Molika Hotel and Kopanki Hut stand on the northern side of Baba massif, on the slope between two deep valleys. At the foot this slope is wide but with altitude it becomes ever narrower. Soon above Kopanki Hut it turns into the ridge which ascends steeply towards the peak (around 2400m) behind which it continues straight towards Pelister. This is the most direct route to Pelister but in most cases most direct means most difficult but also most attractive. This is the case with this route. Ridge is made of huge granite boulders which are strewn on northern slopes without any order. Whole route, except small part at the beginning, leads over these boulders. Because of that you get rid of Molika Pine forest quite soon, which grows along normal route all the way to 2100m! Here on the ridge beautiful Molika Pines are also present till high altitude but trees are scattered and don’t form a forest. Because of that views are fantastic all the way.
Kopanki Hut – Pelister (2601m) via the Ridge: 5h
From the hut head towards the nearby ski slope. At the edge of the slope, close to the hut, barely visible path branches 90° to the left. Straight path continues over the slope and into the forest; that is normal route.
Through the high grass of the ski slope barely visible path ascends very steeply. Slope is cut through the beautiful Molika Pine forest. After 30mins you are on top of ski slope where terrain flattens for a short while. Ski lift also ends here.
Ridge begins here. Over the mostly grassy slope path continues to ascend. Forest has turned into rarefied trees and view opens in all directions. High above you can notice the small head on the rocky ridge. That your first goal. Doesn’t seam that far but it take’s 2.30h to get up there! On the left below the upper ridge is huge slope which descends all the way into the valley. At the foot is Bitola town. Slope is completely covered with granite boulders and overgrown by Molika almost to the upper edge (forest line is at 2200m here). After 10mins grass is replaced by brown granite boulders and riding begins.
From here there isn’t much to describe. You are climbing the boulders all the time, use of hands is frequent. This is very attractive but after a while it becomes tiring as ascent is relentless and seams that end will never come. Around are Molika Pine trees. View expands all the time. Bitola is deeper and deeper as is Strezevsko Ezero lake on the north. After 1.30h of bouldering you’ll reach small terrace among the boulders from where you get to see the Pelister (2601m) for the first time. Because of open slopes it doesn’t look too far but when you see how small large TV building and tower are it is clear there is still quite some time to go. And you are not on top of the ridge yet! This is nice spot to rest, now above the tree line.
From that terrace relentless bouldering and steep ascent continue. Up and down, left and right, around them you follow the marks. After 50mins and 3h from the Kopanki Hut you are finally on top of the ridge (peak around 2400m). Between you and Pelister quite long ridge stretches, this includes a peak of around 2540m.
In next 20mins you’ll descent to the pass between these two peaks. Altitude loss is not to severe, around 60m. On the pass there is quite a lot of grass so this is nice spot to rest.
From the pass steep climb continues up the boulder strewn side. Top of the nameless middle peak is avoided as path turns right bit below summit. This happens after some 30mins. Path now traverses the western slope little bit below edge of the ridge. This is very beautiful section of large granite boulders with beautiful views and you know the summit is close. After 25mins you are at the foot of last summit ascent. Here is junction; from right normal Kopanki route approaches.
After 15mins you are at the foot of the tower. Go left around the building. Entrance is on the southern side and you came from the north. From the building it is few minutes to the visible pyramid on the summit where is memorial plate for Dimitar Ilievski – Murato, first and till now the only Macedonian who climbed Mount Everest.