What's New On This Page?October 8th, 2004 - The route over NE ridge mentioned.
July 15th, 2004 - Initial setup of the page.
General remark: (When reading Slovenian words on maps or in books, you will find special characters for ch, sh, and zh. They are written with c, s and z with a caron - little v above them.)
After Stol/Hochstuhl and Vrtaca/Wertatscha, Kepa/Mittagskogel is the third highest mountain in Karavanke range. Due to its beauty it is a true landmark of Kaernten (Austria), from where it is seen like a regular rocky pyramid with a bit cut off peak, so when having clouds around summit one could easily think of looking at volcano. Of course it is built of limestone. It is quite different from the South, from Slovenian side. Hiding behind forehills the summit can be seen only from a distance, from the plane around Bled, and from one spot in the Upper Sava valley, close to Belca village. Of course, if we climb a bit higher, say in Julian Alps, the summit is seen as a beautiful high mountain.
The broader area has the following summits: NW of the main summit is the 1815m high Koroska Mala Kepa, then the main summit, 2143m, comes, NE of it is at the end of the NE summit ridge also a cross on the fore-summit. The first summit towards the SE is Gubno, 2077m, then Plevelniki come, 1957m. Towards the South from Gubno a side ridge goes down. It is names Kurjeki, 1888m, 1666m. Finally, north of Kepa, above Bertahuette, there's a nice summit of Komnica, 1739m. It offers a fine view over the whole northern side of the main ridge.
Ascents on Kepa/Mittagskogel vary from a mid-hard hike over a harder hike with some exposed and with pegs and cables protected details to a few easy rock climbs in the north face (up to UIAA degree III). Although steep on all sides towards the North-East Kepa/Mittagskogel has a nice ravine, appropriate also for a medium hard ski tour.
The Southern Fore-hillsIn the southern forehills, although the world is rugged, overgrown with dense vegetation and mostly steep and rocky, you can still find some hiking objectives. Let's mention a few options:
> The summit of Planica, 1508m. From the Lower Sija saddle, 1349m, towards the west on top. Panorama.
> The summit of Borovje, 1476m. From Vrse meadow, 1184m towards the east directly up or from the Lower Sija saddle, 1349m, towards the south-east. Panorama.
> Kloma gorge. From 'Tromostovje', point 1065m, east of Borovje, reachable by car, then by cart-road into Zakelj creek valley and northwards through the gorge on alpine meadows.
> Jerca gorge. By the mountain road around the west side of Planica, then by a hunters path down into Jerca gorge. Then right (eastwards) upstream to a 10 meters high waterfall. Then back to the hunters path and a bit more down to the mouth of Susica creek. Then upwards by Susica (northwards) till two nice waterfalls - the lower one is 25 m high, the upper one 15 m high. Back by the same route.
Gangolf Haub - 360° summit panorama Kepa / Mittagskogel
The summit view from Kepa/Mittagskogel is magnificent: Beyond Sava valley, Julian Alps are like on a parade, further towards the West Dolomites can be seen, then Grossglockner and neighbourhood, on north Dachstein, towards north-east to Zirbitzkogel and towards south-east a big portion of green, hilly Slovenia.
For general overview information see the Karavanke/Karawanken GROUP page.
From south (Slovenia) trailheads on Kepa/Mittagskogel start in Sava valley, in villages Belca, 691m and Dovje, 704m. From these villages forrest roads go into the narrow Belca valley (you can drive only a short part, then closed for public traffic ?) and from Dovje also only a short part (100m or 200m) up.
From north (Kaernten, Austria) we have some more choices. Villages north of Kepa/Mittagskogel can be reached by local roads on which we can get from the highway Villach - Karavanke tunnel. From these villages we can reach both mountain huts north of Kepa/Mittagskogel by foot or even by car. In July 2006 the mountain road tpwards Bertahuette was closed on the altitude of some 1180 m (a big enough parking place).
On-line map in german is on: http://www.austrianmap.at/.
Kranjska Gora (community tourist map), 1:30000 (only for south, east and west approaches)
Kepa/Mittagskogel - routes numbers refer to those in text.
From the South
1. From Dovje, through Mlinca valley. 5 hours to the summit, marked, medium hard walk up and in some places exposed ferratta (for experienced).
2. From Dovje, over Kurjeke. 5 hours to the summit. Not marked, hard to find hunters trail.
3. From Belca, through Belca valley. 5 hours to the summit, marked, medium hard walk up (for experienced).
6. Over Planina Belca. We drive into Belca valley, but near the confluence of Jerca creek (comes from the east) we cross Belca creek and ascend by the lower part of Kepa SW side ridge to Planina Belca (meadow). From there we continue upwards and when the SW ridge of Kepa becomes rocky, the unmarked path leads us below the ridge towards the right. Above, iz gains the ridge again and in its vicinity ascends on top. 4h, not marked, only for experienced!
From the North
4. From Bertahuette, 1527m. 2 hours to the summit. The marked route goes through NE ravine, steep walk-up, in winter and spring also a ski tour. The easyest approach. Bertahuette can be reached by various paths: From the north portal of Karavanke tummel (marked), from Koca nad Arihovo pecjo (hut), 1080m, from Spodnje Dobje/Unteraichwald (marked), etc.
5. From Bertahuette over the NE ridge. This is the most beautiful 'normal' ascent on Kepa/Mittagskogel. It is marked, and where the ridge allows the path, it is well beaten. But the ascent is not protected, the hardest place in the beginning is around UIAA II, later it's UIAA I. The route can be combined with the descent by the route #4.
The long range of Karavanke offers of course a great possibility to hike all along the range in an east-west direction or the opposite one. In this case the route #1 is reached from the east, from Planina Dovska Rozca or Dovska Baba just below Mlinca saddle. Coming from the west, the route #3 is reached by a not marked route, following the main ridge from Crni vrh/Schwarzkogel, 1751m and Kresisce, 1839m.
Climbs in the North face
Although north face is rocky, there are not many possibilities for climbing and some relatively easy routes were done decades ago.
- North-north-east ridge, UIAA I-II, 1h 30min.
- North ridge, UIAA III, 2h, first ascent Auer, Kollnitz, Raditschnigg & Wegener, 1926.
Red TapeNo limitations. For Karavanke tunnel you must pay toll.
When To Climb
Kepa/Mittagskogel can best be climbed in early summer (flowers), from July to October (stable weather, clear views) and in good conditions also from February to May doing a ski tour (or a classical winter ascent). With an appropriate winter equipment the summit can be reached also in hard winter, the easyest route is the above mentioned #4.
CampingIn valleys there are camping places, but you will need some kind of transfer anyway to reach trailheads.
North of Kepa there are two mountain huts:
Bertahuette, 1567m. Open from mid June to end of September. Tel 0664/5968677.
Koca (=hut) nad Arihovo pecjo, 1080m.