PrefaceNobody wanted to come with me.
I planned a trip to Ojstrica. When I introduced the plan to my family members and to friends, all told me that I was not in my right mind. And nobody wanted to come with me. But I want to explain that it was the right plan. In order to make you understand it, I have to give some „historic review”.
ReviewI live in Hungary. In Hungary there are no real mountains. The highest is 1014 m high. But in Europe such a hill cannot be considered as a real mountain. I created two definitions for real mountains.
a) It must be higher than 2000 m. The nearest such mountain to my city is Grosser Speikkogel (2141 m), in Austria, in 307 km distance…
b) The top of the mountain must be bare rock, mountain meadows or covered by mountain pine (Pinus mugo). These factors are true in middle-Europe for the mountains higher than 1600-1700 meter. Still too far from my home city…
So whenever I want to go up to real mountains, I have to travel. I love geography and mountains since my age 13. And of course in my childhood I could practice it only with my father. But with him it was possible only once a year – or maximum twice a year.
When I became a university student, I could do it myself. But I had limited budget. And I was much interested in old cities and historic monuments, too, so a part of the „funds” was used for this purpose. The outcome: again only a few numbers of conquered peaks.
After I started to work, I had to save money for buying a flat, and then a house. So a few years were off, again.
Now no such problems are there any more. I can go without my father. I have seen thousands of historic buildings, and they are not in highest priority any more. No need to save money for the house any more. But now I have a job that requires me to spend approximately 90 nights away from home every year. And my wife tells me that when I am at home, then I cannot plan tours to remote mountains. I think she’s right. And she’s not a she-dragon: she gave me the authorization for a single trip every year that is not longer than 4 days. Every year I utilize it with high efficiency! But of course it’s not enough. All SP members must understand it! When there are possibilities to “bag” a few peaks during my business travels, I do it. Like I did it with Tai Mo Shan – the highest peak of Hong Kong. I climbed that hill in the time gap of a transit flight, travelling from Amsterdam to Manila. I arranged it so that I had a few hours gap between arrival and departure. Just enough for the 15 km walk up to the peak, having the laptop with me. But this is just to utilize the opportunity. This is not the freedom that I wanted, thought better than nothing.
My dream is that I look to the weather forecast. If it forecasts good weather, then I go up to real mountains. This would be the feeling of perfect freedom! Last Sunday I could feel this freedom, first time in my life.
The PlanThe weather was beautiful in Hungary in these days. And also in the nearest really interesting mountains: in the Kamnik Alps, in Slovenia. So I decided to go there.
As I told you: I have the constraint coming from my wife to spend all nights at home. So I had to complete everything within one day, between early morning and late evening. I selected an impressive peak: Ojstrica. One of the villages near this peak is Luče. It is in a 335 km distance from my home.
335 km can be driven in 5 hours, keeping an average speed of 67 km/h. Please note that on this planned route there is no section of highway. Actually there are some short sections, but I planned to avoid them because I hate paying highway fee. So 67 km/h average speed on traditional roads in Hungary, in Croatia and in Slovenia. It is possible only in that case if I don’t stop for eating. If no more than 1 minute waiting at the country borders. And the traffic rules are nearly kept. From the "upper side" of the limits.
So 5 hours to go there. The same 5 hours for coming back. And 5 hours for the climbing. A total of 15 hours that can be done from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. In theory.
As I mentioned, I planned to complete the climbing in 5 hours. A total of 23 km, with elevation gain of 1800 m and then the same elevation loss.
I had the feeling that the planned 15 hours won’t be enough. So I got up at 4:50 a.m, and left home at 5:15. It was dark yet. I had no problem at any of the borders. I crossed them quickly, though both are Schengen EU borders. I didn’t stop for eating – I ate while driving (but carefully). The minor problems were that I lost my way at 3 places: near Prelog (Perlak) and Varaždin (Varasd) in Croatia and near Celje in Slovenia. As a result my route was 25 km longer. And the driving time was 5:30 hours instead of the planned 5 hours. OK, I started my ascent to the peak at 10:50 a.m. I selected a starting point at elevation of 550 m a.s.l. With this starting point I could achieve an elevation gain of 1800 m. Because the peak of Ojstrica is 2350 m high. Gaining elevation is important for me. This is the physical exercise part of being in the mountains. For me it is as important as the height of the peak. If it was not so important, then I could have started my ascent from the end of the road going up in the valley of Lučka Bela. All other mountaineers did this. Except for me.
So I started my walking on the road, a few km west from the village Luče. At the beginning of the valley of Lučka Bela there are some farmhouses. When I arrived there, a dog was running towards me, imitating that he wanted to attack me. Luckily he didn't attack me. He just selected me as a climbing partner. He accompanied me for the whole tour.
I was hurrying up the valley. Sometimes I was running, knowing that I have limited time. I wanted to get up to the peak in 2:45 hours. And Down in 2:15 hours. Though I wanted to stop for a few minutes to eat and drink, I couldn’t. The dog didn’t allow me to stop. Whenever I stopped for a moment, he was immediately there. And I don’t like to have body contact with dogs. So I didn’t stop to drink and to eat. Perhaps it was a mistake. I was very quick going up to the Korošica meadow (1910 m). But consumed all my energy, and from there I was too slow. I selected to go up to the Ojstrica peak (2350 m) on the south-east ridge. The dog followed me. He could go up almost to the peak. But at the end of the route there was a secured section of the trail in the side of the cliffs of Ojstrica. There he stopped. It was not too difficult, but being exhausted I got up to the peak in a long time. I arrived to the peak at 3:25 p.m. I wanted to do the 1800 elevation gain in 2:45 hours, and finally it was 4:35. Bad planning and bad performance! I realized that I’m in trouble: I would arrive home too late. At midnight. What will my wife tell me!
So I started to run down the hill. After a half km I met the dog again and from that moment we were running together. I speculated that I could catch some "lazy" tourists at the parking place at the top end of the valley of Lučka Bela. And yes, it was so. I asked a young couple of Slovenian hikers to take me down to my car. They were very kind and took me there. Anyway they went in a similar direction. With this method I saved 30-40 minutes. I left the dog in the parking place, in a 5 km distance from his home. I guess he founded his way home…
Finally I could start driving home at 6:10. Going home I didn’t miss the shortest road and I could get back in 5 hours and 10 minutes. So finally I was back to home at 11:20 p.m., instead of the originally planned 9 p.m.
SummaryI drove 712 km in 10 hours and 40 minutes. I crossed 4 country borders. I walked 23 km and I gained 1800 meter during this walking. (And also 1500 meter elevation loss, but that’s easier…)
Everybody around me said that it was not a good plan, and they didn’t want to come with me.
But I did all this in 1 day, with success. My dream came true.