Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Wielki/Veľký Mengusovský štít

Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Wielki/Veľký Mengusovský štít

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 49.18722°N / 20.06000°E
Activities Activities: Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Big Wall, Mixed, Scrambling
Additional Information Elevation: 7999 ft / 2438 m
Sign the Climber's Log

Overview

MMMOctober Classic
Seen from N

 

Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Wielki

also known as MSW or Mięgusz

(Polish)

Veľký Mengusovský štit

also known as Mengusák

(Slovak)  

Nagy-Menguszfalvi-csúcs

(Hungarian)

Große Mengsdorfer Spitze

(German)

 

 

MSW in the afternoon (2438m)
Seen from W - photo by LukZem

This is the highest peak in the Mięguszowieckie/Mengusovské Peaks group. The peaks were named after the valley whose headwall they form, and in turn the name of the valley comes from the Slovak village of Mengusovce, whose inhabitants owned the valley and grazed their livestock in it before the Tatras became a national park. The adjective 'wielki/veľký' translates as 'great'.

Mięguszowiecki Szczyt/Mengusovský štit is

  • perhaps the most magnificent peak in Poland
  • the second highest peak in all of the Polish Tatras
  • sometimes called 'a piece of the Alps' owing to the mountain's size and difficulty navigating
  • informally referred to as MSW or Mięgusz in Poland and Mengusák in Slovakia

The mountain has

  • a few large walls with plenty of technical routes
  • 207m of prominence

First ascents

  • summer: Ludwik Chałubiński, Wojciech Roj, Maciej Sieczka, 28 July 1877
  • winter: Ernst Dubke, Alfred Martin, Johann Breuer Jr. and Johann Franz Sr., 13 February 1906
Mieguszowiecki Szczyt Wielki...
Seen from SE - photo by dynercia

Glossary

Polish/Slovak = English

szczyt (pronounced shtshyt)/štít (shtit) = peak

przełęcz (psheh-wentsch)/sedlo = pass/saddle/col

dolina/dolina = valley

staw (stahv)/pleso = tarn

schronisko/chata = hut

polana/poľana = clearing/glade

Mięgusz/Mengusák stands

  • on the border between Poland and Slovakia
  • on the main ridge of the Tatras between Cubryna/Čubrina (2376m, beyond Hińczowa/Hincovo Pass at 2323m) in the west and Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Pośredni/Prostredný Mengusovský štít (2388m, beyond the col named Mięguszowiecka Przełęcz Wyżnia /Vyšné Mengusovské sedlo at 2330m) in the east
  • between the grandest Polish tarn called Morskie Oko (Sea Eye) at 1395m at the base of its north wall and the largest and deepest Slovak tarn called Veľké Hincovo pleso at 1944m at its south foot
Sunny September at Morskie Oko lake
N face of Mięguszowieckie Peaks - by Tomek Lodowy
Mengusovské štíty
S face of Mengusovské Peaks, MSW left - by Gorzi

Rock Climbing

The north face of MSW, 880m tall, is the largest wall in Poland and the third largest wall in all of the Tatras. It is crumbly and grassy in many places, mainly climbed in winter and easily accessible from the south bank of Morskie Oko (approx.1hr from the hut). Here is the topo on www.taternik.net.

Unlike the north face, the east face, whose height is 400m, is usually climbed in summer. There was a rockfall on the wall in 2009.

The most popular with rock climbers is the 230m tall wall, called 'Czołówka MSW', at the base of the northeast buttress. The wall is easily accessible from the south shore of Morskie Oko, features solid rock and boasts about 30 routes (including variants), of which none is less difficult than UIAA grade VI.

Mieguszowiecki Szczyt Wielki
N face - photo by Tomek Lodowy
winterclimbing in Szare...
On Czołówka MSW - photo by isai
Veľký Mengusovský štít
E face - photo by Gorzi

Scrambling Routes 

Remarks on rock difficulty ratings

Although the rock difficulty scale traditionally used in Polish guidebooks to the Tatras is said to be identical (at least towards the bottom of the scale) 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. The UIAA ratings that most Westerners are used to do not seem to be any tougher than the Slovak ones. (To complicate things, the Slovak grades sometimes do 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

From N (Poland)

Route 1

The most interesting of the three routes: via waymarked trails to Dolina za Mnichem, then Via Galerie Cubryńskie to Hińczowa/Hincovo Pass. From the pass you can follow the ridge to the very summit, but this will entail a short UIAA III (at least YDS 5.3) climb up the first crag on the way, i.e. Mięguszowiecka Turniczka/Mengusovská vežička

On Mieguszowiecki ridge Ivona on W ridge

or take the path which runs across the south, Slovak side of the ridge, almost horizontally towards the base of the step in the rib descending from the summit of the above-mentioned crag. Traverse the rib there (in August 2015 a rockfall barred the way, in August 2016 the passage was easy, further rockfalls there seem to be a matter of time though). When you have passed the rib, either

a) go up directly to the crest, then follow it to the summit as the following picture illustrates

Cubryna and Mieguszowiecki... Route 1a by dynercia

or

b) go diagonally up for about 20m until you get to a little cairn (next photo), then traverse two ribs – in the couloir dividing them you will see a chockstone several metres above you. Via the next, steep couloir (Polish grade 0+) move up for about 25m until you see a distinct horizontal ledge to your right. From that spot traverse the wall for about 70m, more or less horizontally via a system of ledges (Polish grade I), heading for Mięguszowiecki Balkon (third photo below). At that 'balcony' this route joins Route 2 ('Droga po głazach').

The  Balcony  in sightThe 'balcony' in sight
Cairn at first ledgesFirst ledges
View from Route 1bView from last section

I have done variant b (relying on the guidebook by W. Cywiński - see References/Guidebooks) and despite it being interesting I would not recommend it. Especially the very last couple of meters of the traverse were tricky (bear in mind I am a hiker and a scrambler, not a skillful rock climber) and one of the key holds I had to rely on was a bit loose. Route finding may be a problem even if visibility is good. Variant a - despite being more exposed - is shorter, obvious and belaying, if needed, would be much easier.

Route 1 statistics

Time up: 5hrs from Morskie Oko Hut

Net elevation gain: 1043m Total elevation gain: approx. 1150m

Rock difficulty: Polish grade I / my opinion: UIAA II / my guess: YDS 4-5.1

 

Route 2

Via waymarked trails to Przełęcz pod Chłopkiem/Mengusovské sedlo, then Droga po głazach, where navigation can be surprisingly difficult and under unfavourable weather conditions becomes a nightmare.

Mieguszowiecki Szczyt and... Route 2 by dynercia

Route 2 statistics

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

Mengusovské štíty Routes 2 & 0 by Gorzi

From S (Slovakia)

Route 0 ('via normale')

This is the easiest route to the summit: Via a waymarked trail to the south shore of Veľké Hincovo pleso, then along its east shore, later diagonally up across talus cones until you get to the top of the great talus cone that has formed below Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Pośredni/Prostredný Mengusovský štít. Still diagonally up a little across some grass, then about 150m up via a set of three chutes (this stretch of the route is far from obvious, especially on descent - you may put yourself in trouble if you have not done it upwards; the third, highest chute is unpleasantly crumbly) and rocky/grassy steps between them to the lower end of a major ramp called Veľká Mengusovská lávka/Wielka Mięguszowiecka Ławka. The rest of the route is part of "Droga po głazach' (see Route 2 above).

Veľký Mengusovský štít The talus cone and the light-coloured ramp above it - photo by Gorzi

The normal route is marked with yellow dots here on www.sprievodca.ta3.szm.com/

Route 0 statistics

Time up: 3.5hrs from Popradské Pleso Hotel

Net elevation gain: 944m Total elevation gain: nearly the same

Rock difficulty: Polish grade I / Slovak sources: UIAA I-II / my guess: YDS 4-5.0

Summit Views

 

 
Summit view NE
NE
 
Summit view ENE
ENE
On Mieguszowiecki Wielki summit (2438m)
SE - Ivona
Summit view South
S
Summit view SW
SW
Summit view West
W
Summit view NW
NW
 
Summit register
The special summit register
 

Getting There (to Nearest Hut)

Poland 

MSW from Włosienica
Dolina Rybiego Potoku, horse open sleigh ( Kulig  in Polish)

Polana Palenica, where you will most likely be entering the national park, lies east of Zakopane, 12km away as the crow flies and nearly 25km away by road. Zakopane sits at the foot of the Tatra Mountains about 100km south of Kraków, where there's an international airport. (BTW The city of Kraków certainly boasts one of the most interesting old towns in East Central Europe.) It should take you less than two hours to drive from Kraków to Zakopane, but at the weekend or in high season, it often takes more than 3.5hrs, which is how long a journey by train lasts. As for the buses, check out this website. (The station adjoins the central railway station 'Kraków Główny'.)

In Zakopane, minibuses to Polana Palenica (car park and bus/minibus terminus) leave from in front of the entrance to the railway station. Polana Palenica sits in the valley of River Białka, at about 985m. On sunny summer days the pay car park there fills up very quickly, so unless you go at dawn it is a good idea to use public transport.

From Polana Palenica you walk up the valley along the same tarmac road (later with several shortcuts marked with red stripes) for about 1hr 45min (nearly 9km), making an ascent of 410m, until you get to the hut that sits by Morskie Oko. (About 25min before Morskie Oko is Polana Włosienica, where you can also get by horse-drawn wagon. A few hundred metres past the place is a restaurant with decent toilets next to it.)

Slovakia 

High Tatras from Strbske Pleso
November day in Zlomiska valley

From a resort called Štrbské Pleso, built at the namesake lake (1346m), or the train (tram) stop Popradské Pleso (1245m) you will be walking north for about 1hr 15min (5 or 4km) along a waymarked trail until you get to the hut by a tarn called Popradské pleso, which sits at 1494m. The trail from Štrbské Pleso, marked with red stripes, is just a tad longer but it is very scenic.

 Elektricka
Train and bus timetables
Bratislava Airport
Poprad-Tatry Airport

Huts and Campsites

Poland

  • Schronisko przy Morskim Oku at 1410m. It has two buildings: the 'new' one (built over a hundred years ago), which resembles a mountain hotel a bit, and the 'old' one - in fact the oldest existing mountain hut in the Polish Tatras
  • Roztoka Hut at 1031m - a truly atmospheric place, one of the very best mountain huts in Poland, located 1.5hrs walk from Morskie Oko, 15min off the road connecting Polana Palenica with Morskie Oko
  • Szałasiska campsite for rock climbers at about 1350m, just above Polana Włosienica - a rudimentary campsite that offers places in tents; the price is higher for those who are not members of UIAA
Lake Morskie Oko, still in the quietness...Morskie Oko Hut
Stara Roztoka at dawnRoztoka Hut
Popradské plesoPopradské Pleso Hotel

Slovakia

In high season expect all the huts (and the campsite) to be fully booked. If so, except for the hotel, you can normally get a place on the floor, which in 2019 cost €7-10.

Maps

ONLINE MAP on hiking.sk

 

As for the analog maps, there are plenty of options. I would recommend the plastic 1:25,000 map of the Polish and Slovak Tatras by WiT. It has a large scale, is waterproof, durable and cheap.

Red Tape

Hiking

Poland

You must keep to waymarked trails. Bivouacking is not permitted. After dark you are supposed to leave the national park (unless you are staying in a mountain hut).

Slovakia

The same as in Poland plus that the trails above huts are closed for hikers from 1 November to 15 June.

Rock Climbing

Poland

You don not have to be a member of a rock climbing club. Just before your climb, you should write it into the register kept in a nearby mountain hut. (Make sure you sign it on return too!) During the approach you must stick to the traditionally used routes described in rock climbing guidebooks. Bivouacking on the wall is only allowed in an emergency.

Slovakia

You must be a member of a rock climbing club. Just before your climb, you should write it into the register kept in a nearby mountain hut/your hotel. (Make sure you sign it on return too!) During the approach you must stick to the traditionally used routes described in rock climbing guidebooks. Bivouacking on the wall is only allowed in an emergency. Except for winter, you must not do a route that is easier than UIAA grade III (approx. YDS grade 5.3) unless on the descent. The funny thing is that the last rule does not apply to those hiking/scrambling with a licensed guide whom they have paid some €200 for looking after them.

View from Morskie Oko
January 2013, little snow - photo by Ivona

Mountain Conditions & Rescue

The peak can be climbed all year round. As for scrambling, July to October, but it all depends on the weather. It is essential that you check the weather forecast. In high season as well as at weekends expect huge crowds on both the Polish and the Slovak approach trails described in the next chapter.

some action.

References/Guidebooks

Unfortunately, none of the guidebooks listed below is available in English.

J. Chmielowski and M. Świerz. Tatry Wysokie, przewodnik szczegółowy, vol. 1-4, Kraków 1925-26.

W. Cywiński. Tatry przewodnik szczegółowy, vol.10 (Mięguszowieckie szczyty), Poronin 2003.

W. H. Paryski. Tatry Wysokie, przewodnik taternicki, vol. 6, Warszawa 1954.

sprievodca.ta3.szm.com.

taternik.net.

MSW & Cubryna at sundown
MSW on the left


Children

Children

Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.