleistocene epoch, they are rich in beautiful, turquoise tarns and tumbling waterfalls. The biggest of the glaciers gouged the pits which have filled up with water and now shine as the lakes of Bucura Cirque. That longest glacier had a length of about 15 km, thus ranking longest of all in the Southern Carpathians. Due to mechanical erosion in periglacial climatic conditions, the highest terrain is almost completely covered with granite blocks and scree. Take caution when walking over this rubble – not only because the rocks are loose but also because the trail marks are more difficult to spot (more on the marking in the Routes section).
From Curmatura Bucurei pass 
Sunset from Bucura lake.  
On the way to Vf. Peleaga 

The Retezat Mountains are made up of two parallel main ridges that run southwest to northeast and are connected by a short perpendicular ridge, thus forming a letter H. The east part of the mountains is lower than their west part. Also, the northern ridge is considerably higher than the southern ridge (Custura, 2457 m), which runs on the other side of the valleys of the Lăpuşnicul Mare and Bărbaţ rivers. Therefore it is the northwest part of the mountains - boasting the highest peaks and series of tarns (see next chapter) on both sides of the main ridge - that attracts the most visitors. The west part of the southern ridge (Piule-Iorgovanu) is mostly formed of limestone. This area, often referred to as "Little Retezat" (Retezatul Mic /Kis-Retyezát/) contains typical karst forms, such as narrow gorges and caves. The most interesting scenery can be found at a group of limestone rocks forming the summit of Piatra Iorgovanului (1997 m) in the southwest corner of the Retezat Mountains, where bears often roam at dusk or dawn. Limestone also forms the ridge of Oslea (1946 m) – the highest summit in the Vâlcan Mountains – rising south of Piatra Iorgovanului, across the Jiu de Vest River.
stanisoara valley 
After the stormLittle Retezat
Lacul LiaOslea on horizon

Here a paragraph on winter may do.
Panorama from Peleaga

Retezat- winter 2008 

The following table introduces the 7 highest summits in the Retezat ("peak" = vârful in Romanian, abbreviated to Vf.):
Peleaga peak and Tău Porţii

Papusa N face

Retezat north face


Zemplén MountainsUnder construction