Veliki Oltar and its routes. Over Kacji jezik is #3.
The route over Kačji jezik is one of the two from north routes, from Martuljek. Both of these start at Bivouac III (Za Akom) and go together to the distinctive orientation point, named Trije macesni (Three larches).
From Martuljek village you go towards the south, by the Martuljek creek you take one of the two marked paths and proceed either through the gorge (more beautiful) or left of it and reach the area above the First Waterfall. here both paths join and you proceed through the woods, a bit turning towards the SE. In the woods soon one path deters to the right (under Spik) but you go straight towards the SE. Soon the slopes through the woods become steep, you leave the creek deep below on the left and climb to the rocky barrier. Here some steel ropes and pegs help you to overcome the steepest rocky part. Just below this section a tiny path (also marked) can bring you to the Second Waterfall. It's certainly worth to see it (from there you must return by the same path)! Steel ropes bring you just on the upper part of the waterfall and behind the corner you reach the flat lower part of basin, named Za Akom. The path from here on is no more marked. If you are looking for the bivouac - it stands some 50 meters above the edge of basin - to the right.
| |From 'Za Akom' basin | |Basin 'Za Akom'
On the summit ridge
The broad basin Za Akom is a beautiful place. Here is the water source, it's sunny and all around are wild mountains. Our climb goes further towards the south. First you can still follow the path, later it is lost in screes. The orientation is the broad, 800 m high, vertical wall of Široka peč and below it, on the right side a distinctive hill with 3 larches. The scree falls through the left and the right ravine of this hill and it is preferable to choose for the ascent the left one (between the hill with 3 larches and Široka peč wall). This couloir is almost all the year filled with snow, and as it is steep on the upper part, you will probably here first time use crampons and ice axe. At 3 larches you must take a long rest, this is one of the most beautiful places in Martuljek, which itself is for me also the most beautiful group in Julian Alps. Here the routes to Veliki Oltar over Grlo pass and Over Kačji jezik split. While the former goes up the scree and left, we go some 100 m up the scree and then turn right.
Above 'Za Akom' high basin
Crossing wide screes below Oltar we more and more reach the broad snowfield, which almost the whole year lies in the steep couloir between Oltar and Velika Ponca. As this couloir (and its snows) winds and split on the top, it is called Kačji jezik - The Snake's Tongue. We climb up by snow (crampons, ice-axe) and higher keep left (over a small ridge). If here snow ends, we must climb (UIAA II) in the left ravine, as the right one soons becomes steep, and requires harder climbing (UIAA III). Through the left ravine - if we are lucky, it is filled with snow - we climb steeply up, and reach the notch between Veliki Oltar (on the left) and Velika Ponca (on the right). Till here, you can reach also from the other, southern side, from Velika Dnina.
From the notch towards the summit of Veliki Oltar a rocky ridge leads, which has only one bad point - it is too short! Climbing by it is so beautiful and joyfull, never harder than 1st degree, open on both sides and it hits the summit itself.
From Bivouac III to the summit you'll need some 4 hours, altogether some 6 hours.
Descent: You can descend by the same route, but it is far more advisable to do a round tour. So, from the summit of Veliki Oltar you descend towards the east on Grlo pass, and from there northwards torads 3 larches. The the route description
Although the route from the notch down over Kačji jezik is also done with skis it can be by no means treated as an ordinary ski tour. It is a hard alpinistic ski tour, reserved only for the best!
Good shoes, ice-axe, crampons, helmet.
Overall grading (by hiking standards)
0. General: from 750 m (Martuljek) to 2621 m (summit), exposition N, above not marked, rock climb.
1. Effort: 1900 m, 6 h,
2. Power: 4 - hard,
3. Psyche: 4 - hard,
4. Orientation: 3 - medium.
The first ski descent
by Kačji jezik was done on March 2nd, 1975 by Nejc Zaplotnik. Today the tour is rated on the Swiss Scale as TD.