View from the train from Poprad to the cloud covered High Tatras. No hiking today.
I don't remember when I heard about the Tatras for the first time, but it was a long, long time ago. For many areas, summer is the prime season for hiking and climbing, and the Tatras are no exception. But with so many other places that are so inviting at that time of year, I had never gotten around to visiting them. This year I finally decided it was time. And I wasn't disappointed!
Alpine accentor (Prunella collaris) on Rysy
The start wasn't auspicious. The weather wasn't good, so I had a couple of rest days. But then things got better. At first, there were still some clouds, and the first two days I wasn't sure I would have a view from the summit - but I'm optimistic, and go out anyway on days like that, hoping for the best. And both on Kriváň and Rysy that worked out nicely.
One of the mountains I wanted to ascend was Gerlachovský štit. I browsed the internet for information about the routes and any other useful information. I learned that there are no trails to the summit, it's scrambling and climbing. Also I learned that hiking off the marked trails as well as climbing is heavily regulated in the Tatras. So, I needed to get good route information and make sure that I was allowed to climb Gerlachovský štit.
On the internet I found one (old) route description
that looked good enough to give it a try. And in Stary Smokovec, in the office of the Mountain Rescue service, I got the green light to climb it, because I could show my alpine club membership card. The weather forecast for the next day was excellent - warm and sunny, and, most importantly, no chance of rain or thunderstorms - so I decided that I would wait no more. It turned into a much longer day than I had expected, but, fortunately, I had started early, and that meant I had just enough daylight to get back to civilization.
After a rest day, I felt invigorated again, and over the next few days I visited Slavkovský štit, Baníkov, Hrubá kopa, Tri kopy and Baranec. Shortly after I had safely descended the latter, the heavens opened, marking the end of an extended period of good weather as well as my farewell to the Tatras.
180° summit panorama from Gerlachovský štit