|Activities:||Big Wall, Via Ferrata|
|Season:||Summer, Fall, Winter|
|Elevation:||8114 ft / 2473 m|
Until now, Dolgi Hrbet was just briefly mentioned on the page of the nearby Grintovec. As it is a nice, independent mountain, quite different from all its higher neighbours, I'm devoting it now a separate page.
In Slovenian language Dolgi Hrbet means "Long Shoulder". And indeed the mountain is a long, rocky ridge, arching between two saddles/notches, between the mountains of Grintovec and Skuta.
Dolgi Hrbet is first of all a mountain of rock climbers. Its northern wall is 1000 m tall, the tallest in Kamnik & Savinja Alps. As said, the mountain has a shape of high ridge. It has many wild towers and is stretching from Mlinarsko sedlo (saddle), 2334 m, towards the east. On the eastern side the ridge of Dolgi Hrbet is ending on the Škrbina (Notch), 2408 m, which is separating Dolgi Hrbet from the nearby Štruca.
In the North Wall of Dolgi Hrbet there are many demanding climbing routes. But the summit can also be reached by a medium demanding via ferrata, connecting both ends of the summit ridge. Short, quite steep walls are falling also from the ridge towards the south. There they soon end on the sands above Veliki Podi, the high karstic plateau east of Grintovec.
The big wall climbs in Dolgi Hrbet N wall are quite popular and some also challenging. Experienced hikers can cross also the whole summit ridge by the via ferrata.
Summit views are nicely open towards the north and south, on the west we can inspect all the details of that side of Grintovec, on the east, there's the most gentle side of the Skuta beauty and below it the funny Štruca, which is from this side less impressive.
Hikers will only rarely choose Dolgi Hrbet as the primary goal of their tour. They will mostly traverse it on their way to Skuta, or they will do any other combination. For that purpose Cojzova koča (hut) on Kokrsko sedlo is a good starting point, even closer to the mountain is the Bivak Pavla Kemperla, 2102 m, or they can start the tour even deep down in Kamniška Bistrica valley. If coming from the eastern part of the massif, they may start a day stretch either on Kamniško sedlo or in the Bivak pod Skuto.
1. From Češka koča (hut) to Mlinarsko sedlo, T4/T3, 2 h 30 min. From Češka koča the marked path goes at first shortly towards the W, but on the scree fields it soon turns southwards. We are quickly gaining altitude, approaching the broad northern walls of the massif. On 1800 m there's an important branching. To the right goes the route on Kočna, we continue by the left path (plate). The path goes over scree fields towards the S and then SE. Where it enters the N wall, in early summer you may encounter snow field, which usually poses no big problem. In the lower part of the wall, the path goes all the time towards the left, later it turns more directly upwards. It all the time chooses natural passages. Below Mlinarsko sedlo the path turns already into the walls of Dolgi Hrbet, then it exits by a broad ravine on the saddle.
2. From Cojzova koča (hut) to Mlinarsko sedlo, T3, 1 h 50 min. From the hut we go northwards and soon above the hut, on the 1859 m branching, we keep right. The trail is at first a bit weaker, in a not too steep ascent it brings us on the Mala Vratca passage. After the narrow passage, the path starts descending across a steep, on some places quite exposed slope. We lose some 100 m of altitude. Towards the end of the descent, the path is also secured. After that, the path crosses a ravine and then till the bivouac only a gentle ascent over the high plateau is ahead of us.
Just above the bivouac, there's the trails branching. The right trail went across the massif towards the E, but is now closed below Skuta (landslide). We anyway go up by the left trail. It ascends gently across the high plateau and soon we reach another branching (2211 m), where we keep left again. It's only a short, easy ascent on Mlinarsko sedlo. At first it goes still across the high plateau, then by a broad, flat valley, all the time in the N-NW direction.
3. From the Bivak Pavla Kemperla on the E ridge point 2397 m. T3, 1 h 40 min. We reach the bivouac from the Cojzova koča as described above (in 1 h 15 min). Then we continue to the branching 2211 m (20 more minutes), where we turn right, towards the NE. At first we gain only a little of altitude, then we ascend more steeply across the S slopes of Dolgi Hrbet. After less than 15 min the S traverse trail comes from the left, there we continue in the same direction, into the corner between Dolgi Hrbet and Štruca. From that valley-end the path climbs up over a not too steep wall. There, it's secured, not too exposed, but requires on some places a careful step. So we reach the main ridge between Dolgi Hrbet and Štruca, turn left and continue by the tour #4 to the summit.
4. Traversing Dolgi Hrbet, T4 (via ferrata C), 1 h. We start on Mlinarsko sedlo (saddle). Already after a few minutes above the saddle we enter the rocks, by which the path climbs steeply up. Higher it goes some time by the right (S) side of the ridge, then it crosses left up into a distinct high notch. Nice scenery there. From the notch we continue to follow the main ridge towards the E and soon we reach the highest point. 30 min from the saddle.
The E part of Dolgi Hrbet ridge traverse is approximately of the same difficulty as the W one. We traverse some towers, others are detoured. Protection devices are good. So we finally reach Škrbina (Notch), 2408 m, from where we continue towards the E to the crossroads on the ridge, where from the right the Skuta normal ascent route comes up.
5. Gamsov Skret route, T6/T5, 3 h 30 min. It's a very demanding, non-marked, steep ascent, used mostly by climbers who climb the Kogel wall and by very experienced hikers who use it as the fastest ascent from Kamniška Bistrica to the highest regions of the massif.
From V Koncu (Kamniška Bistrica valley-end) we continue by the path towards the N-NW. It goes mostly through the woods, avoiding by the left a steep rock step. Coming out of the woods, the path crosses a steeper slope, bringing us on open, grassy terrain, by which we ascend till below the wall of Kogel. There, a better path, used by climbers goes left, while our path goes more right and then turns left, entering the rocky wall. A short, almost vertical climb up is followed by crossing to the right by a narrow, somewhat secured ledge. So we reach steep, grassy slopes which we climb up. Only higher the slope gets less steep, bringing us to a nice bench. From there, we continue up by a bit less steep slopes - till the marked path (its continuation towards the E is closed). From there either left to the bivouac, or straight (towards the NW) by pathless terrain towards Dolgi Hrbet. Altogether 5 h to the summit.
Dolgi Hrbet is almost exclusively ascended in summer conditions, except classical N wall climbs, done in winter conditions.