|Irechek (Ireček, Иpeчек) (2852 m) is one of the high peaks in the Musala group. Although its prominence is obviously diminished by its higher neighbours Musala (2925 m) and Malka Musala (2902 m), it is still the third highest peak of Rila. When you look from the northern approach, for a long time it dominates the skyline, seeming to be the highest mountain around.|
Ireček is situated in the north-eastern ridge of Musala. Its closest neighbours are Malka Musala in the south and Deno (2790 m) in the north.
Its name was given to honour Konstantin Josef Jireček (1854-1918), a Czech historian, linguist and diplomat who was a great friend of Bulgarian nation during the period of buildig the Bulgarian state after regaining independence, and even became a minister of education in Bulgarian government in 1881-2.
In Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet the mountain’s name is spelt Иpeчек and in Latin transcription Irechek. In the Slavic countries including Czech Republic and even sometimes on Bulgarian maps, somehow the corrupted Czech spelling Ireček is often used. Personally I also prefer to use the letters č, š, ž wherever possible, rather than ch, sh, zh, as equivalents of Bulgarian ч, ш, җ.
Getting ThereThe most common starting point to the Musala group is Borovec, a mountain resort in the northern part of Rila. For advice how to get to Borovec, see the ‘Getting There’ section of the Rila main page by vvujisic.
Routes overviewBeing the third highest point of the whole range, Ireček still attracts a lot fewer hikers than the nearby Musala, where most visitors go via the normal route from Musala hut. Ireček is most often visited while hiking the Musala horseshoe. It is easily reachable from the north-western side (Musalenske Ezera/Musala Lakes, Musala hut) or from the east (Marica river valley). The approach from the south (part of Musala horseshoe) can involve some scrambling. Its difficulty depends if you follow the easiest route or try to follow the ridge proper. Ireček can also be an interesting goal of a trip of its own, e.g. on the crossing from Musala hut to Marica hut, especially that it is a great lookout point.
For better orientation see the map (Cyryllic only, Ireček and Musala are near the bottom left corner).
From Borovec and Musala hut
Walk the dirt/gravel road from Borovec to Musala hut (4-5 h, see the route description by toc) or shortcut your way by taking the cable car from Borovec to Jastrebec and walking (30-45 min.) down the dirt road to the Musala hut.
From there there are two possibilities. You can follow the green-marked trail towards north-east which leads to a saddle, dividing the unimportant small peak of Groba (The Grave) from the last outpost of the Musala northern spur, Deno (2790m). Here abandon the marked trail and head out for the broad summit of Deno - an easy walk with some steeper sections. When looking south from the top of Deno, Ireček and Malka Musala dominate the horizon. Walk down to a high meadowy col (2650-2700m) with a rock formation called Sfinksa (Sphinx) (about 1.5 h). Alternatively you can reach the col with Sfinksa by an unmarked path directly from the Musala hut (about 1 h). From Sfinksa walk up the slope towards south-west to the first summit of Ireček with a cairn (20 min.). The summit area consists of several bumps of similar height.
From the east
The valley to the east of Ireček and Deno can be reached by a yellow-marked trail that goes from Borovec to Marica hut. The beginning of unmarked path to the west is probably about 3.5-4 h from Borovec or less than 0.5 h from Marica hut. Follow that path to the col with Sfinksa, reaching it from the east (probably about 2 h from leaving the marked trail). I have not hiked from that side, that unmarked path appears on the map in the old Polish guidebook from 1984 and is only partly drawn on the newer Bulgarian map, so I have no idea about its current state.
I would be grateful to Bulgarian or other SP-ers for providing some more details about that approach and also for any corrections or other info that may be useful for this page!
Ireček can be reached from Musala via Malka Musala (Musala horseshoe scrambling route, see the description). The route can be also done starting from Ireček towards Musala (about 1-1.5 h whichever way). The scrambling difficulty depends if you follow the easiest possible route (less than I UIAA) or try to follow the ridge proper (even up to II-III UIAA). Some of the ridge sections have to be bypassed anyway.
For a more personal account of this route, see the trip report.
Ledenoto Ezero and Ireček in the background.
Musala hut (Hiža Musala/Xижа Mусала) - 68 places, food and drinks for sale, tap water outside but not always available. A new larger hut is being built beside the old one.
Marica hut (Hiža Marica/Xижа Mapица) - 49 places, food and drinks for sale, water available.
Ledenoto Ezero/Everest shelter - 30 places, drinks for sale, water outside - flowing from the lake.
Meteorological observatory at the Musala summit - no beds, only 2 mattresses, practically only for emergency accommodation, problems with water, sometimes drinks may be available to buy.
See the list of Rila chalets and shelters for more details. Thanks to vvujisic for the link.
According to the information here, camping next to the mountain huts is possible for a symbolic fee.
Weather, when to climb & essential gearWeather forecast from the observatory at the summit of Musala. Thanks to vvujisic for the link.
For more info on Rila climate see the ‘Mountain Conditions’ section at the Rila main page.
For the hiking routes to Ireček and Musala you need good hiking boots, standard hiking clothes and equipment, including a compass and/or GPS in case of fog. The peaks on the Musala ridge are connected by high cols, so you will not lose much elevation when making your way from one summit to the other, but the whole route is long and without a good path, so it can be exhausting for one, especially in a hot summer. There is no water on the ridge. Sometimes drinks can be bought at te facilities at the Musala summit (but don't take it for granted). The scrambling sections do not require any special gear.
The routes described above can be hiked/climbed all year round, weather permitting. In winter conditions you'll need crampons, ice axe and full winter gear.
Red TapeNo permits or fees required. Follow the usual rules of behaviour in national parks. Leave the mountains in an even better, cleaner state than you found it - take all the litter with you.
MapsPилa, Kартография EOOД, 2006
(Rila, Kartografija EOOD)
Not very detailed but overall a good and reliable map, with names in both Cyrillic and Latin alphabet. It can be bought in many bookshops in Bulgarian cities and towns.
Below is a scan of a fragment of its Cyryllic-only version, showing the Musala group (bottom left quarter) and Borovec (top).