Vâlcelul cu Fereastră (Window Couloir) is one of the two distinct couloirs that cut through the north face of Bucura II peak. It has the same name like the route in Piatra Craiului Mountains, except its window is closed and is more demanding. I wouldn’t call this a nice route to climb in the summer season for two reasons: the rock is rotten along the whole route and the gully is stuffed with stones that can’t wait to go down. The leader must take great care not to release the rocks in the head of the second. Probably it’s a much better climb in winter.
Window Couloir is the right (west) couloir as you look at the wall of Bucura II from Pietrele Lake. It is graded 2A Romanian grade and the main difficulties consist of three steep obstacles, of about 20 m each. The route can be climbed with technical difficulties no greater than UIAA IV in 4-5 pitches.
1) From Bucura Lake campsite take the touristic trail to Genţiana hut. After reaching Curmătura Bucurei saddle start to descent, keeping the trail until the steeper descent is over. At this point leave the trail and start to traverse west on big chunks of rock towards the base of north wall. Window Couloir is located in the right part of the face.
Approach time: more than 1 h.
2) From Genţiana hut take the trail to Pietrele Lake. Then choose the optimum way towards the couloir that is visible.
Approach time: 2 h.
Route DescriptionWindow Couloir can be climbed with 60 m rope(s) in 4 pitches.
First ascent - 1.10.1959.
From the base of the couloir start to walk through big rocks until the first big obstacle blocks the way up. Choose a safe spot for the belayer. The leader should take care at loose rock when climbing and avoid as much as possible to throw rocks down.
Pitch 1. Climb a chimney that goes diagonally right then traverse left and rejoin the couloir. Continue directly up and overpass some smaller obstacles until the next big one. Regroup at its base.
Pitch 2. The second rock step has a steep chimney directly on the middle of the couloir that closes towards its end. Start to climb on the right (west) face on grassy slopes with loose rock then traverse left towards the upper end of the mentioned chimney. From a small platform near the chimney, on it’s right side, climb directly on the other side (left) and continue until the terrain becomes horizontal.
Regroup at the base of the 3rd big rock step.
Pitch 3. Start to climb on the left (east) side then rejoin the couloir. At this point an overhanging obstacle similar to a small cave blocks the way up. I assume here it was the window that old descriptions of the route mention. A hole in the cave’s ceiling that allowed a direct way up. Currently it has a lid of stones above making it impossible to pass. So climb on the left face and then regroup.
Pitch 4. The difficulties are ending from this point. Climb the main line of the couloir until reaching the top, not far from Bucura II peak.
Descent. Follow the nearby touristic trail to Curmătura Bucurei saddle.
Essential GearThe route has no protection in place. Except for one very rusty piton close to the end of 1st pitch.
Take the following:
- long slings
- some small to medium size nuts
- a few pieces of small to medium cams
- 2 pegs and a hammer just in case
- 60 m rope(s) allow completing the route in 4 pitches
External LinksSee section from Bucura page.