Rating the Route (By Hiking Standards)
The grading system for hiking and scrambling routes is here.
This hiking approach is one of many possibilities to ascend the South Bohinj Ridge from the southern side, in this case through the valley of Knež. The route can be used either for the ascent on Vogel, 1922m, or Šija, 1880m.
0. General: From cca 800m to 1922m, exposition S and E (also a crossing of the N slope). Till above Planina v prodih easy, not marked path, crossing of Š slopes by a tiny, not marked hunters path. From the Vratca saddle on top a good, marked path. Gear: Good shoes and hiking poles. In snow conditions make sure you have crampons and ice pick.
1. Effort: cca 1200m, 3h 30min.
2. Power: 2 - Easy.
3. Psyche: 2 - Easy.
4. Orientation: 2 - Easy.
Getting ThereThrough the long valley of Kneža a decent mountain road goes. Its main purpose is to reach the remote hamlet of Kneške Ravne, 736m, where people still live. Above the end of the valley the road branches. The left, narrow asphalt branch goes across the creek to the hamlet, while straight on the macadam road ascends to forresters hut, on 850m. But some 15 minutes below the hut there's a ramp on the road, and it is usually locked. There we need to leave our car.
By the road we continue till the forresters hut and from it in the northern direction by a good, but not marked path till hunters hut, 1070m. The place is called Planina (alpine pasture) v prodih, but is quite overgrown today. From before the hut we can enjoy a beautiful view on the rugged summit of Vogel and its neighbours.
From the hut we continue along the dry creek bed in the NE direction. The beginning of the path is poor, later it gets a bit stronger, but after we ascend the first valley step (some 150m of altitude) the path gets pretty lost. In addition we seem to be moving away from our goal. Above, still in the forrest the path turns left again and we approach the dry creek bed again. Now the path gets more clear, crossed the rocky bed and starts ascending more steeply over the slopes of Šija. The direction is N and we go in switchbacks up. The path is steep and soon it starts crossing towards the left and up. So we reach the upper forrest limit and the path starts to cross several ravines. Now we ascend towards the NW, we must all the time be careful not to lose the path. Above, where we already feel the nearby rocks of Šija, we cross the slopes almost horizontally. This part can be tricky in winter conditions, because the slopes are steep enough and below they finish with rocky abysses. The long crossing finally results in approaching the saddle, which is not the lowest part of the main crest in this area. The notch 1668m west ov Vratca (1725m) is lower, but we shall reach it by the northern side.
On Vratca the magnificent view towards the north opens. Triglav massif is all ahead of us, beyond the deep Bohinj valley. From Vratca we can continue towards the east on Šija (20 minutes) or towards the west on Vogel (30 minutes). The latter can not be comfortably reached over the east ridge. This one is too sharp and requires even some easy climbing. The marker path crosses the northern slopes and reaches the panoramic summit from the NW.