Cwms by High Wheel & Great Helmet (Karkonosze)

Cwms by High Wheel & Great Helmet (Karkonosze)

Page Type Page Type: Album
Additional Information Image Type(s): Hiking

Maze of Names

"kocioł" - the commonest Polish word for a glacial cirque, which literally translates as cauldron

Śnieżne Kotły (Snowy Cauldrons) - two fine post-glacial cirques just west of the summit of High Wheel

Wielki Kocioł Śnieżny (Great Snowy Cauldron) - the most beautiful cirque in the Karkonosze/Giant Mountains (although the prettiest and biggest tarn sits in the cirque of Wielki Staw, about 10km to the east). Its walls, up to 150m tall, boast several fabulous rock climbing routes. Here's a set of photos taken by those who have climbed the walls of the cwm in the past two decades. (The finest crags are often referred to as "wardrobes" since they're anything but stable.) However, rock climbing has recently been banned by the national park authority. Hopefully, the ban will be lifted for a couple of winter months.

Mały Kocioł Śnieżny (Little Snowy Cauldron) - less craggy cwm adjacent to Wielki Kocioł Śnieżny, which separates it from High Wheel

Craggiest Cirque between Alps and North Sea
Wielki Kocioł Śnieżny, late spring

High Wheel, 1509m - in Poland known as Wielki Szyszak: The fourth highest summit in the Karkonosze, the highest granite summit in the Karkonosze and the highest summit of the western chunk of the mountains, covered with a lovely blockfield. The original name of the summit is Vysoké Kolo (Czech)/Hohes Rad (German), which translates as High Wheel.

Śmielec (Polish name), 1424m - the summit whose original German/Czech name (Große Sturmhaube/Velky Šišak=Great Helmet), after being translated as Wielki Szyszak, was mistakenly given to its higher neighbour.

High Wheel from NE
Great Helmet or High Wheel?

Czarny Kocioł Jagniątkowski (Black Cauldron of Jagniątków), just NE of the summit of Śmielec. A picturesque, tranquil place, less frequented than Śnieżne Kotły. You are likely not to see any people there if you come by eight or even nine o'clock in the morning.

Meadow in Black Cwm
Czarny Kocioł Jagniątkowski, July

Jagniątków - village, now included into the city of Jelenia Góra. The German name of the village was Agnetendorf, whose Polish version "Agnieszków" was in use for a little while just after the Second World War. The bus stop (city line 15) named Dom Hauptmanna, i.e. Hauptmann's House (Gerhart Hauptmann, the German writer, lived and died in this house) or the car park at the house is a convenient starting point for a day hike around the cwms, High Wheel and Great Helmet.


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