How Once We Were Skiing

How Once We Were Skiing

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 46.26650°N / 13.66270°E
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Mar 15, 1972
Activities Activities: Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring
Around midnight Nejc Zaplotnik (*) joins us on Komna. He's so satisfied as for this ski tour he got at home a whole sausage... A foggy morning drives us up towards Vratca saddle, while on the other side, skiing towards Krn lake is already quite joyful. Blind windows of barracks from the World War I are dreadfully staring at us, as we pass by. Krn lake is still frozen and in a skating style we cross it. We almost reached the western shore when Jasmina, who was skiing the last, broke through the ice. When we looked back upon her scream, she was already sinking into a cold water. I was just staring, couldn't believe it, until Nejc calmly asked: »C'mon, will you pull her out?« So I returned and helped her on the shore. Now there we are, sitting by the rock on the shore of a mountain lake, and Jasmina is rambling around on snow, half naked. At last she puts all her wet clothes again and we set forward to the summit of Krn. It's known that people get warm when walking!

Nejc is carrying Jasmina's skis and we can walk fast. Below Skrbina notch he leads us towards right, directly up over a steep slope, so he can explain us how to behave in case of an avalanche. There's quite a lot of snow, we are trudging deeply and we can easily imagine how we would stay on the surface with swimming movements if an avalanche triggers. To go around, where it's less steep, no, that was not an option. When we finally reached the ridge, there was in spite of fog only one direction to proceed. We went towards right and proclaimed as the summit a bump where all slopes started to go down in all directions.

Skiing down towards Skrbina notch was scaring a bit. We were more or less lousy skiers, but at the end it turned out so, that only Jani, who was a skiing instructor at that time, fell and started to slide down towards rocks. Still everything finished fine, we reached the beautiful half-circle notch and rushed down towards Krn lake. There the snow was better, a crust was even carrying you if you hadn't pressed too strong.

From the lake to Vratca saddle we were walking (actually stepping-up) on skis. Nobody had any tour skiing equipment. But what is it a 500m ascent by a soft, spring snow for a young person? On the other side the so expected downhill to Komna finished quickly – already some 150m below the saddle. Continuation was only »rowing« over a flat plateau. But much more special was skiing down by the narrow path from Komna into Bohinj valley.

In those times we had nice, long skis, mines were for example 210cm long. The first one to ski by the narrow path was Nejc and he soon started to scream: »Let go, let go, just straight!« And it went faster and faster and there were no options to turn left or right or to stop. I was already catching Jasmina, who first succeeded to turn left up the slope, even a branch helped her to stop, like airplanes on a carrier. I almost caught Jani, who also succeeded to turn left on shore. Stones scratched below his skis, some dry leaves cushioned a hard landing in rocks. I also used his technique and it was the last time. The path, already completely free of snow here, turned sharply right. But where are Igor and Nejc? No way that they could do this turn! And then I looked over the bare rocks. There they were, some 12m below – a complete confusion of hands, legs, skis, poles and rucksacs – and their laughing was heard, we believed, up on Komna plateau. And so we proceeded. Till the last patch of snow. When we looked up, finally taking off skis, we couldn't see any snow patch on the whole slope. That's how it needs to be done!

* - Later one of the best Slovenian climbers, renowned for his ascents in Himalayas: Makalu, Lhotse, Everest (West ridge 1st ascent). He died in an avalanche below Manaslu.


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