Overview'Droga po głazach'
, which can be translated as the Route over slabs
, is one of the easiest routes leading to the summit of Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Wielki/Veľký Mengusovský štit
. The route is unmarked and navigation can become surprisingly difficult, even if the weather is favourable. The best time to go is from July to October, depending on the weather, which should be perfect considering route finding issues, unless you hire a guide.
From Morskie Oko take the red stripe trail (the eastern variant is a bit shorter) to Czarny Staw (Black Tarn
), from where the green marks will lead you to Mięguszowiecka Przełęcz pod Chłopkiem (literally Pass under the Little Bloke
) or Mengusovské sedlo (the Slovak name): Please see this page
. From the pass, in theory you can only continue with a licensed Tatra guide (see the Red Tape chapter on the parent page).
The beginning of the route - photo by Gorzi
At Mięguszowiecka/Mengusovské Pass turn west and either
a) follow the path which runs along the ridge to the place where the ridge steepens. Climb the first step, sticking to the edge of the ridge, thus bypassing a steep, small cliff and getting to the other side of the rib on the south side of the mountain,
or a shorter variant:
b) follow the path that contours towards the above-mentioned rib, then traverse it (Polish grade I). The crumbly traverse is named after Tadeusz Westwalewicz, a mountain rescue volunteer, who fell to his death there during a rescue operation in August 1954.
Westwalewicz's traverse - photo by Gorzi
Go down, over grass and rock, heading diagonally right, following more or less clear tracks to a large, oblique chute filled with tons of scree. Cross the chute (there should be cairns), go a little up and you will find yourself on a broad grassy ramp, rising towards the summit of Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Pośredni/Prostredný Mengusovský štít. Traverse the ramp almost horizontally until you get to a projection with a cairn.
Made by dynercia
Leave the edge of the ramp and descend the slanting wall towards the lower end of the next big ramp (Wielka Mięguszowiecka Ławka/Veľká Mengusovská lávka), which lies over 100m down there, right below Mięguszowiecka Przełęcz Wyżnia/Vyšné Mengusovské sedlo - the col between Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Wielki/Veľký Mengusovský štít and Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Pośredni/Prostredný Mengusovský štít. The easiest passage here - described rather generally in a few Polish guidebooks - may be hard to find. The stretch of the route between the two ramps is really tricky, and you can easily find yourself in more difficult terrain than expected (say UIAA grade II-III). If visibility drops, this apparently innocuous stretch of the route may become a nightmare. Cairns can be difficult to spot and some of them may be misleading.
Gorzi's route ('droga po głazach' and 'via normale')
If you are going in the opposite direction, and you are near the lower end of Wielka Mięguszowiecka Ławka/Veľká Mengusovská lávka (the 'second ramp' in the third illustration) at the spot where 'Droga po głazach' parts with via normale (please see here
), follow the horizontal path for several metres, then you are supposed to start climbing upwards when you have turned the rib that borders on the chute dropping from Mięguszowiecka Przełęcz Wyżnia/Vyšné Mengusovské sedlo. I (yatsek) kept to the left-hand edge of the wall (a kind of broad chute made up of slabs), which was lighter in colour than its surroundings. After a few dozen metres there was an easy turning to the right and soon - high above me - I saw the edge of the 'first' ramp, which is called Pośrednia Mięguszowiecka Ławka/Prostredná Mengusovská lávka. From there I continued my ascent, again sticking to the left-hand side of the steep slope (up a kind of dihedral) to finally traverse right, nearly contouring to the edge of the ramp. However, having read the imprecise descriptions of this stretch of the route by the most renowned guidebook authors, I doubt that my variant here (close to what is marked by Gorzi on his photo above) is the recommended one, which can probably be seen in this video
(done in the opposite direction).
The 'second ramp' seen from the 'balcony'
Now let us return to the point where 'Droga po głazach' joins via normale. From that place the route is obvious and easy: Up along the 'second' ramp for about 20 minutes until you get to where it ends at the 'balcony' - a little terrace named Mięguszowiecki Balkon.
Above the 'balcony', heading towards the crest
The funny ledge
The 'wrong' chimney
Above the 'balcony' terrain becomes more difficult. Carry on up towards the crest for about a hundred metres via a shallow depression. In fact, so as not to kick stones on anybody below, it is better to stick to an inconspicuous rib inside the depression until it ends transforming into a couloir. Go up the couloir, which soon forks. Take the left-hand branch. (If you happen to take the right-hand couloir, you will face a little chimney, which is - as Gorzi
says - relatively hard: Please click on the photo on the right.) When you are five metres below the crest, to your right, you will see a rather broad, smooth, looking slippery, ledge with a granite block barring the way under the overhanging wall. The classic variant of our route leads along that ledge and requires crawling or at least kneeling. After following the ledge for about ten metres, you resume climbing up. The holds - according to guidebooks and various TRs (neither of the authors of the page has done this variant) - are good.
The crest just a few metres away
There are some other variants of climbing the final section of a scramble to the summit, of which both dynercia and I preferred the ridge walk. From the funny ledge it is only five metres to the crest of the western ridge of the mountain.
What you see on the other side of the crest
The crest is indeed exposed - the first sight on reaching it is that of Morskie Oko (the grandest Polish tarn) one kilometre down below.
Looking back at the crest
At first the airy crest, made up of large blocks of solid granite is pretty narrow, but it soon widens.
Looking back (west) from the summit
Its last section before the broad summit is a bit too difficult, but it is easily bypassed on the left. For more views from the summit please see the parent page.
Remarks on Ratings and Route Statistics
Although the rock difficulty scale traditionally used in Polish guidebooks to the Tatras is said to be almost identical to the UIAA scale used in Slovakia, in practice it does differ from the latter in that it - or at least its bottom, which I have investigated - seems to be tougher, which means that a Polish grade 0+ ('easy') can actually be an equivalent of a UIAA grade I, a Polish grade I ('a bit difficult') will often be like a UIAA grade II and so on. Differences between the ratings of a particular route can be from half to one and a half grade points.
Last but not least, the UIAA ratings that most Westerners are used to do not seem to be any tougher than the Slovak ones, which sometimes agree with the Polish version. So, I have come to think that if you want to get a fairly 'safe' UIAA grade for a scrambling route in the Tatras, the following formula will work, most of the time: UIAA grade = Polish grade + 1
Time up: 5hrs from Morskie Oko Hut
Net elevation gain: 1043m
Total elevation gain: approx. 1200m
Rock difficulty: Polish grade I / Slovak sources: UIAA I-II / my guess: YDS 4-5.0
Under summer conditions: normal hiking gear, a helmet is a good idea; a rope and a few loops may also be useful, especially while doing the crest climb
Under winter conditions (according to dynercia; in my opinion the route does not make sense under winter conditions): crampons, ice axe, rope, a few loops and ice screws
Red Tape & Mountain Conditions
Please see the parent page
External LinksPhoto TR
by R. Szadkowski, Tatra guide. The party chose 'Droga po głazach' for the descent. The variant they opted for just below the peak is different from what is described here in chapter 3.