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a

 
In my back Ţimbalul Mic  seen from south
Ţimbalele (Dulcimer)



Piatra Craiului (ro)

Királykő (hu)

Königstein (de)


rising just east of the Făgăraş and Iezer mountains, is usually regarded as the east end of the Făgăraş group (part of the South Carpathians) and has always been regarded highly, which is reflected in the name of the mountains that translates as Royal Rock, or King's Stone.


Piatra Craiului is - in a nutshell - over a dozen kilometers long, narrow ridge of Jurassic limestone, which runs NNE to S like a stately sawtooth wave. Its sister range – a lookalike at the other, north end of the Carpathian arc – is the part of the Tatras called the Bela Tatras. Piatra Craiului's little sister inside the South Carpathians is the massif of Buila-Vănturariţa in the Căpăţînii Mountains, beyond the other, west end of the Făgăraş group. All these limestone mountains – thanks to their jaggedness – have remained fairly untouched by the pastoral economy that has shaped the landscapes of nearly all Carpathian ranges for centuries, if not millennia. No wonder Piatra Craiului is home to many a bear, wolf and lynx as well as endemic flower species, such as the pink named Dianthus callizonus.

Piatra Craiului is every Carpathian scrambler's dream. Those who prefer technical climbing also frequently scale its sheer limestone walls and towers, although the Bucegi Mountains, which sit about 20km to the south-east, are much more popular with climbers. Piatra Craiului is a compact mountain range, perfect for day hikes or climbs. Weather permitting, you can hike along the marked trail from a hut at the foot of the mountains (at 750 to 850m) up onto the crest whose highest summit, La Om or Piscul Baciului (Pásztor-csúcs/Hirtenspitze/Shepherd's Peak), is 2,239m high, and come back down within one long summer day. The main ridge trail is normally covered in two days. Talking of difficulty, the waymarked trail is mostly the British scrambling grade 1, and at a few spots grade 2. NB There is no water anywhere on or near the crest.

North ridge - Ţimbalele
Creasta Nordică (the North Ridge) in a January
Ţimbalul Mare - north ridge
Ţimbalul Mare at 2177m (on the North Ridge)
Piatra Craiului
The North Ridge in summer. Far right: Piatra Mică

Piatra Craiului 1
Creasta Sudică (the South Ridge) in winter
South ridge of Piatra Craiului
On the South Ridge in mid-autumn
SW flank
Below Funduri pass

The ridge trail is only intersected by two waymarked paths running across the ridge (from its west foot to the eastern foothills): Plaiul Foii-Padina Popii-Cabana Curmătura near its north end, and Plaiul Foii-Refugiul Grind near its center (and its highest summit). The latter path forms a dividing line between what is called Creasta Sudică and Creasta Nordică, that is to say the North and the South ridges of Piatra Craiului. This is a split for convenience as there is no natural divide between these areas. What is meant by the main ridge trail here extends between the passes (pass = şa/şaua) of Crăpăturii in the north and Funduri in the south. In summertime, in good weather conditions, no heavy pack on one's back, a hike along the marks (which traverse the most difficult parts of the crest) takes over 10 hours. However, the actual length of the whole main ridge, including the southernmost section, is nearly 25km – twice as much as the length of the main ridge trail as depicted above.

Piatra Craiului ridge
 The western face of Piatra Craiului seen from Plaiul Foii
Piatra Craiului
The walls above Brâul de Mijloc 
Scrambling to Poiana Închisă (Enclosed Glade)
Padina Lăncii


The western face of Piatra Craiului is an imposing wall whose highest parts are virtually inaccessible for non-technical climbers, except for a few routes, such as the scenic La Lanţuri ("Chains"), marked with red and white stripes, secured with metal cables at several spots, and a couple of unmarked paths reaching UIAA grade II, that is to say more or less YDS 5.2 or perhaps 5.3 in terms of technical difficulty. This western flank of the mountains is cut by steep ravines, lined by and elaborately decorated with thousands of limestone walls and towers, among which you can get lost easily.

The La Lanţuri route, which is part of the line dividing the North Ridge from the South Ridge, passes by some beautiful limestone arches at a spot called La Zaplaz, which used to be known as Deubel Holes. Talking of karst arches, the greatest is Cerdacul Stanciului at the western base of the South Ridge.

La Zaplaz/Deubel Holes
Deubel Holes
 Zaplaz
aka La Zaplaz
La Cerdacul Stanciului
Cerdacul Stanciului
Cerdacul Stanciului
Cerdacul Stanciului

The eastern face of Piatra Craiului is much gentler except for a couple of places, such as the northernmost section of the South Ridge. The northeast edge of the mountains, several hundred meters lower (1,816m) but no different in shape from what runs to the south-west from it, is named Piatra Mică, i.e. Little Rock and towers right over the town of Zărneşti.

South Ridge
The east face of the South Ridge in winter
Lespezi - Umerilor ridge (2142m)
The east face of the South Ridge in summer
Nort ridge from Zănoaga Glade.
The eastern face of the North Ridge

PC old

 
In my back Ţimbalul Mic  seen from south
Ţimbalele (Dulcimer)



Piatra Craiului (ro)

Királykő (hu)

Königstein (de)


rising just east of the Făgăraş and Iezer mountains, is usually regarded as the east end of the Făgăraş group (part of the South Carpathians) and has always been regarded highly, which is reflected in the name of the mountains that translates as Royal Rock, or King's Stone.


Piatra Craiului is - in a nutshell - over a dozen kilometers long, narrow ridge of Jurassic limestone, which runs NNE to S like a stately sawtooth wave. Its sister range – a lookalike at the other, north end of the Carpathian arc – is the part of the Tatras called the Bela Tatras. Piatra Craiului's little sister inside the South Carpathians is the massif of Buila-Vănturariţa in the Căpăţînii Mountains, beyond the other, west end of the Făgăraş group. All these limestone mountains – thanks to their jaggedness – have remained fairly untouched by the pastoral economy that has shaped the landscapes of nearly all Carpathian ranges for centuries, if not millennia. No wonder Piatra Craiului is home to many a bear, wolf and lynx as well as endemic flower species, such as the pink named Dianthus callizonus.
Ţimbalul Mare - north ridgeNorth Ridge: Ţimbalul Mare, 2177m
Piatra Craiului 2North Ridge: Western walls
Piatra CraiuluiNorth Ridge in summer. Far right: Piatra Mică

Piatra Craiului is every Carpathian scrambler's dream. Those who prefer technical climbing also frequently scale its sheer limestone walls and towers, although the Bucegi Mountains, which sit about 20km to the south-east, are much more popular with climbers. Piatra Craiului is a compact mountain range, perfect for day hikes or climbs. Weather permitting, you can hike along the marked trail from a hut at the foot of the mountains (at 750 to 850m) up onto the crest whose highest summit, La Om or Piscul Baciului (Pásztor-csúcs/Hirtenspitze/Shepherd's Peak), is 2,239m high, and come back down within one long summer day. The main ridge trail is normally covered in two days. Talking of difficulty, the waymarked trail is mostly the British scrambling grade 1, and at a few spots grade 2. NB There is no water anywhere on or near the crest.
North ridge - ŢimbaleleCreasta Nordică, i.e. the North Ridge, on a January 24th
Piatra CraiuluiThe western walls
 
Capre NegreChamois
 
La Zaplaz/Deubel HolesDeubel Holes
 
Zaplazaka La Zaplaz




It is only intersected by two waymarked trails running across the ridge (from its west foot to the eastern foothills): Plaiul Foii-Padina Popii-Cabana Curmătura near its north end, and Plaiul Foii-Refugiul Grind near its center (and its highest summit). The latter trail forms a dividing line between what is called Creasta Sudică and Creasta Nordică, that is to say the North and the South ridges of Piatra Craiului. This is a split for convenience as there is no natural divide between these areas. What is meant by the main ridge trail here extends between the passes (pass = şa/şaua) of Crăpăturii in the north and Funduri in the south. In summertime, in good weather conditions, no heavy pack on one's back, a hike along the marks (which traverse the most difficult parts of the crest) takes over 10 hours. However, the actual length of the whole main ridge, including the southernmost section, is nearly 25km – twice as much as the length of the main ridge trail as depicted above.
Piatra Craiului - South RidgeSouth Ridge in April
The main ridge seen from east sideEast face south of La Om
South ridge of Piatra CraiuluiSouth Ridge: mid-autumn

The waymarked route within the northern chunk of the South Ridge (primary image) is more exposed, therefore it is often considered to be a little bit more difficult than the marked path along the North Ridge, which is in fact harder to scale if you are feeling like sticking to the crest proper all along the way (no chance without the necessary gear). The west half of the trail that forms the division line is a scenic route known as La Lanţuri ("Chains"), passing by some beautiful limestone arches at a spot called La Zaplaz. The west face of Piatra Craiului is an imposing wall whose highest parts are virtually inaccessible for non-technical climbers, except for a few routes, such as La Lanţuri (marked with red and white stripes, secured with metal cables at several spots) and a couple of unmarked paths reaching UIAA grade II, that is to say more or less YDS 5.2 or perhaps 5.3 in terms of technical difficulty. (In wet conditions the limestone gets very slippery and hazards can increase drastically.) This western flank of the mountains is cut by steep ravines, elaborately decorated with thousands of limestone walls and towers, among which you can get lost easily. The east face is much gentler except for a couple of places, such as the northernmost section of the South Ridge. The northeast edge of the mountains, several hundred meters lower (1,816m) but no different in shape from what runs to the south-west from it, is named Piatra Mică, i.e. Little Rock and towers right over the town of Zărneşti.

South Ridge
East face of the South Ridge in winter.
Lespezi - Umerilor ridge (2142m)
East face of the South Ridge in summer.

Overview

Karpaty - Munţii Carpaţi - Kárpátok - Карпати - Karpaten

The Carpathians and their neighborsCarpathians in center - the Big Five - subregions we have identified. Neighbors: Alps to the West, Dinarides (SW – across Great Hungarian Plain), Balkan Mountains (S), Sudetes (NW).


 
Rhododendron kotschyi
Rhododendron kotschyi
- token flower of E&S Carpathians

The Carpathian Mountains constitute one of Europe's main mountain systems, whose characteristic arc spans some 1,500 km across, separating the Carpathian Basin from the vast lowlands of Eastern Europe. At both ends, it is cut off from the neighboring mountains – the Alps in the west, and the Stara Planina/Balkan Mountains in the south – by the Danube River (although in geologic terms the Carpathians extend a bit beyond the Danube - further discussion in the SW chapter). The Carpathians run across the political borders between half a dozen countries: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine and Romania.

Bearing in mind the sheer size of the Carpathian mountains, we are not going to provide much information about their particular ranges. Our objective is to give an overview - detailed information is expected of the child pages. The relevant SP pages (varying widely in quality) have been attached, the most important ranges that do not have an SP page yet have been highlighted in bold print in the tables. With this page, we would like to encourage fellow SP'ers to continue working on the old as well as submitting new SP pages about any of the countless interesting places to be found in our beloved Carpathian Mountains.

 
Geological map of the Carpathians
Geological map of Carpathians and Carpathian Basin - 1922

Geology and Physiography


The Carpathians presented here have been split into five groups: the Northwestern, Northeastern, Eastern (Northeastern and Eastern Carpathians are often classified as one region named the East Carpathians), Southern and Southwestern Carpathians. This breakdown is generally based on the works of Hungarian geologists and geographers, and differs markedly from the physiographic divisions of the Carpathians usually drawn, for example, in Poland.   

The Carpathians are typically composed of three lithologic belts: the outer flysch belt (of relatively hard sandstone and soft shale), which is usually broad but low; the central crystalline (i.e. metamorphic/granitoid) belt, which contains nearly all of the highest ranges; and the inner volcanic belt (rather low, except the Călimani Mountains, which rise above 2,100 m). This pattern is best displayed in the Northwestern Carpathians, and also in the Eastern Carpathians. The crystalline chain is very poorly exposed in the relatively low Northeastern Carpathians (only a couple of crystalline mountains of the Marmarosh Mountains break through the sedimentary cover). Also, the make-up of the Southern Carpathians, which are almost exclusively composed of crystalline blocks, is different.
 
Obidza Waterfall
Flysch belt binds Carpathians (Beskid Sądecki Mountains)

Within the Carpathians, the eastern sibling of the Alps, there are many blocks whose rocks were (trans-)formed by orogenic cycles older than the Alpine orogeny. Some of those blocks, e.g. the Rodnei Mountains constitute well-preserved pre-Mesozoic orogens, i.e. mountains last folded during the Hercynian (Variscan) or older cycles. Generally, what is now metamorphic rocks used to be pre-Mesozoic sediments (e.g. flysch or limestone) which were altered - mostly through contact with magma – in the late Paleozoic. The metamorphic rocks (usually gneiss and schists) along with the granitoid rocks (magma that has set) form the so-called crystalline cores of numerous ranges on the inner side of the flysch belt. These crystalline blocks are – to varying extent – covered by Mesozoic limestone, especially on the flanks, since prolonged erosion has usually removed the limestone from the central part of the range.
   
View to the west from Gărgalău saddle
Ancient orogen of Rodnei Mountains

However, regardless of how old the rocks are, the geomorphology of the Carpathians was virtually determined by the Alpine (Tertiary) mountain-building cycle, which:
1) folded vast areas of limestone and flysch deposited in the post-Paleozoic seas that covered most of what is now the Carpathians
2) uplifted a number of old, crystalline blocks along fault lines (cracks in the Earth's crust)
3) towards the end of the Tertiary, was completed with eruptions of lava inside the Carpathian arc

In contrast to the Alps, limestone nappes (i.e. huge folds) are neither well developed nor well preserved. In the Carpathians, it is flysch which plays their part. Limestone (or more precisely calcareous rocks - limestone and dolomite - white triangles on our maps) occurs mainly on the sides of the crystalline massifs. Limestone 'splinters' can also be found immersed in the flysch. But like elsewhere the outcrops of calcareous rocks, especially mid-Mesozoic (Jurassic), often boast precipitous bluffs and crags, narrow gorges and caves.

At present, there aren't any glaciers left in the Carpathians, although the highest ranges did undergo intensive glacial activity in the Ice Age. As a result, their relief is bold and they are dotted with cirques and blue tarns, which makes for spectacular scenery. (A virtual NW to E to S to SW Carpathian traverse above the tree line is possible on SP by clicking here.)

 
Trzy Korony ...Three limestone crowns
Calm before the stormGranite and tarns
Călimani s rimRemnants of volcanoes

In the following chapters, we will aim to list all particular ranges of each unit of the Carpathian Big Five in a separate table, split into columns according to the dominant rock type. Below each table, you will find a list of the most attractive limestone areas.

Babel of Toponyms


 
On the ridge
Romanian shepherds in Făgăraş Mountains

The Carpathians have always been inhabited by a handful of peoples. In recent centuries, among those nations are the Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Ukrainians, Romanians, Hungarians and Germans ('Saxons'). Hence, most of the Carpathian ranges and sub-ranges have names in several languages. Since including all the names in each of the languages would make the tables too crowded, we have decided to normally stick to the name in the language of the country whose territory a particular area is part of nowadays (most of the Carpathians lies in Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania today), with some exceptions, e.g. when an English name is commonly used or when the translation brings out the meaning, and occasionally when local ethnic proportions justify it.

However, we believe that it would be appropriate to list all the different names on the area and mountain pages. A dictionary of toponyms has been initiated for this purpose. Also, a little Carpathian Picture Dictionary, which lists about 150 words in eight languages, is available on SP.


Wildlife and Wilderness


 
the bearBrown bear sanctuary
Per 100 sq km of WoodlandRomaniaSlovakiaSlovenia(top non-Carpathian)
Bear
Lynx
Wolf
7 (3.5?)
3
6 to 5
3.5
2
4 to 3
5
1
1

The Carpathians cannot compete with the Alps in elevation, but they are one of the few remaining areas in Europe that are so rich in wildlife. Carpathian wilderness, like almost elsewhere in Europe, is hardly land intact by humans – in fact, it is mostly found in the areas that has been rewilded over the last century or several decades. For example, the brown bear population in the Tatras - the highest Carpathian mountain range, in which the custom of hiking and mountaineering dates back to the 16th century and which is packed with visitors in summertime - has grown over twenty times since the end of World War II. Please take a look here.

In the remote corners of the Southern or NortheasternCarpathians, you can easily find solitude and walk all day without meeting anybody, but this is also possible in the more touristy Northwestern Carpathians provided that you keep away from honeypots. Fortunately, a number of the most attractive places within the Carpathians have not become honeypots yet. Let us hope they will remain wild forever.  


Wolf filmed by LukZem
Bear filmed in Hagymás/Hăşmaş Mts

The Carpathians are home to various endangered and endemic species of plants and animals, including Europe's second largest (after Russia) brown bear population, especially strong in the Carpathian Bend. According to officials, there are five to six thousand brown bears in Romania although many ecologists claim that half of the bears have been shot down over the past two decades. If you are seeking an adventure package which encompasses crossing the bear country, the Carpathians by all means have it on offer. Check out the following link, full of information on the Carpathian bear, including detailed safety advice. Information on a range of animal species that inhabit the Carpathians can be studied on this SP page.

 
Chamois familyCarpathian chamois
 
MarmotHigh Tatra marmot
 
the flower 3Pink: Dianthus callizonus
 
Fire Salamander of Devil s RockFire salamander
 
Black Stork of the DunajecBlack stork
 
Rosalia longicorn (<i>Rosalia alpina</i>)Rosalia longicorn

NW Carpathians

The Northwestern Carpathians are the widest and most complex part of the Carpathian mountain chain, stretching from the Danube River at Devín, east of Vienna, to the valley of the Topľa River in the east of Slovakia. All three Carpathian lithologic belts – flysch, crystalline, and volcanic – are extensively developed here. It is also here that the the High Tatras (Gerlachovský štít, 2655 m) rise – the highest and most alpine in character mountain range in all of the Carpathians, which straddles the border between Slovakia and Poland.

High Tatras
Vysoké Tatry /High Tatras/ from Nízké Tatry /Low Tatras/ - fall


Apart from the Tatras (which can be subdivided into the Western, High and Belianske Tatras), known in both Poland and Slovakia as Tatry, only the Low Tatras (Nízke Tatry) – a discrete mountain range that runs parallel to the Tatras between the valleys of the Váh and Hron rivers – exceed 2000 m in elevation. Despite there being plenty of crystalline ranges and massifs in the Northwestern Carpathians, the third highest mountain range in this part of the Carpathians stands inside the flysch belt, just north of the Tatras, and bears the name of High Beskid (Beskid Wysoki, more often called Beskid Żywiecki in Poland, after the town of Żywiec). Its highest massif tops out at 1725 m. The other three ranges that rise above timberline are the Little Fatra (Malá Fatra), the Great Fatra (Veľká Fatra) and the calcareous Chočské vrchy, all situated west of the Tatras or the Low Tatras. Like most of the other crystalline ranges in the Northwestern Carpathians, both the Fatras have vast areas formed of limestone and dolomite, within which some bold mountains stand. The most interesting of them is spectacular Veľký Rozsutec sitting at the north end of the Little Fatra.

High-Börzsöny panorama
 Börzsöny - spring

In the southern chunk of the Northwestern Carpathians there are about a dozen hilly areas where volcanic rocks dominate. The highest of them, heavily wooded Pol'ana, reaches 1458 m and represents the remnants of a large stratovolcano. The volcanic belt of Northern Hungary crosses the Danube north of Budapest to extend further west, towards Lake Balaton, as the Transdanubian Hills, which are not regarded as part of the Carpathians except the Visegrád Mountains.

The table below lists the ranges of the Northwestern Carpathians from west to east, sorted by the dominant rock type, in the following format: mountain range - highest peak - elevation (in meters). Information about the limestone areas is to be found below the map and the following table.

 
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 airports (click to open links).
White Carpathians (Veľká Javorina, 970 m)Javorníky (Veľký Javorník, 1071 m)Moravskoslezské Beskydy (Lysá hora, 1323 m)Beskid Śląski (Skrzyczne, 1257 m)Beskid Mały (Czupel, 933 m)High Beskid (Babia Góra, 1725 m)Oravská Magura (Minčol, 1394 m)Skorušinské vrchy & Pogórze Gubałowskie (Skorušina, 1314 m)Beskid Makowski (Lubomir, 904 m)Gorce (Turbacz, 1310 m)Beskid Wyspowy (Mogielica, 1170 m)Beskid Sądecki (Radziejowa, 1262 m)Spišská Magura (Repisko, 1259 m)Levočské vrchy (Čierna hora, 1289 m)Čergov (Minčol, 1157 m)Little Carpathians (Záruby, 768 m)Inovec (Inovec, 1042 m)Strážovské vrchy (Strážov, 1213 m)Little Fatra (Veľký Kriváň, 1709 m)Western Tatras (Bystrá, 2248 m)High Tatras (Gerlachovský, 2655 m)Branisko (Smrekovica, 12000 m)Tribeč (Veľký Tribeč, 829 m)Greater Fatra (Ostredok, 1592 m)Low Tatras (Ďumbier, 2043 m)Veporské vrchy (Fabova hoľa, 1438 m)Stolické vrchy (Stolica, 1476)Volovské vrchy (Volovec, 1284)Vtáčnik (Vtáčnik, 1345 m)Kremnické vrchy (Flochová, 1317 m)Štiavnické vrchy (Sitno, 1009 m)Javorie-Ostrôžky (Lažtek, 1044 m)Poľana (Poľana, 1458 m)Börzsöny (Csóványos, 938 m)Visegrádi-hegység (Dobogókő, 700 m)Mátra (Kékes, 1014 m)Karancs-Medves (Karancs, 727 m)Zempléni-hegység (Nagy-Milic, 894 m)Slanské vrchy (Šimonka, 1092 m)Súľovské skaly (Veľký Manín, 891 m)Chočské vrchy (Veľký Choč, 1611 m)Belianské Tatry (Havran, 2152 m)Pieniny (Trzy Korony, 982 m)Muránska planina (Kľak, 1409 m)Slovenský raj (Ondrejisko, 1270 m)Gömör-Torna karst (Matesova skala, 925 m)Bükk (Istállós-kő, 959 m)Bratislava (SK)Budapest (HU)Košice (SK)Poprad (SK)Kraków (PL)
Real skyscrapersHigh Tatras - summer
Nizke Tatry - Dumbier summitLow Tatras - winter
View of Rozsutec from StefanowaLittle Fatra - summer


Flysch beltCrystalline beltVolcanic belt
Northern ranges (Western Beskids)
Moravskoslezské BeskydyLysá hora1323
Beskid ŚląskiSkrzyczne1257
High BeskidBabia Góra1725
GorceTurbacz1310
Beskid SądeckiRadziejowa1262
Beskid MałyCzupel933
Beskid MakowskiLubomir904
Beskid WyspowyMogielica1170
Western ranges
White CarpathiansVeľká Javorina970
Javorníky Mts.Veľký Javorník1071
Inner ranges
Oravská MaguraMinčol1394
Skorušinské vrchy &Pogórze GubałowskieSkorušina1314
Spišská MaguraRepisko1259
Levočské vrchyČierna hora1289
ČergovMinčol1157

The High Beskid Mountains, which straddle the Poland-Slovakia border, are called Beskid Żywiecki in Poland and Kysucké a Oravské Beskydy in Slovakia.
Western ranges
Little CarpathiansZáruby768
Inovec Mts.Inovec1042
Strážovské vrchyStrážov1213
TribečVeľký Tribeč829
Northern ranges
Little FatraVeľký Kriváň1709
Western TatrasBystrá2248
High TatrasGerlachovský2655
Central ranges
Great FatraOstredok1592
Low TatrasĎumbier2043
Southeastern ranges
Veporské vrchyFabova hoľa1438
Stolické vrchyStolica1476
Volovské vrchyVolovec1284
BraniskoSmrekovica1200

The Western Tatras (mostly metamorphic rocks and limestone) and the High Tatras (granite) are in fact one range.The SE ranges except Branisko are often grouped together as Slovenské rudohorie or Spišsko-gemerské rudohorie (Slovak / Spiš-Gemer Ore Mountains)
Northern (Slovakian) massifs
VtáčnikVtáčnik1345
Štiavnické vrchySitno1009
Kremnické vrchyFlochová1317
Javorie-OstrôžkyLažtek1044
PoľanaPoľana1458
Southern (Hungarian) massifs
BörzsönyCsóványos938
Visegrádi-hegységDobogókő700
Karancs-MedvesKarancs727
MátraKékes-tető1014
Eastern rim
Slanské vrchyŠimonka1092
Zempléni-hegységNagy-Milic894

Slanské and Zemplén Mountains actually make up a single range, cut in half by the political border between Slovakia and Hungary - hence the two names. The whole range is also sometimes referred to as the Eperjes-Tokaj Mountains, after the two towns at opposite ends of the range (the Slovak name of Eperjes is Prešov). However, the traditional name of the range was Sátor (Tent) Mountains, after the shape of its mountains.


 
Hrubá Kopa-2166 mWestern Tatras  
 
Gerlach seen from Rysy ridgeHigh Tatras 
 
Zdiarska Vidla and HavranBelianske Tatry
Babia Gora 1725mHigh Beskid
 
The highest segment of Velká FatraGreat Fatra
Vadálló kövekVisegrád Mountains



The most distinct limestone blocks in the north:

  • Belianske Tatry (Havran, 2152 m) - the distinct limestone/dolomite ridge adjoining the High Tatras, along with which it's often classified as the Eastern Tatras
  • Pieniny (Wysoka, 1052 m) - the most outstanding group of the limestone rocks scattered along the inner rim of the flysch belt (nice crags also stick out of flysch within the Orava-Podhale basin and in the White Carpathians), right opposite the outer edge of the crystalline belt. The Pieniny are cut in half by the winding Dunajec River, which has created a scenic gorge through which one can travel on a locally made raft, on a bike or on foot.
  • Chočské vrchy (Veľký Choč, 1611 m) - a link between the Western Tatras and the two Fatras
  • Súľovské skaly (Veľký Manín, 891 m) - plenty of rock towers made of limestone conglomerate, at the northern end of the Strážovské vrchy

Súľovský hradSúľov, Strážovské vrchy
 
View from Velky Choc summit....Veľký Choč
 
Dunajec river gorgeDunajec Gorge, Pieniny
KršlenicaLittle Carpathians 
Cukorová Homolá (Cukorsüveg) Slovak Karst
Vršatec rocksVršatec, White Carpathians 


Limestone plateaus and canyon lands on the peripheries of the Slovenské rudohorie:
 
Slovensky raj, Slovakia
Slovak Paradise 

  • Spišsko-gemerský kras - consisting of two distinct parts: Muránska planina (Kľak, 1409 m) and Slovak Paradise (Slovenský raj) (Ondrejisko, 1270 m). Slovak Paradise is famous for its trails which lead one up narrow canyons and waterfalls with the assistance of metal or wooden ladders, bridges, steps and chains. (Such trails have also been built in other places in the Northwestern Carpathians, but nowhere is their network so vast.)
  • Gömör-Torna karst - cut in half by the political border between Slovakia and Hungary: Slovak karst (Matesova skala, 925 m) in the north - please see Zadielská Dolina and Aggtelek karst (Fertős-tető, 604 m) in the south.
  • Bükk (Istállós-kő - 959 m) - within the Hungarian volcanic belt.

Belian Tatras
Belianske Tatry

Bulgarian maps

  • sketch map of the Kamenitsa Ridge

  • 1:55,000 - paper and online map of the Pirin (loads quickly)

  • 1:40,000 - paper and online: Select Kamenitsa or Kaмeницa

  • paper maps: Copy-paste "карта нa пирин" - Careful! "карта на южен Пирин" does not cover the area ("южен" = south)


useful links

accuweather widgets

weather365.net widgets

Romanian

Maps

 
The area around Maljovica.
 

Glossary
eзeрo– ezero – lake
рeкa - reka – river
дoлинa - dolina - valley
хижa – hizha – hut
зaслoн- zaslon - shelter/bothy
връх - vrah - peak
скала - skala - rock
прeвaл – preval – pass/col
пoртa - porta - gate
поляна - polyana - clearing/glade


The massive granite Maljovica...
From NE, left to right: Popova kapa, Kupenite, Lovnitsa, Zliya zab & Orlovets. Photo by taikavuorimies

When to Go, Weather & Rescue Service



Breaking trail
Avalanche-prone terrain.

Red Tape & Warning

 
Rozsutec reserve in Malá Fatra
 
  • The area is part of the National Nature Reserve Rozsutec, which is a part of the Malá Fatra National Park. Camping and rock climbing are not permitted. You have to stick to the waymarked trails.

  • In Slovakia, if you don't take out relevant insurance, such as the "Out and Active" (see here), you will have to cover the costs of the rescue operation. In an emergency call 18 300

Getting There & Accommodation

     
    In Terchová
     

  • The most convenient trailheads for climbing Malý Rozsutec are at the village of Terchová, which lies about 25km east of Žilina, one of the largest cities in Slovakia. There is a quite frequent direct bus service from the city to the village.

  • Timetables for Slovakia's trains and buses

  • There are hundreds of rooming houses, guesthouses and several hotels in the nearby villages. You can check out the following link for Terchová.


When To Go & Weather

To avoid the crowds, it is advisable to go on a weekday in late spring, September or October. Some people might be keen on a winter adventure, for which you will need the basic gear and some experience: Here is an interesting video.

Weather, Avalanche Risk, Rescue Service

View of Ornak ridge
At Zadni Ornak in winter


Mountain rescue team's phone number: (+48) 601100300


Another forecast for Zakopane

Accommodation


Glossary:


Wszystkie miejscowości - All villages and towns
Wybierz rodzaj obiektu - Choose accommodation type
Apartamenty – Self-catering flats/apartments
Szalasy i domki - Chalets
Ośrodki wypoczynkowe – Lower standard hotels/guesthouses/holiday camps 
Pensjonaty – B&B/guesthouses
Wille – B&B/guesthouses
Wynajem pokoi – Guesthouses
Hotele – Hotels (varied standard)
Campingi - Campsites
Motele – Motels
Pola namiotowe – Rudimentary campsites
Noclegi/Kwatery/Zakwaterowanie - Accommodation
Szukaj - Search

4x4

Red Tape

Wandering off the waymarked trail and bivouacking are not permitted.  
Must Be Old Goat
23 Oct 2012

Mountain Conditions


It is essential that you check the weather forecast too.

another 6-day forecast for Zakopane

Maps, Books, References

A 1:25,000 map of the Polish Tatras, such as this, is good enough while a 1:50,000 is NOT. Usually several versions are available at bookshops, souvenir shops and street stands in Zakopane.

I can recommend a special, 1:5,000 map of the Eagle Path (available online) which I used as a reference, especially while working on the second chapter. The same goes for the following guidebooks (unfortunately not available in English)

bb

Baníkov Banówka (PL) Bánya-hegy (HU)


 
Banikov
The east face of Jalovecký Príslop (2,142m) on the left,
and Baníkov (2,178m) on the right (photo by horrste).
 
Banikov ridge
E of the summit

One of the two most attractive summits in the Western Tatras, in their western part which Slovak people call the Roháče, Baníkov is the highest summit in the main ridge of the Western Tatras. (Its name probably derives from Hungarian/Slovak for "a mine/miner" - a couple of centuries ago the slopes of Baníkov, like all of the mountains in the area, were prospected for iron ore.) Its main attraction is several hundred metres of the narrow crest, part of the main ridge of the Western Tatras, running east of the main summit. No, we're not talking of the Alps. But it is fairly airy and in wet or wintry weather conditions the climbing can be pretty dangerous (surely the average SP'er does not have to be told this). Such a piece of jagged granite ridge is a rarity in this quarter of the Tatras (even as far as the High Tatras are concerned, such a thing is a rarity in terms of what is legally available, that is to say on the net of the marked trails within the National Park). Here is how Józef Nyka, renowned writer of the Tatra hiker's guidebooks, sees it: "...an interesting crest climb over good rock, with numerous craggy steps, notches and smooth slabs, generally high exposure." (translation by yatsek) The uppermost section of the mighty side ridge of Ráztoka/Rozsocha (green stripes leading to Žiarska chata, i.e. hut) between Baníkov and Jalovecký Príslop 2,142m which runs from Banikov to the south (photo above)is also quite narrow and its east face is precipitous.

The western face of Baníkov, down which the ridge trail continues towards the westernmost reaches of the Tatras, is the gentle side of the mountain. A descent to Baníkovské sedlo (Baníkov Saddle) at 2,040m takes just over 20 minutes. But mountains, like people, can have more than one face. Many unprepared climbers have been injured or killed on Baníkov, mostly in wintertime, of whom many if not the most were Czech. The Slovaks have a joke: Two non-Czech climbers are walking below a cornice of snow at Baníkov, and one of them says: "Hey, don't utter a word in Czech. It could trigger an avalanche."


 
Banikov from Grzes.N face (just right of centre)
 
Baníkov and PacholaFar left (N face)
 
Descending from BanikovTowards the west

Maps

ONLINE MAP on hiking.sk

Several versions of the paper map are available in bookshops in any of the nearby towns.


ONLINE MAP on hiking.sk


paper 1:25,000


formulas




ONLINE MAP on hiking.sk


To see the area and the trails on an online map, type (or copy and paste) Ostry Rohac in the search box.











Maps

online map


paper/waterproof/digital 1:25,000

Postglacial cirques...
 

pix




Down towards Tarns 
Looking into Wielki Kocioł Śnieżny 
Shark s Tooth 
Entering Wielki Kocioł Śnieżny from E 



pixB



Between High Wheel and Great HelmetSummer traverse
Martinova boudaFrom winter trail
Summit Knob from WSW 

Images

This River Runs Thru Me