Snegovec (1211m), despite not a major top, is a prominent summit located on the border ridge between Slovakia and Slovenia. Most of its slopes consist in dense forests of spruce pines and larches, while the upper part is covered with dwarf pines and harsh vegetation.
Due to the orientation of the mountain range, minor in height but not less steep, a region that makes the transition between the Carpathians and the Dinaric Alps, and sub-consequently two distinct climates, Snegovec (which means Snow) is a place of unpredictable weather.
Hikers should watch out particularly not to get trapped in fog, the featureless terrain can easily disorient someone in bad visibility.
The mountain is mostly made of limestone, but the north east slope is on a zone of transition with schists and granites. Some minerals are rich in magnetite, which results in messing compasses.
Due to this geology, numerous sources of fresh water can be found while hiking along the main red-marked trail. Just make sure there is no shepherd activity upstream which could contaminate the water, grazing sheep are often seen during the high season. There are also a couple of huts where one can buy fresh cheese for few korons.
There is no mountain hut in the surroundings, but Snegovec is a one-day hike, and one can find many accommodations in Bystrica.
From the historical point of view, the region of Snegovec is rich in legends and facts.
Pagan rituals were taking place from the antiquity on the top. During the middle-age, many robbers and outlaws were populating this wild region, attacking noblemen and bourgeois from the Austro-Hungarian empire. During the second world war, large amounts of resistants took sheltered in the numerous karstic caves of the area.
Few stories also relate people having met a huge old man with a long beard formerly named Rübezahl in german during the Austrian times.
Other legends also relate about several people having vanished from in the area and were never found again. The last of testimonial occurred in 1981, when after having lost a map caught by the wind, a group of young students separated in two. One half decided to walk back while the others kept their mind doing it to the top. There were never seen again, thus despite important helicopter researches after-while. This fact stuck the local region with horror and is known under the "missings of Snegovec".
There are several ways to get there depending on where you come from.
The area is poorly served with public transports. There are a couple of buses that reach Bystrica twice a day.
From Slovakia, exit the D1 motorway at Trnava, then take the direction of Nova Ves, then Bystrica. Instead of parking in the streets of Bystrica, it is better to use the large car park at the trailhead.
From Slovenia, Exit the A1 motorway at the level of Celje, take the direction of Gradec, then Bystrica.
Mind of closing the gates behind you. Beware of shepherds dogs that can be a bit aggressive.
Be careful when picking mushrooms. Many species are said to be hallucinogens.
When to Climb
All season. Make sure you checked the weather and dressed accordingly to the unpredictable weather.
Snegovec is located within the limits of the Park Snegovy natural reserve. Normally, wild-camping is forbidden, as well as fires, leaving garbage, taking dogs, and so on.
However, if you put the tent discretely at dusk and remove it at dawn, there is nothing to worry about. Make sure you make it over the tree line, far from inhabited terrains, and leave no rubbish behind you.
Camping on the top of Snegovec is a very rewarding experience, with a very extensive panorama.