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Vrtaca / Wertatscha

Vrtaca / Wertatscha

Vrtaca / Wertatscha

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Karavanke / Karawanken, Austria/Slovenia, Europe

Lat/Lon: 46.44010°N / 14.21260°E

Object Title: Vrtaca / Wertatscha

Activities: Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Scrambling, Skiing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 7155 ft / 2181 m


Page By: Vid Pogachnik

Created/Edited: May 8, 2004 / Mar 1, 2006

Object ID: 152594

Hits: 7910 

Page Score: 80.49%  - 12 Votes 

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What's New On This Page?

December 26th, 2004: Created links to the neighbouring summits pages and Vrtaca routes.
May 8th, 2004: The initial setup of the page.


vajaAlthough mountains in Karavanke/Karawanken are not very high, Vrtaca/Wertatscha has all features of a big summit (it is the second highest in Karavanke). Its north face is some 600 meters high and offers also hard rock climbs, there are many approaches on its summit, which require scramble or easy rock climbing, there's a marked path and in winter and spring classical ski tours and also harder alpinistic ski descents can be done. As all Karavanke/Karawanken summits also Vrtaca/Wertatscha offers a great panorama.

The summit is located in the central part of Karavanke/Karawanken, where this range has most alpine characteristics. From its summit a long main ridge is running towards west, connecting it with the subgroup of Stol/Hochstuhl, 2236m. Towards east the main ridge turns from the summit first towards north-east, goes over the neighbouring summit of Zelenjak, 2024m, after the summit of Palec/Selenitza, 2026m it turns south-east and then continues over many lower summits (Na Mozeh, 1784m) towards east. One more ridge descends from the summit of Vrtaca/Wertatscha. A short east-southeast ridge forms with the previous one a beautiful high valley, called Suho rusevje. South slopes of Vrtaca/Wertatscha are grassy, intermitted with rocky sections. North-east slopes, falling into Suho rusevje valley are rocky, but offer passages through two not so hard climbable ravines.

Getting There

Vrtaca/Wertatscha is very popular in recent years. The reason is very free border regime after independence of Slovenia, with May 1st, 2004, when Slovenia entered European Union the border becoming virtually non-issue. The other reason is the road over Ljubelj/Loibl pass, where on the south portal of the tunnel on 1058m the trailhead starts. And more, through most of the year a cable-car can bring you up to Zelenica meadows, where on 1536m the mountain hut stands. Starting there, the ascent on Vrtaca/Wertatscha is only a less than two hours endeavour.

The second nice possibility is from north. From Ljubelj/Loibl road near the church of Sopotnica/Sapotnitza a road deters westwards and brings you in Zabnica/Bodental, 1052m. This is the trailhead for north wall ascents, ascents through Zleb (east of north wall) and on Vrtaca saddle (west of north wall) and further to the summit.

The third trailhead is in Zavrsnica valley, where the road brings you below the south slopes of Vrtaca/Wertatscha till approximately 1000m.

Vrtaca/Wertatscha can also be accessed from west, from the Stol/Hochstuhl region, where two nice mountain huts stand.


You can see a detailed map on:


That's in German, but as of classical maps, you can refer to:

Karavanke, 1:20000. Planinska zveza Slovenije, or
Karavanke, Central part and Grintovci, 1:50000. Planinska zveza Slovenije.

Routes Overview

The map of Vrtaca/Wertatscha - see routes below!

Summer routes

1. Zelenica meadows, 1536m - Sija saddle (lower marked path), 1693m, or the upper marked path - summit. Marked, partly steep path.
2. Zavrsnica, cca 1000m - Zagon (passage) - Sija saddle, 1693m - summit. Partly marked, partly steep path.
3. Presernova koca on Stol/Hochstuhl (hut), 2172m - V Koznah (high valley) - summit. Marked, partly steep path.
4. Podnar (in Bodental), 1052m - Vrtaca saddle, cca 1850m - summit. Not marked, scree, partly steep path. On the upper part path goes below the W ridge, the ridge itself is not a pleasant climb of degree II.
5. Zelenica meadows, 1536m - Suho rusevje (high valley) - E-SE ridge - summit. Scramble, easy climb (I. degree).
6. Zelenica meadows, 1536m - Suho rusevje (high valley) - NE ravine - summit. Scramble, easy climb (I. degree).

Ski tours and alpinistic ski descents:

1. South slope over Sija saddle or towards W into V Koznah valley. Steep, do it only in good conditions. We don't ski from the summit.
2. South ravine. Very steep, danger of avalanches, do it only in good conditions. If there's still snow, it's nice to descend here also in summer.
3. NE ravine into Suho rusevje. Alpinistic descent, frequently done in last years. From Suho rusevje you ski down to Zelenica meadows or ascend to the top of a steep couloir between Zelenjak, 2024m and Palec/Selenitza, 2026m and further ski down through the couloir in Bodental.
4. E-SE ridge. Alpinistic descent, hard, exposed.

Classical climbs - summer:

1. NE ridge (from the neighbouring summit of Zelenjak, 2024m). From the notch it's degree II if you find best passages.
2. Palec/Selenitza - N ridge, IV-, 4h. R. Szalay & A. Ferch, 1924.
3. Zelenjak - N ridge, IV-V, 7-8h. V. Pretterebner & J. Ressmann, 1936.
4. Direct route (Gipfelfallinie), IV-V, 5-6h. V. Pretterebner & W. Pretterebner, 1935.
5. NW buttress (Nordwestpfeiler), V, 600m, 8h. V. Pretterebner & W. Pretterebner, 1934.
6. Nova smer (New route, Neuer Weg), III+, 4h. W. Wruhs, E. Kahlhofer & R. Begusch, 1934.

basic winter climbs:

1. Leva grapa (Left Ravine) in NE face. 50 degrees.
2. NE Ravine in NE face. 45 degrees.

Red Tape

No limitations.

When To Climb

In summer best months are from start of July till end of October.

For tour skiing the best months are from December till April. First snow usually falls in November, in certain areas skiing is possible till start of May.


Huts in Stol region:
Valvasorjev dom, 1171m, Tel.: 051/ 328-648,
Presernova koca, 2172m, Tel.: 050/ 611 366,
Klagenfurter Huette, 1663m, Tel.: 04253 / 8556, Mobi: 0664 / 220 2929.

The hut on Zelenica meadows:
Planinski dom na Zelenici, 1536m, Tel.: 04/ 59-71 536.

Mountain Conditions

For weather see here.

External Links

  • Austrian Map online
    Online digital maps of Austria (OEK 50, OEK 200 and OEK 500) by the BEV (Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen) - in German