Tone Pogacnik - A ski flight into Triglav north wall
Triglav north wall in times of tour skiing
In January 2009 Tone Pogačnik celebrated his 90th birthday. When a group of visitors came on his home to congratulate him - he was not there. "Went skiing with his grand son", the neighbours said.
Who is Tone Pogačnik? The Slovenian community knows him as a true sportsman. But his most incredible adventure was below Triglav, the highest mountain of Julian Alps. It was April 26th, 1946. Just a year after the World War II. Tone was in the national ski team and at that time they had preparations on Kredarica, below Triglav. No ski lift at that time, though. His teammates already left, he did one more downhill. Let's listen to his story: "I was the last one. The glacier was in fog, and I also did not know the terrain well. I got the speed too fast, so I started to slow down in a long turn - towards a dark part which I thought was a rock structure. Then I found myself in the air. I was falling in a ski-jumping position and was thinking that I will die young. But I fell on a snow field between rocky pillars, the snow was soft and with skis and the whole lower part of my body I got stuck in the snow. No injury at all, only after some time I got cold, because I was wearing only a shirt."
What happened? In the fog Tone approached the edge of the 1000 meters, almost vertical north wall of Triglav and went over it. His flight was 96 meters high and he landed on the only patch of snow in that part of the wall. At that time on Kredarica some climbers and mountain rescuers were too, so when Tone was missed, they went on the edge of the huge wall. They helped him out, completely healthy, only cold. Next day he descended in the valley himself. This adventure is so incredible that it was together with a good dozen of other unbelievable survivals included in Saint-Loup's book: La Montagne N'a Pas Voulu (The Mountain Did Not Want), 1949.
In 1948 Tone competed on St. Moritz Olympic games. With the other three guys he won the team's 9th place. Today he is commenting the event: "All four of us were from the same village - from Kurja vas. While, strangely, today the whole Slovenia does not have a team of four boys to compete for the country."
Long live, Tone!
Edit: June, 2013. We just read that Tone Pogacnik has passed away.