Overview'Droga po głazach', which can be translated as the Route over slabs, is one of the easiest routes leading to the summit of Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Wielki/Veľký Mengusovský štit. The route is unmarked and navigation can become surprisingly difficult, even if the weather is favourable. The best time to go is from July to October, depending on the weather, which should be perfect considering route finding issues, unless you hire a guide.
ApproachFrom Morskie Oko take the red stripe trail (the eastern variant is a bit shorter) to Czarny Staw (Black Tarn), from where the green marks will lead you to Mięguszowiecka Przełęcz pod Chłopkiem (literally Pass under the Little Bloke) or Mengusovské sedlo (the Slovak name): Please see this page. From the pass, in theory you can only continue with a licensed Tatra guide (see the Red Tape chapter on the parent page).
At Mięguszowiecka/Mengusovské Pass turn west and either
a) follow the path which runs along the ridge to the place where the ridge steepens. Climb the first step, sticking to the edge of the ridge, thus bypassing a steep, small cliff and getting to the other side of the rib on the south side of the mountain,
b) follow the path that contours towards the above-mentioned rib, then traverse it (Polish grade I). The crumbly traverse is named after Tadeusz Westwalewicz, a mountain rescue volunteer, who fell to his death there during a rescue operation in August 1954.
Go down, over grass and rock, heading diagonally right, following more or less clear tracks to a large, oblique chute filled with tons of scree. Cross the chute (there should be cairns), go a little up and you will find yourself on a broad grassy ramp, rising towards the summit of Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Pośredni/Prostredný Mengusovský štít. Traverse the ramp almost horizontally until you get to a projection with a cairn.
Leave the edge of the ramp and descend the slanting wall towards the lower end of the next big ramp (Wielka Mięguszowiecka Ławka/Veľká Mengusovská lávka), which lies over 100m down there, right below Mięguszowiecka Przełęcz Wyżnia/Vyšné Mengusovské sedlo - the col between Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Wielki/Veľký Mengusovský štít and Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Pośredni/Prostredný Mengusovský štít. The easiest passage here (Polish grade 0+) - described in more detail in a few Polish guidebooks - can be hard to find. The stretch of the route between the two ramps is really tricky, and you can easily find yourself in more difficult terrain (say UIAA grade II) than expected. If visibility drops, this apparently innocuous stretch of the route may become a nightmare. Cairns can be difficult to spot and some of them may be misleading.
If you are going in the opposite direction, and you are near the lower end of Wielka Mięguszowiecka Ławka/Veľká Mengusovská lávka (the 'second ramp' in the third illustration) at the spot where 'Droga po głazach' parts with via normale (please see here), follow the horizontal path for several metres and start climbing up when you have turned the rib that borders on the chute dropping from Mięguszowiecka Przełęcz Wyżnia /Vyšné Mengusovské sedlo. It seems it is better to stick to the left-hand edge of the depression/wall (or rather a very steep ramp) you are scaling. After a few dozen metres you will have to turn right, over easy terrain, and soon - high above you - you will see the edge of the 'first' ramp, which is these days called Pośrednia Mięguszowiecka Ławka/Prostredná Mengusovská lávka. From there I (yatsek) continued the climb up, again keeping to the left-hand side of the steep slope (up a kind of dihedral) to finally traverse right, nearly contouring to the edge of the ramp. However, having read the descriptions of this stretch of the route by the most renowned guidebook authors, I doubt that my route was the easiest one.
Now let us return to the point where 'Droga po głazach' joins via normale. From that place the route is obvious and easy: Up along the 'second' ramp for about 20 minutes until you get to where it ends at the 'balcony' - a little terrace named Mięguszowiecki Balkon.
Gorzi says - relatively hard: Please click on the photo on the right.) When you are five metres below the crest, to your right, you will see a rather broad, smooth, looking slippery, ledge with a granite block barring the way under the overhanging wall. The classic variant of our route leads along that ledge and requires crawling or at least kneeling. After following the ledge for about ten metres, you resume climbing up. The holds - according to guidebooks and various TRs (neither of the authors of the page has done this variant) - are good.
There are some other variants of climbing the final section of a scramble to the summit, of which both dynercia and I preferred the ridge walk. From the funny ledge it is only five metres to the crest of the western ridge of the mountain.
The crest is indeed exposed - the first sight on reaching it is that of Morskie Oko (the grandest Polish tarn) one kilometre down below.
At first the airy crest, made up of large blocks of solid granite is pretty narrow, but it soon widens.
Its last section before the broad summit is a bit too difficult, but it is easily bypassed on the left. For more views from the summit please see the parent page.
Remarks on Ratings and Route StatisticsAlthough the rock difficulty scale traditionally used in Polish guidebooks to the Tatras is said to be almost identical to the UIAA scale used in Slovakia, in practice it does differ from the latter in that it - or at least its bottom, which I have investigated - seems to be tougher, which means that a Polish grade 0+ ('easy') can actually be an equivalent of a UIAA grade I, a Polish grade I ('a bit difficult') will often be like a UIAA grade II and so on. Differences between the ratings of a particular route can be from half to one and a half grade points.
Last but not least, the UIAA ratings that most Westerners are used to do not seem to be any tougher than the Slovak ones, which sometimes agree with the Polish version. So, I have come to think that if you want to get a fairly 'safe' UIAA grade for a scrambling route in the Tatras, the following formula will work, most of the time: UIAA grade = Polish grade + 1
Time up: 5hrs from Morskie Oko Hut
Net elevation gain: 1043m
Total elevation gain: approx. 1200m
Rock difficulty: Polish grade I / Slovak sources: UIAA I-II / my guess: YDS 4-5.0
Essential GearUnder summer conditions: normal hiking gear, a helmet is a good idea; a rope and a few loops may also be useful, especially while doing the crest climb
Under winter conditions (according to dynercia; in my opinion the route does not make sense under winter conditions): crampons, ice axe, rope, a few loops and ice screws