IntroSecond longest/largest Croatian massif is Licka Pljesivica (read Lichka Pljeshivica). It is around 100km long. Although it contains some beautiful areas and details it is least visited mountain area in Croatia. Licka Pljesivica is mostly surrounded by Lika region, least inhabited in Croatia. This page is about its southernmost part/group and Postak peak (read Poshtak), which is one the most interesting areas of whole mountain. It is placed amidst even less inhabited and lonelier area. Invisible tiny hamlets or small villages that exist around are today mostly deserted. If in the western foothills there weren’t main road and railway, which connect two largest Croatian cities, Zagreb and Split, you would hardly notice any signs of civilization. Many travelers pass here, especially in summer, probably many stare at this mountain as it dominates above, but so very few climb it. Soon, when Zagreb-Split highway is completed, most of those looks will be gone too. Eastern slopes are under picturesque and tame forests while western are covered with soft grass but whole area gives impression of wilderness because there are no people to see around. Chances of meeting anyone on Postak are close to that of winning a lottery. For those seeking adventure this is great area to discover as around the mountain there is also number of interesting points to see. This is one of forgotten Croatian areas, place to see how our planet looked and felt before we overcrowded most of good places to live.
Although Postak and its group is southern most part of Licka Pljesivica it gives impression of isolated, separate mountain. It is around 20km long and up to 10km wide. Direction of stretching is NW-SE which means parallel with Dinaric Alps chain to which it belongs. Group doesn’t have a name so to avoid repeating southern most part of Licka Pljesivica it is easiest to address whole group as Postak too.
Borders of Postak are well defined. From rest of Licka Pljesivica, on the north, it is separated by Velikopopinsko Polje (650m), few kilometers wide rounded karst field, Srbski Klanac (793m) road pass, over which Srb village that is placed in remotest part of Lika region, is connected to main road, and upper part (plateau) of Una river valley. Other three sides around Postak are deep valleys.
On the east is Butiznica river valley (bottom between 600-400m) which separates Postak from neighboring and parallel Ilica (1654m) mountain, northern most part of Dinara massif. Valley is very picturesque, being squeezed between steep forested sloped of Postak and Ilica, while valley floor contains large meadows along the Butiznica river and scattered hamlets. Unfortunately valley is also border with Bosnia Herzegovina and because of that closed for wider traffic. Problem is that road was built in joint ex Yugoslavia, when republic borders only existed on paper, so it crosses today’s state border all the time while heading through the valley.
On the south is also Butiznica river valley (bottom between 400-200m) which near Strmica village makes gradual turn and changes direction towards south and Knin town. On this stretch it separates Postak from Dinara group in the massif of Dinara where highest Croatian peak, Sinjal (1830m), is placed. Valley is wider here but also surrounded by steep forested sides. While in the upper part beech is predominant tree influence of warmer Mediterranean climate is felt here so forests are mostly made of oak and pine. Especially interesting is Surdup amphitheatre on the Dinara side of the valley.
On the west Malopopinsko Polje (600m) karst field and Zrmanja river valley (bottom at 300m) separate Postak from Kom (1003m), southern most part of Velebit (SI Velebit).
Postak group can be divided in 3 parts; northern, central and southern.
On the north it rises steeply, some 600m, from upper part of Una river valley. Behind the edge of the indented slope is large undulating plateau called Jelovi Tavani, at around 1100m. It is under dense beech forests with some spruce and fir. Above the plateau there are several smaller peaks higher than 1200m. Highest in this part of mountain is Panos (1329m). Western slopes of this area descent gradually towards large Velikopopinsko Polje (650m) field while eastern, which fall into Butiznica river valley, are steep and under beech forests. Just above the valley floor there is lot of water sources, including the one of Butiznica river. Also at the foot of steep slopes is Babica Jezero lake. On the southern edge of the plateau is beautiful Ljubina Poljana (1050m), 4km long and some 0.5km wide meadow or grassy plateau, surrounded by beech forest.
South of Ljubina Poljana rises central part of Postak group. It begins with 3rd highest and most beautiful peak of whole mountain, Postak (1425m), which rises straight above Ljubina Poljana, very steeply. Lower part of the slope is under beech while above are nice cliffs. Its nicely shaped cone attracts the views of those that travel from Gracac towards Knin. South of Postak spine (crest) of the mountain is recognizable. It is hard to call it a ridge since peaks are lined up along it, on some placed divided by quite deep passes. Crest is above western side of the mountain whose grassy slopes, on places furrowed with former torrents, descent towards Malopopinsko Polje (600m) karst field and into the Zrmanja river valley. At the altitude of around 600m is quite large terrace before final steep fall into the valley. Above the terrace there are some rocks and cliffs sections. Most noticeable is Kuk Vranj (1150m) cliff below Mali Postak (1385m) peak. Below the plateau, at the bottom of 300m deep chasm amphitheatre is source of Zrmanja river. Whole western side of central part of Postak is open and grassy, which is mixed with rock. In the upper part there are some beeches groves while lower are oak groves.
More important peaks along the crest are: Postak (1425m), Mali Postak (1385m), Bijeli Vrh (1446m) (highest peak of Postak), Visibaba (1331m), Veliki Kurozeb (1291m), Konjska Glava (1336m), Bobija (1251m) and Veliki Gologlav (1197m).
East of main crest Postak has completely different face than on western side. Area is much wider and is generally under deep forests. From main crest it gradually descends towards the edge behind which mountain falls steeply into the Butiznica river valley. Slope is extremely indented, with few deep side valleys that cut into the mountain. Above the area forested peaks rise but there is also lot of meadows. Second highest peak of the mountain, Kucina Kosa (1441m), is close neighbor of Postak (1425m). Very nice is Torbicki Vagan, large rounded grassy basin at around 700m, placed between Kucina Kosa peak and edge above the valley. On the edge of the field is hamlet of shepherd’s houses. Another attraction lies just south of Torbicki Vagan. Amidst dense forests ground opened in shape of Kozja Jama chasm, which is few hundred meters deep and wide hole.
Southern most tip of Postak group is Orlovac (1201m). It is separated from central part, on the north, by Djurica Previja (910m) pass. On the west is huge Plavno, grassy plateau at around 400m. There are several hamlets on it. On the east is Butiznica river valley above which Orlovac rises steeply, even with some cliffs and scree. Below 1000m line Orlovac is under pine, oak and hornbeam forests. Top part is undulating grassy plateau above which several peaks rise. Southern most tip of Orlovac is close to Knin town.
Postak (1425m)As said in overview section, beautifully shaped cone of Postak is placed on the NW edge of central part of the group. Northern side rises steeply above large grassy complex Ljubina Poljana (1050m). Lower part of the slope is under beech while above are nice cliffs. Eastern side of the peak is forested and descent into the valley which divides it from neighboring Kucina Kosa (1441m). Western side is grassy, with some cliffs in the upper part, and deep, descending all the way to Malopopinsko Polje (600m) field and Otric hamlet. South of Postak main crest stretches towards south.
In whole Postak group only Postak (1425m) peak has been accessed by marks. Approach leads from Zrmanja train station near the Otric (600m) hamlet at the edge of Malopopinsko Polje field. Altitude difference is little bit over 800m and ascent lasts around 2.30-3h. Path leads over open grassy slopes all the time. Just below the western edge of summit pyramid is very interesting ’boulder park’. Here on the grassy slopes many scattered boulders lie. Some have bizarre shapes. It is believed that they were shaped by Bura wind which grinded them with sharp particles of dolomite sand it caries. Among them most interesting are finger and alien head. Also worth mentioning is nice rounded meadow Duboki Vagan (1270m), which lies amidst beech forests SE of Postak peak.
Just 1km north of Otric hamlet, on the small pass between Malopopinsko Polje and Velikopopinsko Polje fields, very good macadam road branches from main road and ascends up the grassy western slopes of Postak. It passes just north below Postak peak, along the southern edge of Ljubina Poljana (1050m) meadows, and then around Kucina Kosa (1441m) takes southern direction and goes through deep forests of eastern central part. This road can be used to shorten Postak approach by over an hour but also to easily approach, on foot very remote, Kozja Jama chasm and Torbicki Vagan grassy field in forested basin between the peaks.
There is no water on western slopes of Postak.
Summit ViewPostak is great view point. View is wide towards all but SE direction where neighboring Kucina Kosa (1441m) and highest Bijeli vrh (1446m) partially obscure the panorama. On the other hand it is interesting to have at least part of panorama of closer mountains, which are in this case covered with soft beech forest hair that is white, green or red.
N: below the northern cliffs and belt of beech forest is almost 4km wide complex of meadows, Ljubina Poljana. Behind it is undulating forested plateau called Jelovi Tavani. On its right edge is forested Panos (1329m) peak. Behind the plateau are forested eastern slopes of Licka Pljesivica massif and upper part of river Una valley. Just right of Licka Pljesivica is isolated ‘island’, Urljaj (902m), which rises some 400m above the valley. Left of Panos peak, some 32km away, is Osjecenica (1795m) mountain in Bosnia.
E: over the upper part of river Butiznica valley (border with Bosnia), whose bottom is not visible, is northern part of Ilica mountain with its highest peak Veliki Vrh (1654m). Ilica is northern most part of Dinara massif. Over the forested shoulder of Ilica, which descends towards left, summit grassy cone of Klekovaca (1961m) mountains sticks, 38km away. In the foreground is forested, second highest, peak of Postak group, Kucina Kosa (1441m). It obscures most part of Ilica, right of Veliki Vrh.
SE & S: just below is large rounded meadow Duboki Vagan (1270m). Right of Kucina Kosa (1441m) is lower forests part which separates it from highest peak of Postak group Bijeli vrh (1446m). Over this lower area between both peaks 4 highest peaks of Sator (1872m) mountain are clearly visible (40km away) on the left. Right of Sator is part of large Grahovsko Polje karst field. Right above it is wide Bunjevacko Brdo (1849m) on Dinara mountain. All this is in Bosnia. Right of Bijeli Vrh, highest is Postak group, is Mali Postak (1385m). Between them, over undulating forested areas of Postak group, is Svilaja (1506m) mountain. Right of Mali Postak are undulating western slopes of Posta group with Visibaba (1331m) behind. Right of Visibaba is Promina (1148m), island mountain amidst huge North Dalmatian plateau.
SW & W: This part of panorama belong to last, SE most part of Velebit. Between it and Postak is wide valley of river Zrmanja, in which its water come to light. Towards it Postak descends with long SW slopes at whose bottom is wide plateau before final descent into the valley. On the right end of the plateau is Malopopinsko Polje (600m) field and Otric hamlet. Left, on the Velebit behind, is Kom (1003m), last group of Velebit. Right of it is wide area of Gostusa (1058m) group. Then comes the grassy cone of Tremzina (1187m). Finally right of Tremzina is bulky Crnopac (1404m), highest peak of SE Velebit. Behind SE Velebit and North Dalmatian plateau, some 80km away are islands of Sibenik & Zadar archipelagos. Numerous small islands of Kornati NP are easily recognizable. Right of Crnopac small part of Lika around Gracac town is visible. Blue Ricica lake is recognizable. Behind it highest part of Velebit rises. This is Sveto Brdo – Vaganski Vrh group on South Velebit. Although not highest in the panorama it gives the impression of being just that. On its left end is Sveto Brdo (1751m) while Vaganski Vrh (1757m) is hardly recognizable among other peaks that surround it.
NW: Below are soft grassy slopes of Postak which descent towards huge rounded Velikopopinsko Polje (650m) field. Behind its left part are lower undulating hills of Licka Pljesivica. Behind them are peaks of Licko Sredogorje in Lika with rest of Velebit further back. From Postak whole Velebit is visible (continental side). Some would recognize Satorina (1624m) on Mid Velebit, 100km away. Senjsko Bilo, northern most part of Velebit is 123km away. Above right part of Velikopopinsko Polje field are vast undulating spaces of Licka Pljesivica. In the foreground 3 higher peaks are recognizable. On the left is grassy cone of Lisac (1335m). In the middle is forested cone of Orozovac (1399m) while right is grassy Gutesin Vrh (1416m). Just left of Orozovac is pyramid of Kremen (1591m). Between Orozovac and Gutesin Vrh is Dabasnica valley while behind is wide are of forested peaks with Ozeblin (1657m) in the middle, highest peak of Licka Pljesivica whose part Postak is.
Source of river ZrmanjaDeep in the western foot of Postak, at the edge of the valley that separates it from SE Velebit, one of most beautiful Croatian rivers comes to life. Although its highlights are well down the road, where it is in the canyon that is cut into the slopes of SE Velebit, source of Zrmanja is also worth the visit. It is placed on the bottom of 300m deep chasm that crashes from the edge of terrace on the western slopes of Postak. This huge amphitheater of cliffs and scree is first thing that one notices when traveling on the road between Knin and Gracac, that is cut into the slopes of SE Velebit on the other side of the valley. Zrmanja appears on the surface through blocks of rocks, immediately creating forceful small river.
To access the source you have to first descent into the valley from main road. At the sign which points down towards Zrmanja Vrelo village you’ll turn (vrelo=source). Once down on the junction, after several sharp bends and steep descent, turn left. Shortly after the junction you’ll pass by a drinking-fountain. Continue straight. Soon asphalt ends and macadam continues first straight over the field, then begins to ascend gradually. Shortly after is sharp right then left turn from where clear view of amphitheater opens. After several bends, in the small hamlet of few houses, road ends. Continue straight by the left edge of the meadows and by a cemetery. Now you are just by the river, path is clear and you can’t make a mistake. Several minutes behind the cemetery is large rocky dam in which is narrow hole through which whole river passes making wide and powerful jet on the flowing direction side. Path passes left of dam and in several minutes reaches the source which is left behind the hill. From Zrmanja Vrelo village, where is drinking-fountain, it takes some 45mins to get here, from end of the road some 20mins.
Getting ThereTrailhead to visit Postak is Otric (600m) hamlet which is placed on the Zagreb-Split road between Gracac and Knin. You can get there by bus and train from both cities and of course by your own car from anywhere.
Air gateway to Croatia is Zagreb intl. airport. From there you have the option to reach Postak by bus or train or even continue with plane to Split. From there bus and train can take you to the foot of Postak. Info about international flights to Zagreb and inner flights find on official site of Croatia Airlines.
Buses on line between Zagreb and Split are very frequent. They go almost every hour via Otric, while some go along the coast via Zadar. Detailed bus timetables from Zagreb you can find on Zagreb bus station site. How they go from Split cannot be find online but once on the station you probably won’t wait over an hour.
Trains between Zagreb and Split pass below Postak. They stop on Zrmanja train station near Otric hamlet. Trains are not as frequent as buses but frequent enough. Buses are faster. On Croatian Railways site you can find detailed time tables between any stop inside Croatia, including prices and so on.
Ljubljana (SLO) – Zagreb: 138km, Maribor (SLO) – Zagreb: 113km, Budapest (H) – Zagreb: 347km
Zagreb - Otric (via Plitvice and Gracac): 250km
Split – Otic (via Sinj and Knin): 136km
Zadar – Otric (via Gracac): 100km
When To ClimbPostak is climbable during whole year. Each season has something different. In winter, which lasts from December to March, Postak is under snow, especially top part and deep forests on the eastern side. But those areas are out of limit for visitors. Western slopes that are used to ascent Postak are frequently under snow, especially higher parts. But during longer stretches of sunny weather, even in mid winter, on lower and even higher western slopes snow can melt before it falls again. Crampons could be necessary but not always. It is good to have them. Most dangerous factor is certainly Bura wind which can easily reach hurricane force in winter. If it blows only moderately, at the foot, on the summit it can be unbearable. Those that like tour skiing might find descent from Postak interesting because of open, moderately or lightly angled slopes, and considerable 800m of vertical difference. Spring lasts from April till mid June. In April western slopes are usually snow less, but in that month snow can still fall easily, especially in first part. Trees will turn green during May while grass at the end of May. In June, even in last part of May, days can be hot on open slopes. Summer lasts between mid June and mid September. In July and August days are hot and so is ascent over open grass. It is best to start at dawn. Autumn lasts between mid September and end of November. In September grass is burned and yellow while forest is still green. Days aren’t hot anymore. October is always one of the best months to visit. Days are pleasant or chilly. Snow can fall but won’t hold for long. On top of Postak trees begin to change color from the beginning of October. November is quite dull month because grass is yellow, trees are naked and there is usually no snow.
Mountain ConditionsThere is no weather station on Postak. Closest forecast towns are Gracac and Knin. Zavizan station on North Velebit can give you picture of how weather looks in the mountains. Don’t rely on forecast because it is quite far away, also Velebit has much harsher climate than Postak.
WeatherOnline home page
Croatia at WeatherOnline
Zavizan, Velebit at WeatherOnline
Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Association (DHMZ):
DHMZ home page
DHMZ Forecast page
DHMZ 7 Day Forecast for Croatian and World wide cities and places, including Knin & Gracac
Current Weather Conditions in Croatia, including Knin and Zavizan (these stations report from 05-15h and 19-21h, +1h during summertime)
Snow Depth's in Croatia
Objects & CampingThere are no objects of any kind around Postak peak and no mountaineering objects, not only on Postak group but on whole Licka Pljesivica massif.
Camping is not forbidden on Postak as it isn’t part of any kind of protection. On the grassy western side of Postak there are flat places to erect a tent.