Orla Perc seen from the Mountain Pass Zawrat
Three years ago I stood on the mountain pass Zawrat after descending Swinica. Before me was the great Orla Perc, a tourist trail fixed with chains and ladders to assist with the high exposition and exposure. Yet, a delayed start, the condition of my fellow travelers, and oncoming weather prevented me from continuing onto the Orla Perc and I had to descend. Now three years later I had the opportunity to return and complete the Orla Perc.
Hike to the Mountain Hut
After arriving in Zakopane the night before we woke up early and took a bus to lysa polana from where we would hike to the valley of 5 Polish Lakes. The temperature was very pleasant and the weather couldn’t be any better. As we were nearing the tree line I was getting more exited as we were able to see more and more peaks. Leaving the forest we saw the technology used to bring up food and supplies to the mountain hut. Everything is brought up to a certain point by a 6 wheeled quad. From there everything is loaded onto a cable car and pulled up. Unfortunately we couldn’t make use of the cable car and had to walk up the hill.
Upon arriving at the mountain hut we left our bags, sleeping bags, and most of our food, and took my small backpack with water, sandwiches and snacks. Then we started for the Zawrat mountain pass. Before going further into the next part of the trip I would like to first talk about my partners on this trip.
My mom’s side of the family along with my mom used to be a very avid group of hikers, now only my grandfather still wants to go on adventures like this. I am amazed at how at age 70 and with a pace maker he was able to complete such a trip. I am lucky to have someone like him. I look up to him in almost everything. He is very smart and has a great sense of humor. He was a mechanical engineer and I am looking into being a mechanical or civil engineer. He has also been on many trips and has a lot of experience in the mountains. He is a one of a kind man telling stories like behind seven mountains and seven rivers there was an eighth mountain and eight river and behind that eight mountain and eight river there was a ninth… and so on. Passing hikers on a trail that were eating he would say “enjoy” and then ask “Do you know what enjoy means in a tourist sense?” then he would say “give me half.” It always made everyone laugh. After finishing a trip he would say a real tourist would now do the same trip but in the opposite way. There are many more things that I love about my grandfather and I will always remember him when I will continue my adventures without him.
My grandfather and I
My other companion was Rysiek, my mom’s cousin’s husband. He was also an avid hiker and I got to know him well on this trip.
Zawrat to Kozi Wierch
Finally being on the trail that I have been dreaming of for the past 3 years brought up great emotions. All the via ferrata like climbing was amazing. The first part up to Maly Kozi Wierch (small goat’s peak) was very easy with little exposition. Going down to Zmarzla Przelecz was the first more challenging part, but it was easily overcome with patience and some care.
After climbing zmarla turnia we came upon a ladder on our descent. The ladder turned out to be the easiest part because it was straightforward and simple where to put your hands and feet.
Ladder as seen from Kozie Czuby
From the top of the ladder we could see where we will be ascending next.
Our route up Kozi Wierch
It looked steep and challenging but it turned out not to be extremely difficult. Next we reached the summit of Kozi Wierch and I was surprised at how fast we got there. I was very comfortable on the whole trail and having so much fun. I just wanted to stay up on the summit but we had to go back down the mountain. On the way down Kozi Wierch (goat’s peak) we saw a koza (goat). What a coincidence.
Swistowka, Morskie Oko, Szpiglasowa
For the next day the forecast was not very good so we decided to do an easy hike to Morskie Oko. As we started to head out it was raining and I thought we wouldn’t see any views. It turned out that as we were going back through Szpiglasowa Przelecz the weather was perfect. On our way to Szpiglasowa Przelecz from Morskie Oko I was amazed at the trail that was built. For many trails it is said that they are stairs to heaven. In this case this trail was a sidewalk to heaven.
The stones were placed in such a way that it was a smooth walk up to the mountain pass. It was extraordinary how much manpower was required to build something like this. On our way down we came across a grizzly bear and it turned out to be a beautiful day.
Krzyzne to Skrajny Granat
On our last day we intended to finish the Orla Perc trail and since it was our last day we had to take all our stuff and we had to climb the Orla Perc with our big bags. This part was similar to the other part and at one point we had to improvise our way down because the trail and chains were covered in snow.
Upon arriving at Skrajny Granat my partners wanted to descend. In the end age takes its toll, even though I wanted to finish the Orla Perc I understood and we descended together to Gasienicowa Valley and then to Zakopane. It was a great trip and I accomplished less than planned but at the same time more than planned. I hope to return to the Tatra mountains to finish Orla Perc and climb Koscielec, Rysy, Mieguszowiecka Przelecz pod Chlopkiem, Wrota Chalubinskiego, and some Slovakian Mountains as well.
Orla Perc from Zawrat to Kozi Wierch as Seen from Skrajny Granat