This is undoubtedly toughest approach to Rossijevo Skloniste refuge. Starting point is Velike Brisnice (530m) village, placed by the edge of grassy terrace on the seaboard slope of Velebit, half way between the sea and peaks of first step. Sides of the peaks above are very steep and are called Brisnicke Strane (sides of Brisnice)Today very few people live permanently in Velike Brisnice while some 40 years ago it had 70 houses and over 300 permanent inhabitants. But those were different times when people live and fed of the mountain. After WW II they left Velebit in search for jobs and easier life.
26km south of Senj there is junction on Adriatic Road towards hamlet. Sign points left towards ‘Velike Brisnice’. From junction narrow macadam road ascends 4.3km to the village. If starting from Adriatic Road add 1 more hour to the route. Marks follow the road till the village all the way, only cutting lower serpentine.
Ascent can be divided into 3 main section. First leads over the steep seaboard side of the peaks of first step. Behind them is seaboard terrace of North Velebit and Plancice meadow where is junction with seaboard route from Zavizan to Alan. First and toughest part of ascent ends here. Behind path ascends through beautiful mixed forest of beech and spruce till the forested pass between the peaks in seaboard streak. Third section through Smrceve Doline forested valleys begins here. It ends with last ascent to Rozanski Kukovi. All in all this is long and tough approach even from Brisnice. From the coast it would be additional 2h. But on the other hand it is very beautiful route, one of the most beautiful of those which lead from the sea to the highest peaks of Velebit.
Velike Brisnice – Rossijevo Skloniste: 4.30-5h
When road descends on the meadows of Brisnice find a parking place somewhere along it. Continue to follow the road along the meadows. It goes towards left. After some 5mins mark on the tree shows that you have to turn left but suddenly disappears. Just continue straight uphill via a ‘street’. On the right are two houses. Right above the upper one from left comes the path, here are the marks, 10mins from meadows.
Behind the houses accent up the Brisnicke Strane, a very steep rocky slope overgrown by Mediterranean vegetation, begins. In countless serpentines path gains altitude relentlessly as you sweat and look at the houses in Brisnice, which are getting smaller with each step. Also beautiful view towards the sea and islands behind the terrace expands rapidly. After some 40mins Brisnice are no longer visible as trees become bigger and there are more and more pines which provide desirable shade during sunny days.
Occasionally there are sea views through the trees and some open stretches. After another 30-40mins through the beautiful black pine forest you’ll reach flat ground. It isn’t over yet but it’s close. Through the pines have one more look towards the sea as from this point it isn’t visible any more till the refuge. Path turns left here, going horizontally for a short while, before turning right and uphill again. It is another 15mins till the Plancice (1150) meadow, 2h from Velike Brisnice. Here is a junction with route along the seaboard terrace of North Velebit. Left it leads towards Zavizan & Oltare while right it leads to Alan pass.
On Plancice you can observe climate change as black pine is suddenly replaced by beech forest. Above the beech forest white Klanac (1476m) peak sticks. Our direction is right of it. In the forest behind the meadow ascent continues immediately. Path leads steeply some 10mins to the next ‘floor’ in the forest. In next 10mins it ascends gradually through beautiful beech forest. Then it turns right ascending quite steeply in serpentines through mixed beech and spruce forest which covers rocky terrain. In 15mins you’ll reach beautiful meadow surrounded with idyllic mixed forest. Behind the meadow, in another 20mins, path surmounts last ascent through the forest till the Raskrizje (1420m) pass, which is placed between rocky seaboard peaks of Klanac (1512) and unnamed nameless peak (1497m), 1h from Plancice, 3h from Brisnice.
Behind the pass path enters huge Smrceve Doline, area of torn karst, overgrown with beech and spruce forests. This is one of the wildest and loneliest areas on whole Velebit. Only one path goes through this vast area, this one. Behind the pass path descends some 20mins and looses around 70m of altitude. In next hour path ascends through the forest, in the end steeply gaining altitude from Jerkovic Dolac meadow till Rossijevo Skloniste, 1.30h from Raskrizje, 4.30 from Brisnice.