East of Ploecken Pass / Passo di Monte Croce, 1360 m, the Eastern part of Carnic Alps main ridge begins. Like the main group west of the saddle, also these mountains are rocky with some impressive walls. But as Carnic Alps are geologically very diverse, also here soon other types of rocks appear. So, while the summit of Polinik is made of grey limestone, already the ridge connecting it with Cima Avostanis / Blaustein in the main ridge is grassy till the top and only some older rock formations appear out of the ridge.
Polinik is the last peak in the side ridge, which from Cima Avostanis / Blaustein, 2193 m, deters from Carnic Alps main ridge towards the North and then on Laucheck, 2153 m, slowly turns towards the West. So, between the main ridge and Polinik there's the beautiful Angerbachtal. East of Polinik, just beyond Spielbodentoerl, 2095 m, a side summit, called Elferspitz, 2251 m, is rising. So, another point on the sun-clock (Elferspitz means Eleven o'clock Peak), proving our hypothesis of Polinik's name origin can be correct. The Polinik summit itself is a three-edge pyramid. Its south slope is very broad, not so steep, grassy and only at the top rocky. Towards the NW and the NE two high rocky walls are falling, the north-western one is beautifully seen when we are driving over the very frequented Ploecken Pass / Passo di Monte Croce. In these walls also some harder climbs are possible.
The normal ascent is an ordinary walk-up, some care is needed only on the rocky summit (SE) ridge. Due to the fact that from the main road you need to overcome only 1120 m of elevation, the summit is often visited. And because of its nice panorama it's worth to come up there. In winter and spring Polinik is also popular as a ski tour. Again, only the last part below the summit requires advanced skiing technique and in harder conditions additional care and equipment.
Geological OverviewSimilarly as its neighbours towards the west (Gamskofel, Mooskofel), also the summit of Polinik is built of Paleozoic sediment rocks. Some 420-360 million years ago in warm, shallow tropic seas, separated with a barrier from open seas, up to 700 m thick layers were deposited, forming today the upper parts of mountain. Limestone got dolomitized, meaning that CaCO3 was slowly transformed into CaMg(Co3)2. These rock layers can best be seen on the north ridge and in the rocks of the nortwest basin. Nice petrified sea plants (algae, sea lilies, corales) can be found in those rocks. The Polinikkar area is included into the famous Carnic Alps Geo Park trail, marked as Geopoint 58.
Polinik is just high enough to enable a free view on all sides, only a very small part of the western horizon is obscured by the higher Hohe Warte / Monte Coglians group. But the view on this group is also the most beautiful part of Polinik's panorama. Otherwise especially attractive is the view towards the SE, where a whole sea of sharp peaks, belonging to Carnic Alps and Julian Alps is raging. Towards the North you have the beautiful parade of glacier-covered peaks of Hohe Tauern - from Hochalmspitze on the East to Hochgall on the West. Before Hohe Tauern there's the whole range of lower Gailtal Alps and on the West Lienz Dolomites. And far on the SW the towers of 'Dolomiti d'Oltre Piave' are rising - the Monfalcon Group and other ranges of Carnic Fore-Alps.
Mauthner KlammThrough the gorge, falling down from Ploecken Pass / Passo di Monte Croce towards the North, a protected marked path goes, which is worth visiting for itself. Mauthner Klamm is claimed one of the most beautiful gorges of Kaernten. For visitors the bottom part is opened, the tour consists of two parts: the lower part is easy, for family hikes, the next part (called Klabautersteig) is a medium hard ferrata, where some expertise is needed. Altitude to do: 200 meters. The trailhead is in Mauthen, the parking place near Schwimmbad. Then the route goes by the water bed, there are many hanging bridges and tunnels in rocks. The whole tour lasts some 4 hours (30 min + 2 hours upwards, 1 hour 30 minutes downwards by Roemerweg - the ancient Roman path). It is possible also to exit the gorge on Ploecken Pass road - the best option is perhaps to prepare a bike up there and do a round tour.
Summits South-East of Polinik
Beyond Spielbodentoerl there is first the Elferspitz, 2251 m. It's a sharp, grassy peak, no path up there, I don't think many people ascend it (even if the ascent by its grassy, SW oriented valley is not hard).
Next towards the East is Laucheck, 2153 m. It can be ascended by the path, coming from Obere Tschintemunt Alm on the saddle NW of the summit. By its grassy ridge the path continues also to the next summit:
Koderhoehe, 2228 m. It is a broad, massive ridge mountain above the end of Angerbach valley. It can be crossed by an un-marked path from the NW (Laucheck) to SE (Koderkopf).
Koderkopf, 2176 m, is a minor summit north of Cima Avostanis / Blaustein. Over it the marked Karnischer Hoehenweg goes, so it gets some visits.
The last summit in the connecting ridge is already on the main Carnic Alps ridge - Cima Avostanis / Blaustein. It can be best ascended by its grassy south slopes.
|Carnic Alps - Main Ridge (Eastern part)||For general overview, see the Carnic Alps group page and the Carnic Alps Main Ridge (East) subgroup page.|
The ascent from the North, from Mauthen in the valley of Gail/Zilja, is quite long, so almost everybody uses the trailhead on the road over Ploecken Pass / Passo di Monte Croce. This pass is an old connection between the southern valleys, bringing you down to the Po river plane and Adriatic coast, and the Gail/Zilja valley and over the big passes of Alps further towards the North. It was used much before the times of Ancient Romans. Today a good asphalt road crosses the pass. The trailhead is just north of the pass, on the parking place near Ploecken Haus, 1215 m. Roads from there into Angerbachtal are closed for public traffic.
The first ascents worth to mention were made in the E face, NW face and by the N ridge as early as between 1889 and 1900.
You can see a detailed map (1:50000) on-line on: http://www.austrianmap.at/.
E face, Left rib. H. Koban, A. Ortner, 1889. II, I, 300 m.
E face, Direct route. K. Baum, F. Müller, 1908. III, II, 300 m.
E face, Right route (several variants). II, I, 300 m.
N ridge. H. Koban, A. Ortner, 1893 (very likely before already done by hunters). I, 300 m.
NW face (with two variants). H. Koban, 1900. III, II, 250 m.
NW face, Jägerweg (Hunters' route). I, 250 m.
W ridge. H. Koban, 1895 (in descent). I.
In 1903 H. Klauss, H. Koban, A. Ortner and H. Selenati ascended in winter with skis to Spielbodentoerl.
Red TapeThere are no limitations.
CampingThe ascent can be easilly done in one day (5-6 hours), so sleeping on the mountain is not needed. Private huts are only along the road over Ploecken Pass / Passo di Monte Croce.
When To Climb?
For weather conditions, see the main Carnic Alps page!
> P. Holl: Karnischer Hauptkamm (Alpenvereinsfuehrer). Bergverlag R. Rother, Muenchen, 1988 (2nd edition). In German.
> Guidebook and photomonography (in Slovenian): V. Pogačnik: Kar na Karnijce. Založba Narava, 2011.