Crossing the summit of Bovški Gamsovec is one of the most beautiful hiking tours in Julian Alps. You do this majestic tour just in front of the face of King Triglav. Great panoramic scenery is even enriched by the wild, rocky nearby scenery, nice, blossoming meadows and herds of wild goats which have no fear of people. It can be done as a one day tour, but many hikers do it also as part of a big trekking across the Julian Alps, coming from Vršič Pass, to Pogačnikov dom on Kriški poti and continuing into the Triglav group.
Here only the ascent route from the north on top is described. What really matters is the whole crossing of Bovški Gamsovec. So, see also the sister page of the south ascent!
Difficulty: It's a hiking tour, with a few places protected by steel cables and pegs. On the Swiss Hiking Scale its difficulty would be graded T4/T3. The majority of the hike is T3, but there are a few short passages exceeding this difficulty grade. Exposed ledges in the upper part require concentration. Those few short ferrata sections are easy (B) and also some short climbing sections on the summit ridge, which are not protected, even don't reach the UIAA level I.
Orientation: The route is well marked by the usual Slovenian mountain marks. On crossroads there are good inscription plates. Map to recommend: Triglav. Planinska zveza Slovenije, 1:25000. See also the GPX track in the header (with the trailhead in Vrata valley)!
Exposition: Some places are very exposed and so not appropriate for people suffering from vertigo.
Objective dangers: In the upper part there are virtually none. If stormy, beware of lightning on the ridges!
Best season: Summer months, normally from July till October (or first snow). Do this ascent in a clear day with a good visibility! The panorama part of experience is really important.
Gear: Good shoes and poles are sufficient. A helmet is always good to have. A ferrata set is recommended for less experienced.
Tour start: The most common option is the end of the road in Vrata valley, 1000 m. Big, payable parking place there (3.5 EUR in 2015). You can do the tour also from Zadnjica valley. That means more altitude difference, as you start the tour on 650 m only. If you start this tour as a section of a trek across Julian Alps, you will perhaps sleep in Pogačnikov dom. That hut can be rached from various sides, the most popular trek comes from Vršič pass, far on the west.
Highest point: 2392 m.
Altitude to overcome: If doing a one day trip, then cca 1400 m (from Vrata) or 1750 m (from Zadnjica).
Time for ascent: 4 h 15 min from Vrata valley, 5 h 15 min from Zadnjica valley.
The North ascent on Bovški Gamsovec starts on Dovška vratica pass, 2180 m. There, marked paths from various directions join. So, let's have a quick look how to get there.
From the big parking place you continue up the valley by the road. In 5 min you reach Aljažev dom (hut), from there continue in the same direction. In another few minutes you reach the monument to fallen partisans-mountaineers. Keep right there, by the path up the valley (the path left goes on Triglav). You go by a broad path through the woods. After some 5 more minutes you reach another crossroads where you continue right (the path straight goes on Luknja). In the SW direction you ascend through nice beech woods. In a conglomerate cave there is in early summer the last water. Then you ascend a bit more and come out of the woods, just on the bottom of Sovatna valley, which opens on your right side. Now the ascent by a steep valley begins. In many turns you ascend till the rocky barrier, which closes the valley in the middle. The pasage over it goes a bit to the left and is protected by a few pegs. Above it, soon the second protected section follows. To avoid an unpleasant ravine on the right, the path climbs up by the left, in a few switchbacks directly over the rocks. There, cables are installed. Above, we have only two more easy valley steps to overcome. Dovška vratica pass is much on the left, already on the ridge of Bavski Gamsovec. 3 h 30 min from the parking place, overall difficulty T3.
This nice mountain hut, 2050 m, can be reached from Zadnjica (4 h), from Krnica (5 h), from Vršič pass (7 h) and from Vrata (4 h). Towards Dovska vratica and Gamsovec, we go from the hut in the direction of Vrata valley. The path crosses a high plateau north of the lower lake, all the time towards the east. It winds through dwarf pines and rock formations, finally it uses a few comfortable ledges to gain the needed altitude. 30 min from the hut, overall difficulty T2.
On the pass inscription plates direct us towards the south, up by the distinct, broad northern ridge of Gamsovec. It is rocky, with nice, broad grassy ledges, where you may meet wild goats. Here the path is just easy, and you also gain altitude nicely. Before the ridge gets steeper, the path however avoids it on the ledges in its NW face. They soon become very axposed, bringing us above the abysses. Where the ledges are really narrow, cables help us, other ledges are not protected. Time to time the path climbs up in a few turns and then on the new altitude crosses right again. Just below the main ridge we reach a narrow passage between the main wall and a big boulder. We climb the picturesque passage again with help of a series of pegs. Soon above this place we are already on the summit ridge. The path on Luknja pass continues left, but we deter up and climb by the summit ridge on top. 45 min from Dovska vratica, difficulty T4/T3.