OverviewSnezka (Sniezka, Schneekoppe, Snowhill) is the highest mountain in the Czech Republic and in the Krkonose mountains (Giant Mountains). It is located at the Czech-Polish border in the Krkonose National Park and rises up to 1602 meters. Krkonose belong to a larger geological system, which reaches to the United Kingdom, where it forms the Snowdonia with its highest summit Snowdon. 250 thousand years ago, during the glacial period, the glacier formed Snezka to a unique shape, unusual for central Europe, which makes Snezka so interesting for geologists, naturalists and tourists. Since 1992, Krkonose are in the UNESCO list of biosphere reserves.
The trilateral round pyramid of the Snezka massif falls 600 meters (2000 ft) to Obri Dul (Giant Valley) on Czech south side and to Lomnicky Valley at the north Polish side. The slopes are bare and rocky, formed of gneiss. The trees are only at the foot of the mountain and the vegetation gradually disappears during the ascent, remaining just moss. The mountain houses a number of singular species of plants and animals, so be careful. The upper stages are covered by a stone debris field, unsuitable for walk, but there is a pathway built, leading up to the summit. This pathway is usually crowded, because the highest peak in the Czech Republic is an easy climb, a favourite target of many family and school trips. Statistics say, there is a 3/4 million tourists per year. The ascent is 850 m (2800 ft).
The eastern slopes connect to Obri Hreben (Giant Ridge), which continues to the east as a natural Czech-Polish border, western slopes descent to a plateau at 1400 meters. The plateau goes in a large turn to the south to Studnicni hora (Studnicni mountain, 1554 meters - 5100 feet), enclosing a big hole in the terrain. This forms the ideal conditions for avalanches, which are really dangerous in the area. Victims are numerous - one of the most disastrous avalanches fell in 1866, when 8 people died and 2 huts were destroyed.
There are some buildings on the summit: the oldest is the chapel of St.Lawrence, built in 1681. The Polish hut comes from the year 1976. There is also a small Czech post office and the ruin of the Czech hut, now closed.
The first ascent is said to be done by a merchant from Venice in 1456, who searched the jewels in the mountains. Now 4 main routes lead up to the summit. From the south from Pec pod Snezkou through Obri Dul leads blue tourist line to Sliezsky hut, where you can see clearly the final stage to the summit. From north goes red tourist line to the same hut. East and west (from the town Spindleruv Mlyn) paths go on the ridge forming the Czech-Polish border. Another possibility is to take a ride by a cablecar from Pec pod Snezkou. As the climb is easy and the distance is not extreme, most people return back within several hours.
Snezka dominates the landscape and offers a great panoramatic view of Poland and the Czech Republic. It is also an admirable mountain itself and when you find a good place, you can take wonderful pictures.
Getting ThereFrom the Czech Republic:
Travel to Hradec Kralove, then Trutnov and finally to Pec pod Snezkou. The bus connection is good, as Krkonose is an important tourist centre. Parking is possible in Pec pod Snezkou (750 m - 2460 ft), where the tourist routes begin. The trip is 850 m (2800 ft) of ascent.
From Wroclaw go to Jelenia Gora, then to the mountain town Karpacz. There you can start your trip.
Red TapeThere are no permits and no fee for the ascent, but Snezka lies in the 1st Protective Zone of the National Park, so there is no permission to leave the tourist path and the visitors must keep the nature clean and quiet. The popular route through Obri Dul is closed in winter because of the avalanches and sometimes in summer, when the weather is bad. Paid parking is possible in Pec pod Snezkou.
When To ClimbBest climbs are in summer. Winter climbs at your own risk, because there is a serious danger of avalanche mainly in Obri Dul.
CampingThe mountain is in the 1st Protective Zone of the National Park, so no camping is allowed in the area, but the ascent can be accomplished within several hours.
There is the Polish hut on the summit, offering bedrooms. Or you can choose Lucni bouda (Lucni hut, or "Meadow" hut) - the highest Czech hut located west of the summit with a nice view of the peak. There is a lot of hotels down in the town Pec pod Snezkou or Karpacz.
Mountain ConditionsWebsites of the town Pec pod Snezkou (Czech Republic):
Website of the town Karpacz (Poland):
The cablecar from Pec pod Snezkou:
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