Planning, reasoning the goal and travelling
TR STILL IN CONSTRUCTION
1500 metres lower, but beautiful the same
At the beginning, a statistical remark. First mountain after my ascend of Ortler (3905 m) was Furkotsky stit in High Tatras (2405 m). It was two weeks after my Ortler ascend. I cannot say that ascending a 1500 metres lower mountain is less attractive for me. Let's read my screed of reasons.
Reasons for the goal
Incentive to analyse some non-sense regulations
One of the main reasons to go to Furkotsky stit was a scientific reason. This term I write a study about the validity of NP rules, whether the rules are kept. I analyse regulations and their consequences, and Furkotsky stit is the place where there are most of non-sense concentrated, so I wanted to see myself how it looks like on the summit now with the rule-keeping.
Perfect weather forecast, my climbing club provocation and studies' and family duties as an alternative cost
Furthermore, there was fantastic weather forecast, the best autumn weather was to happen. I knew from live webcams, that there were little snow in Tatras, avalanche danger was at 1st level, there was high air pressure proscribed, clear skies, no precipitation (neither 2 previous day precipitation occured) and quite warm temperatures above 0° C. Virtually any local avalanche danger with a little snow made me be more ambitious without having to be afraid of the safety of mine and my mate. Furkotsky stit is now not on the marked trail. With little, but some firn-like snow Furkotsky stit fitted for my imagination of an ambitious goal.
Additionally, my climbing club was then on meeting at chalet at Zelene tarn, with more ambitious goals than I've ever reached in High Tatras (Jastrabia veza, Lomnicky stit, Kolovy stit, Cierny stit, Jahnaci stit and Baranie rohy). The group were there for all the weekend. And I had to sacrifice it for to my studies. I had to spare scarce resources of time and money. You understand that staying in chalet for three days may be more costy than a half-day trip. Needless to say, I cannot afford to spend three days in mountains, because I have to be at university from monday till friday evening. Spending some time for Furkotsky stit was still reasonable time allocation in my point of view.
Concerning time, I had another alternative use of that resource. I see my neighbours and girlfriend only one-two weekends a month, so spending a part of saturday in mountains meant not to spend that time with my family. I doubted that I would learn something during the weekend, but the idea of learning during the weekend is not that useless in the final year of a man's studies. Of course, I didn't learn anything during the weekend at all. But still, I took that possibility into account before the ascend and considered the loss of time to learn as being in reasonable levels, supposing the goal would be the Furkotsky stit at maximum.
The quickest way for a hiker to get to 2400 metres mark in Tatras
The above written was just reasoning. But when deciding about the ascend, the key argument is not reasonal. If you imagine the height you may reach, deep valleys underneath the summit, meeting wonderful people of your kind, search, pray and talk to the God, wonderful summit views, another summit log and beautiful photos that SP members will like, it is something that makes your spirit fly on wings. This is the key argument, the ultimate incentive that pushes us to go up to mountains.
Height is generally a good argument of that anti-rationalistic kind. The higher the better. With this little time as I had one have to maximize height/time ratio. I know there's the fastest way to get to the 2000 metres and to 2400 metres in High Tatras, when you go from Strbske Pleso to the Solisko chalet (1840 m) and further. If you want to go only to 2000 metres, go 30 minutes up from there to the Predne Solisko summit (2093 m). Predne Solisko is the only summit available in winter for casual hikers (members of alpine clubs can ascend other summits under some conditions, NP rules, see High Tatras page red tape section). The whole hike up and down to Strbske Pleso may take less than 4 hours. But this time in year I wanted to ascend a nice summit, with about 2400 metres, that is a common height of High Tatras' summits and enabling a hiker to see other major peaks. That's exactly what Furkotsky stit offers to hikers. Appropriate height, views, easy and quick access. If you are quick and knowledgeable about the mountain, you can spend only 6 hours on the whole hike (Strbske Pleso - Furkotsky stit - Strbske Pleso). In august 2002 I was there with my best friend Miso and we went also to the Hruby vrch via the ridge from Furkotsky stit to Hruby and back to Furkotsky. The whole hike (Strbske Pleso - Furkotsky stit - Hruby vrch - Furkotsky stit - Strbske Pleso) took 6,5 hours and we could have been even quicker. At 12:30 a.m. we were back at Strbske pleso and at 2:00 p.m. we were eating our lunch home in Smizany.
All these thoughts came to my mind when I planned the hike. I planned it carefully on thursday night and called my friends to go along with me. One responded and finally joined me. I knew that Andrej was quite out of shape, and that was not favourable for my plan of the trip, but I decided it would be nice to meet him after some time and, what is more important, I didn't want to go alone. I had to travel for this trip home to stay for a weekend . I travelled from Prague, where I study. I took a night train and got out of the train a bit sooner than at Spisska Nova Ves, my city. I got out of train at 6:15 a.m. at Strba (895 m), a small city at the foothills of High Tatras. There I met my friend Andrej, who joined me. We took another train to Strbske Pleso (1355 m), a major High Tatras's resort. From the train we saw red sunlit east walls of Tatras' summits at sunrise. Strba was in inversion clouds, whereas Strbske Pleso was above the upper level of inversion clouds. At Strbske Pleso train station Andrej bought his insurance (in case of injury mountain rescue will not charge you, neither in case of a helicopter rescue. I have Alpinverein insurance, valid in all Europe ranges). I ate some sweets, bananas, bread with hard cheese and fish can. I knew from my last experience from Ortler, that eating and drinking enough is one of key factors of success. At about 7:52 a.m. we started our trip.
Part to the chalet below Solisko and junction in Furkotska valley
Strbske Pleso is a mountain resort located around the tarn of Strbske pleso (1355 m). We went to the other bank of the tarn and there starts the blue marked trail to the chalet below Solisko (1840 m). In Tatras, you won't see the distance to another junction of trails or to the goal of the trail. You will see table with proscribed time needed to get to another junction/goal of the trail. The table on the signpost told us, that within an hour we should be at the chalet and within another 20 minutes we were to be at the junction of trails in Furkotska valley. Quite soon (in 15 minutes) we got to the upper tree-level (1550-1600 metres). That has its reason, the trail is quite steep until then. From that place on you have views and you see the chalet. I was quicker than Andrej, but I didn't mind, it made me have a time for shooting some nice photos. You have to be careful there because there is a ski lift and ski slope running in winter on the upper part of the trail. A ski-lift operator may deny a hiking approach to the chalet. My experiences says that the option is not being used, fortunately. There is another fresh ski-slope on the right when you are ascending to the chalet. The operator of ski-lifts seems to have lobbied successfully at NP office and that he wants this slope to be used this winter for the first time. Bodies of lots of dwarf-pines is the cost of having another ski-slope. But that's a theme for another (economic) article, not to be published here. We saw forestry machinery and employees cutting dwarf-pines. I was quite surprised about how did those machinery got to that height (1700-1750 metres). We got to the chalet in some 50 minutes and made a short break for drinking and taking photos. The inversion clouds filling the basin underneath was simply adorable. No clouds above us, but I knew by then, that this time there will be nothing like 6 hours longing trip from Strbske Pleso to Furkotsky stit and back. I tried to push Andrej to do his best effort in ascending and we got to the trails' junction in Furkotska valley (1710 m) some 5 minutes before we should according to the signpost table. We filled bottles with fresh water of nearby flowing Furkotsky creek, took some photos and started just in time with the signpost timetable.
Some text and photos will be added later this week.