The twin summitted peak is located in the central part of High Tatras in their main ridge ,on the borderline between Poland and Slovakia. The north-western summit of Rysy(2499,2) is the highest point of Poland, and therefore in the summer the mountain is climbed by a lot of people from the Polish side.
It is a very steep uphill, but does not require technical climbing. Separate climbing routes are some of the best in the country. The slopes on the Slovakian side are a lot gentler and therefore not less crowded in the high season.
Rysy is the highest peak of Tatras accessible by marked route what explains its great popularity during summer season.
Rysy summit offers one of the widest and richest summit panoramas in Tatras. By good weather conditions one can admire all prominent High Tatra peaks ,several lakes ,Low Tatra mountain range and Western Beskidy mountains.
The name of the peak
There were some historical disputes about that.
The current version says that the name Rysy comes from the characteristic, long, diagonal couloir crossing western cliffs. It is also called "Rysa". In Polish rysa means just a scratch ,crack ,fissure.
The name of the peak is the same both in Polish and Slovak languages.
20.VII.1840 - Eduard Blasy and Jan Ruman older (guide)
First Winter Ascent:
10.IV.1884 - Theodor Wundt and Jakob Horvay (guide)
In 1899 Rysy peak was ascended by Nobel Prize Winner - Maria Sklodowska-Curie with husband, in years 1913-14 Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was there...
Rysy in autumn colours from Svistova Valley
10th highest Tatra massif and a culminating point in the main High Tatra ridge line. It rises high above 3 great valleys of Rybiego Potoku(Fish's Stream valley) ,Belovodska (White Water valley) with its high section of Tazka valley (Heavy valley) and Mengusovska on the south.
Viewed from Morskie Oko Rysy peak presents itself quite inconspicuously being partly covered by Niznie Rysy(2430) peak which(though 70 meters lower) seems to be the higher one.
From the west Rysy(2503) massif is bounded by Zabia Przelecz(2225) (Frog's Pass) after which rises legendary ridge of Zabi Kon(2291) (Frog's Horse).
To the north there is Przelecz Pod Rysami pass(2365) and then Niznie Rysy(2430) peak.
Finally in the south-east wide saddle of Vaha Pass(2337) separates Rysy from Vysoka(2560) massif with Tazky Peak(2520) rising first in the ridge.
Rysy has got 3 summits.
They are situated very close to each other :
- North-western summit(2499,2) is the main culmination ,being a crossing point for the prominent northern ridge . It is the highest point of Poland
- Middle summit (2503) ,the highest one
- South-eastern summit(2473) ,less prominent one
Rysy from Predna Basta
On the Polish side the nearest town is Zakopane - very good communication links with Cracow city and the rest of Poland.
The best base for all those who want to climb the highest peak of Poland is Morskie Oko lake chalet, situated upon the famous ,beautiful mountain lake of the same name. Morskie Oko lake can be reached by many variations of hiking routes on the polish side side of Tatra Mountains.
Tourists staying in Zakopane usually take one of hundreds of minibuses or buses going in this direction. The drive ends 2 km after the Polish-Slovak border crossing in Lysa Polana on Palenica Bialczanska meadow transformed nowadays into a giant parking place (horribly crowded during summer season). After that You enter National Park gate and have 9 km nice walk-up through the forests of Bialki and Rybiego Potoku valleys before You reach one of the greatest natural treasures of Poland, the most beatiful and the greatest lake of Tatra Mountians - Morskie Oko.
In the summer season when the weather looks stable it is possible to climb Rysy even from Zakopane (Zakopane - Palenica by bus) starting early morning.
If You want climb Rysy from Slovak side of the mountains You have to get to Strbske Pleso - the highest situated town of Slovakia - 1335 meters above sea level ,beautiful tourist center and ski resort. Very good communication with Poprad and many other Slovak towns.
Palenica(990) - 3 km - 3/4 h - Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza waterfalls(1099) - 4 km - 1 h - Wlosienica(1310) - 2 km - 1/2 h Morskie Oko lake(1395) -
- 9 km ,400 meters of height difference ,2 1/4 h ,road.
Walk around Morskie Oko lake - 2,5 km ,3/4 h ,Red marks.
Morskie Oko chalet(1410) - 2 km - 3/4 h - Czarny Staw Pod Rysami(1583) (Black Lake) - 1 h - Kociol pod Rysami(1950) - 3 km - 2 3/4 h - Rysy(2499) -
- Rysy(2503) - 5 km ,1100 m of height difference ,3 1/2 h ,Red marks.
Looking into Eyes of Tatra
"Popradske Pleso" (electric railway station)(1245) - Popradske Lake(1494) - 4 km ,260 m of height difference ,1 1/4 h ,road ,Blue marks.
Strbske Pleso(1335) - 2,5 km - 3/4 h - Drigant(ca.1500) - 2,5 km - 3/4 h - Popradske Lake(1494) -
- 5 km ,150 m of height difference ,1 1/2 h ,red marked Magistrala trail.
Popradske Lake(1494) - 1,5 km - 1/2 h - Mengusovska Valley - 3/4 h - Zabie Lakes(1919) - 3/4 h - Chata Pod Rysmi Chalet(2250) -
- 1/4 h - Vaha Pass(2337) - 3/4 h - Rysy(2503) - Rysy(2499) - 6,1 km ,1000 m of height difference ,3 h ,blue and red marks.
From the south
Rysy Area - Map
Tatry Wysokie (High Tatra) map, in scale 1:25 000, description in 6 languages, ISBN 83-87873-26-8, available in all shops and book stores in Zakopane . Here you can check the net version
The Tatras are a National Park in both Poland and Slovakia, with strict rules for nature conservation - no fauna or flora can be disturbed.
Hikers are allowed to use only marked routes. Alpine climbing in the area can be practiced in compliance with National Park rules.
During summer season Rysy Peak is a very popular target for tourists.
One can cross the Polish/Slovak borderline via trails leading to the summit from both sides of the ridge.
On 21.12.2007 Slovakia along with Poland signed Schengen Agreement and accessed to "open borders" Schengen Area, however one must remember that National Park regulations prohibiting crossing the border beside marked trails in the whole area remain in force.
There are fees for the entry to Polish Tatra National Park (TPN) ,normal ticket costs about 3 zlotys (0,7 Euro).
In Slovakian TANAP there are no fees.
The best hiking season : August - September
In July frequent t-storms.
In winter the area is endangered by huge avalanches ,but if the conditions are stable (rather not earlier than April - May) it would be great clim(required good winter equipment: crampons ,ice axes etc.).
After heavy rainfalls there is a serious danger of rock avalanches on the polish side.
On 28th January 2003 the greatest avalanche drama in Polish Tatra history took place on the polish route to Rysy summit.
In the area of Bula Pod Rysami high over the Black Lake huge avalanche took 13 members of mountain camp - secondary-school pupils from Tychy.
7 young people died under tons of snowy masses ...
Polish side :
As I mentioned before the best place to stay overnight when planning Rysy climb or other great hiking routes in the Morskie Oko area is Morskie Oko chalet(1410)situated beatifully on the morene of the greatest post-glacial Tatra mountain lake - Morskie Oko - The Lake Eye Of The Sea. Behind the main building there is a second hut-looking older chalet where You also can find places for comfortable sleep.
As far as I am oriented prices are quite high and the cheapest beds cost about 35 zlotys (over 8 Euro) per night.
3 h to Rysy summit
In summer months of July and August there is a cheaper alternative especially for those who love camping.
About 2 km down the road from the lake right nearby Wlosienica meadow (old parking place with characteristic building of fast food bar) one will find PZA (Polish Alpinism Association) Base Camp Field on Szalasiska meadow. I
n 2004 season 15 zlotys (3,5 Euro) per night.
Other mountain chalets of the area :
Stara Roztoka Chalet(1031)
This one can also be regarded as a good base to start climbing Rysy .
Nice old mountain chalet situated in deep forests at the bottom of Bialki Valley close to the main trail to Morskie Oko near famous Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza waterfalls and entry to beatiful Roztoki Valley. Great atmosphere ,calm and lower prices than at Morskie Oko chalet ,28 zlotys (about 6,5 Euro) per night.
About 1,5 h walk-up to Morskie Oko lake from there.
Chata Pod Rysmi Chalet(2250)
The highest situated mountain chalet of Tatra Mountains and Carpathians - little box stuck to a rocky slope under Vaha Pass(2337), regularly damaged by avalanches during wintertime (last time in winter 2003/04).
The chalet is open seasonally from 1.06 to 31.10 every year.
Very nice atmosphere ,250 SK (7 Euro) per night in season 2004.
1 h to the Rysy summit.
Popradske Pleso Mountain Hotel(1500)
This hotel (prices definetely too high to call it a chalet!) is situated upon beatiful Popradske Lake in Mengusovska Valley on the main marked route leading to Rysy. Great scenery but the area is usually overcrowded in the summer.
If You're lucky there is a possibilty to get place in a big touristic room ( 360 SK - 9,5 Euro per night/2004) but if it's full your choice is narrowed only to much more expensive hotel rooms.
3 h to Rysy summit
All of these peaks besides Swinica(2301) and Kozi Wierch(2291) are located in ridges surrounding
deep valley of Morskie Oko - The Lake Eye Of The Sea and all of them besides Kozi Wierch are situated on the Polish-Slovak borderline.
Kozi Wierch Peak(2291) is the highest peak situated completely with all its slopes on Polish ground.