Lominicky Stit (Lominický Štit) is both the second highest peak in the High Tatra (Vysoké Tatry) and the Carpathian range as well. Lominicky has long been the most popular peak in the Tatras as it is the most ecstatically pleasing and dramatic mountain in the range (at least in my humble opinion). Unlike the larger Gerlach, Lominicky juts straight into the air, towering well above its neighbours ending in a most dramatic three sided spire. The peak itself is on the far eastern edge of the range, which only adds to its dramatic appearance.
Unfortunately, because of this popularity it has seen some development and the summit itself has been spoiled (lost actually) by the building of a summit cable-car station ostensibly for scientific purposes but in reality for political reasons, see the Whats in A Name section for my take (rant) on it.
The peak has been sculpted on three sides by glaciers creating three great walls, the North East, South and West all offering a number of great lines and a number of excellent rock and in winter mixed routes. Not only are the three great walls on the peak the North West ridge offers a lower grade snow field and ridge climb that gives the peak a distinctly alpine flavour for such a low mountain, especially in winter.
The best point of the peak is that it offers something to everyone. Moderate in altitude but still alpine in skill and style required to climb. A cheap and quick Cable Car ride to the top for Granny and Grandpa as well as fine winter and spring skiing on the North West snow field.
For you nutters out there who like extreme skiing and snowboarding there are plenty of places to do it up on this peak and the nearby Maly Kezmarsky and Kezmarsky peaks. The avalanche danger is near nil, most of the time, the routes steep 60~80°+ and rocks few in number when there is lots of snow cover.
One note on the cable car and that is you visit time is limited, I think it is about 15~20 minutes. This is actually a good thing as there is no snack bar up there or even much to see and not much room and the cable car is small (15 persons) so a crowd is the last thing you want up there. There is a well fenced in walk about and 15 minutes is all you really need. If the weather is bad or even windy they do not run the car and if it is icy they might not let out onto the walk about.
Check out the Climbing Regulations and Red Tape section of Gerlach post to get more information on the red tape that is to be encountered in the park.
Generally speaking it is the West wall that offers the best rock climbing routes all well protected and in my opinion the best rock I have ever climbed on, a lovely solid granite that is great for smearing, easy on the hands and with many natural cracks for protection.
The South wall is rather undeveloped as it a series of short 20-40m steps that rise up from the Lomnicke saddle below to a rather nice if short 20m knife ridge. The rock is also quite broken and access is a problem since there is no official path to the start.
The North West wall is an exception to the rule of great North walls in the Tatras. The rock is very broken and a much poorer quality than the West wall, as well the climbs tend to zig-zag causing a good deal of rope drag though using a double rope-style here helps a great deal. As well because of the cable car station one is not allowed to climb directly under it so the top portion of the climb has to be abandoned in either a traverse to the West or East Ridge.
My favorite climb is the traverse along the East ridge from Kezmarksy Stit to Lominicky it offers first a mix of short but very exposed traverses to a sustained knife edge ridge that leads right up to the to cable car station.
The standard route down for all climbs is the North West snow field (or talus if the snow is gone) sticking close to the chairlift, on the left side, so as not to interfere with the skiers if there are any. One can also take the cable car if you want but will need to buy a return ticket first at a lower station and hope there is room on the car for you when you want to come down.
Be warned, this is an alpine environment so expect snow any time of the year and I found that the weather here closes in much faster than any other area that I have ever climbed in. It can be nice one moment but then minutes later you can be in the middle of a thunderstorm blowing up from the valley.
Treat this peak and all of the others in the Tatras with respect and you will have a great time. Just think of them as very short 4kers. Treat them like 2000m hills and you will come to grief guaranteed
The best way to get to the High Tatra is to head in from Bratislava (Vienna) or Pragh by taking the train to Poprad which is the major city in the area some 25km away. There is very good bus and rail service from this city to the Tatra and it is cheap.
Head for Tatranská Lominica where you can get the cable car that heads up to the summit of the peak.
There are plenty of cheap hotels, pensions and huts in the area.
Check out the Red Tape section of Gerlach to get more information on the red tape that is to be encountered in the park.
Do follow the rules when playing about on this peak because this will be the one place where you will get caught on. There are always people about and they will report you. Follow the rules and you will be Ok.
Absolutely no camping is permitted in the park.
There are campsites lower down the mountain in designated areas.
There are a few Huts but unfortunately they have seen some bad times as of late; two burning down in 1998 and one being carried away by an avalanche twice in past two years.
2001-2002 has been a very heavy snow year as well and I have heard that some of the huts have had roof and other damage and most were forced to close for the season.
The hut that is usually used by climbers for an attempt on the West wall is Teryho Chata a large stone hut built in the late 1880s. Comfortable but not extravagant.
There is also the Skalnatá Chata much smaller and located further down the mountian.
As far as I know Lominicky Stit (Lominický Štit) can be loosely translated to "Quarry" or "Fractured" Peak most likely a reference to the large cirque on its Eastern side or a referance to a long abandoned and quite small silver mine on its lower sides.
It was also called "Dedom a Spišiaci" or "Granddaddy of the Mountains" when it was thought that this was the highest peak in the range. It was a very early mountain to be climbed as far back as the 1770s or even the 1760s, as the area was a very good hunting ground for Chamois and marmot. It also has one of the first recorded tourist assents of a Tatra peak by the Englishman Robert Townson in 1793. Incidentally he also measured the height of the peak and came up with 2633m just one meter below the official 2634m.
The first recoded winter assent was not until 1891 made by a group of local guides and German climbers.
It is also I think the only peak that has an asteroid named after it you can check this out at 3168.
Now for my rant. The original peak of Lommincky was at one time a lovely spire only 2m across and about 8m height, as far as I can make out from the old pictures I have seen or it. This was lost when the present Cable car station was built.
The story behind this is quite simple at the time the Central government in Pragh wanted to build an observatory and they chose the mountain Krivan as the site not because it was the best site, but because it was then, and now still remains the center of Slovak National Pride. It was a way for the central (i.e. Czech) government to firmly place symbolic control over a region (Slovakia). (Not to sound two one sided the Pragh central government also destroyed the symbol of Moravian national pride the 1930s it is just that the Slovak’s managed to save theirs.)
Needless to say the Slovaks were outraged and the plans were quickly changed to have the observatory at Skalnate Pleso (a lake at the base of Lomnicky’s Cirque) by the late 30s expansion plans were set in motion and the present Cable car and station were completed in 1940.
Just a note here on the above story, I was told this by a local some years ago and it appears this is just an "Urban Legand" as an expert on Krivan has found no evidence this this was true.
In the world of mountain top stations this is one of the few that is not 100% touristy in nature. As a mater of fact it is very limited to what a tourist can do while there and your length of time there is limited. It is and will remain largely a scientific station and fortunately it is was built in a way to minimize the effect on the beauty of the peak.