Krzyżna Góra is the highest top of the famous twin-shaped hill Góry Sokole (commonly nicknamed "Sokoliki") that is the emblem of the Rudawy Janowickie region.
Sokoliki is so famous above all for the numerous granite outcrops scattered in the forests that cover the area, which make the delights of rock-climbers from all the country. And makes Sololiki, along with some other rocks in the surrounding region, the best climbing place in Poland out of the Tatras and the Jura. However, the latter is limestone, and Sokoliki climbing technique is generally considered as closer to the Tatras climbing because on metamorphic rock and more similar features.
This kind of granitic climbing rock is quite original in this corner of Europe, where sandstone-rockclimbing predominate in the the Sudetes (apart from Jizerské žule and the remote Rabštejn). These rocky towering shapes are somehow very similar to those found on the Karkonosze, however for some reason their concentration is exceptionally high on this hill. All outcrops in the region result from the same geological process, that could be summarized like this: tender rock surrounding stillborn magmatic chimneys left away with erosion.
The majority of the climbs are well bolted sport routes, but there are a few trad lines available. There is some limited bouldering scattered around the hillside. Due to high popularity, the rock feels slippy in many places to the touch and many holds give odd shapes which make the climbs feel technical, even in the easier grades. The tallest rock faces are about 60m high on their side overlooking the slope, so rappelling down is possible with a standard rope in most cases.
Some of these most prominent outcrops, each of them owning countless routes, are :
- On the south hill: Rudzik, Browarówka, Husyckie Skały, Zamkowe Skały (named after nearby castle ruins), Jastrzębia Turnia (very visible aside), and Krzyżna Góra (on the top itself, and served by stairs)
- On the north hill: Łysa, Buczek, Sukiennice, Krzywa Turnia, Ptak, Tępą, Sokolik Mały and Sokolik Duży (topping the north hill and who gave the name to the massif)
Beware when looking for more information after these names on Google, many rocks were named similarly after peaks in other areas like in the Tatras.
The area is very cold in winter, and the climbing season usually lasts from May to October. In summer, crowd of climbers bivouac on the hills or at the places mentioned below in the accommodation section, and make the atmosphere of Sokoliki so special in evenings.
Not only climbers are likely to enjoy the area. As mentioned above, the tallest rock, Krzyżna Góra is served by stairs protected with barriers on the summit terrace, which makes it a bit like a natural outlook tower. South view towards the Karkonosze, and north to the Bóbr meanders, are stunning. The whole Góry Sokole own many trails which, apart from taking the climbers to their favorite places, make fine easy hiking itineraries. Even mountain bikers find it fun to challenge the pass "Przełączka" that separate the two hills !
From Wrocław, take the motorway A4 to the West. At the exit of Kostomłoty, take the road n°5 in the direction of Jelenia Gora (the exit is just after a sort of inn on the motorway named "Filipek Bar").
Follow the road 5 until Bolków, then Kaczorów, and then the little road to Janowice Wielkie. Eventually, we can drive to Karpniki or Trzcińsko depending on the trailhead and accommodation. Wojanów is another possible route to Trzcińsko.
If going to Schronisko Szwajcarska, there is a short forestry track not to miss, leaving the road on the right before we reach Karpniki, exactly on the south of the hill as we are the closest to it. Beware of a similar track before that one that might be mixed with it.
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- Since the rocks are very popular, you might find the place more crowded than expected and not all rocks "free". Always be courteous, ask who's next and wait for your turn.
- Beware in not interfering into other people's ropes when climbing a neighbouring route on the same rock.
- Do not modify the equipment (bolts, etc) already present on the rocks. The tops are all bolted for rapelling down.
- The surface of the rock is quite scratchy, beware if you plan to fall in purpose with the risk of rubbing on walls below. Take old clothes too...
There are two ways to accommodate on Sokoliki: a hut on the south side near Karpniki, a bivouac area on the north, and a campsite in Trzcińsko.
* The first is a beautiful 180 years old mountain hut built on the Swiss style, "Schronisko Szwajcarska". But don't be bluffed by the cosy aspect of the construction: people do not sleep inside the main building (for owners !) but in some dodgier barracks hidden behind few meters away. The comfort is quite spartan and the hygiene doubtful, the price cheap... but after all haven't you come here for rock-climbing ? :) The hut is accessible by car but due to popularity, finding a space on the parking below can be tricky during sunny week-ends.
* The second, Taborisko "Pod Krzywą", where one can pitch tents, or rent basic wooden bungalows. Here also, evening picnics around the fire, guitars and good mood are the rule.
* Campsite (Pole namiotowe in Polish) "Zielono mi", in Trzcińsko, indicated by Kamil.
Many people sleep under the rocks on the hill itself during the warmest monthes and this practice is tolerated, but be aware ticks live in these forests :)
External Links and publications
Describing the endless rock-climbing possibilities that Sokoliki has to offer in this page is just impossible.
I invite people with more knowledge of the area, willing to post more material, to do it for example by the mean of routes attached to this object, with all technical data related to the route difficulty.
Polish readers might however find it odd, as there is already since years an excellent resource available on the web, made by Wojciech Tadeusz Wajda (owning a climbing school named "DOZENT"), an emblematic figure of the Wroclaw mountaineering club, for who the Sokoliki rocks do not have anymore secret.
Wojciech Tadeusz Wajda also is the author of an unavoidable guidebook of the Sokoliki climbing routes, "Góry Sokole", published by Sudetica Verticalia (ISBN: 978-83-924478-1-8). Even in Polish, the book, full of schemas and drawings, is intuitive enough for non natives, and worth its more-than-affordable price if you plan climbing there a significant amount of time.