Un uncertain decision
We had started climbing just lately, since a handful of months, and i was starting to feel the call of the rock and of the peak after too much time of being lazy and just sitting around. So between one climb and another the decision arose quite naturally.
Riccardo had some free time from his work in August, and i had no work to take time off from, so August would have been the period.
We were going to go to the mountains.
I am not totally new to mountains and hikes, but had let go of that side of life for quite a long time, and now seemed a good moment to get it back. Riccardo on the other hand comes from the mountains, so it had always been lurking inside him to go, he was probably just missing the company.
So it was decided, we were going to go to the mountains.
we kept repeating that, without organizing much else, to the point that the night before the designated date we were still trying to decide where to go and what to do.
Somehow i think the name of Triglav popped into my head. It was the highest mountain in Slovenia, so it would certainly be a nice tour and a good choice.
It was close enough, in an area we didn't know much of so it was perfect.
We left each-other that night having decided where we would go.
Unclear ideas waste time
The next morning i still had to buy all my gear. I had absolutely nothing, not even a sleeping bag. just my old hiking boots.
So we ended up leaving a little late, after i had bought all i needed.
And we still needed to buy supplies, so we went shopping for groceries and necessary goods at a gas station in Nova Goriza.
I dont think we had looked at a map or decided a route to get there, so we went in direction of Gorizia, as i know the Isonzo/Soca valley is one of the entrances to the Julian Alps.
We drove through many wonderful places, but the actual alpine area started in Trenta valley, When the peaks were hidden by the clouds, and the river had become much more narrow than it was before, digging a canyon in the rock.
We stopped at some info points, and ended up buiyng a guide to the Julian Alps, since we had no guide either.
Soon the road started climbing up. It was the road leading to Vrsic pass, but we had no idea of what it was, until we picked up a slovenian hitchhiker that evidently needed to go uphill.
MOstly with gestures we managed to explain we were going to Triglav, and understand he had just come down the long way to Prisojnk, and he needed to go back to his car at Vrsic pass.
It would have been a very long and boring walk, so i guess he was happy for the ride and offered us a beer at the refuge on the pass, pointing out at some peaks and mountains and pronouncing names we couldn't always understand.
We left him with a lot of goodbyes, handshakes and hvalas and headed down the pass toward Kranjska Gora and we realized we still had no stove or gas, we had no flashlight and nothing to drink and little to eat, so we had to stop there to get packed.
But once we were done we were finally ready to go.
We knew Where we were, we knew where we were going and we had everything we needed. In fact, we might of had a little more than needed to drink.
So off we went though the apparently neverending Vrata valley Until we were under the north face of the King.
A late start
We drank, ate, and sat on the partizan monument in the dark night, watching the falling stars, and the morning after we were obviously late.
We had decided to take the Tominskova pot up, so we started fully loaded with all our stuff straight into the face of Cmir, Triglav's neighbour. The route starts off in the forest. A very steep forest i might add, especially for a non trained couch-potato who had spent the night talking and awake insead of dreaming and asleep. So fatigue was an early companion to me.
At least we were in the shade, and our pace must not have been all that bad, since we happened to be passing people on the way up. Not many people to be honest, the north face routes aren't really that crowded, and we didn't see more then ten people all the way up.
Suddenly the trees start to disappear, and big stone walls appear, finally letting us know we were exactly where we had decided to be.
At this point we realized our main mistake. We had beer, and some Pelincovec, but just a little more than half a liter of water for both of us. and since climbing drunk is not an option, we had to climb thirsty.
The trail starts moving to the right, in direction of Triglav, and it becomes more of a scramble rather than a hike, up to the point the ferrata starts.
We saw many people go at it without using ferrata gear, but we decided to go on the safe side and started off.
It is a great trail. The views on Triglav and Vrata valley are superb, and the route was quite fun and in some points challenging for out huge bags.
finally high up, or at least not too deep in the valley
The ferrata climbs up and down some rocky steps, following Cmir's face and leading to the suture line that connects it to Triglav.
This line is a steep and really tiring scree of mixed rubble and big rocks. It is really not that fun to walk into it except for the fact that it is the only way up, and that it is nested between Begunjski Vrh on the left, and the massive north face of the king on the right.
We had read on the guide that here , on this sunbeaten scree there would have been a source of water where "the jiker will be able to quench his thirst" (this is how i remember the words on the guide), so since we were quite dehidrated that was a stop we were really looking forward to.
As soon as we saw a bunch of people sitting and eating under the wall on our left we knew it was there.
We hurried in that direction already feeling the cold water running down our throats and getting ready to enjoy the pause, but to our suprise the source of water was a small a crack in the stone.
From this crack, one drop at a time, water ran down on the rocky wall dispersing it's life-giving and precious freshness down in the depths of the mountain.
luckilly someone had had the brilliant idea of stuffing a paper tissue in the crack, so the water actually filled the tissue, dripping into the bottle placed under it and not on the wall.
We had to wait our turn.
And once it came, it took about half hour to have half a bottle full of water.
In the meatime we decided we would eat, but the sun was hitting down on us, and i just fell asleep on the ground, while Riccardo was lucky enough to find some shade.
We took mutual Photos of our conditions.
Eventually, After drinking that half bottle, i was hydrated enough to think that maybe a second tissue would double the trikle into the bottle.
It worked, and we only had to wait another hour to get a full bottle, and the off we went again.
On the moon?
The scree ends suddenly with a step on to solid rock, and it is a really startling experience, since you find yourself to be on the moon.
Hills and hills and more hills of rubble and broken stone, laying on a bed of solid rock that is cracked and brocken in hudreds of different shapes. Occasional crevasses and deep holes.
All this goes on forever.
We had some fun exploring this lunar world. walking towards Triglav, on your left you will see snowfields and steep hills, while a hike to your right will bring you right on the edge of the north face, with it's huge, almost vertical drop down.
To see the valley from here is something incredible and magical.
But time passes even when you are in heaven , and soon it was late. Too late to reach Kredarica hut at least.
I have a confession to make. we did actually do something wrong, but to our defence we were ignorant of the rules and unprepared so we didn't actually think it might be something wrong to do. Now i know planting a tent is not something that can be done anywhere, and i check twice everytime to be sure i am not doing anything that might vaguely be against the rules that are there to protect the enviroment.
But as i said we didn't think it could be a problem and we slept in our tent in the ex glacier of Triglav.
Obviously although ignorant of the rules we were wise enough not to leave any trace or anything behind, we left Triglav just as we found it.
We passed the night in the tent, studying the guide, organizing future trips and wondering if we would be able to summit some other mountain before we returned home.
We drank pelinkovec and compared peaks, routes, and trails, choosing our favourites and imagining how wonderful they must be.
We also worried that a storm we could hear approaching might pass over our heads, but it wen over the Skrlatica Group and we watched it pass, safe in our tent.
Everything was different the next morning It was rather early but it was full of people on the hour walk to Kredarica.
we had coffee there and went in direction of the summit.
Kredarica is the point where all routes to Triglav converge, so it is literally full of people, and every step toward the summit seems to produce more people.
But once you are there you realize why it is so full.
Triglav simply dwarfs everything else around it. The view from it's summit is just something spectacular.
It reaches far away, hundreds of kilometers away, but at the same time it drops deeply into the steep valleys that surround it. It is no surprise it is such a treasure to the Slovenes.
I was relly happy to be there. As i said i was not used to the mountains anymore, and i wasn't sure what to expect from this trip.
It turned out to be a perfect match to all i had imagined.
The way down
The way down was filled with a sense of euforia. I know it might sound stupid to many, but i'm also sure many of you know exactly the feeling i am talking about.
It's undescribable, it fills you mind and your heart.
It is a feeling of victory and conquer and of love and wisdom at the same time. Of experience earned by sweat and mistake and of gifts simply given by nature to whoever decides to take them.
It was also filled with exaustion.
We took the Prag pot down, this is a steep route that runs very near to the north face of the King. You actually feel very small under it, and it seems to take over all the view and light.
What a wonderful wall.
By the end i was really tired.
Our water was finished again and i needed to stop quite often.
As soon as we reached the creek in the valley, we drank it's cold water that tasted like melted snow, and we dipped our feet in it and felt alive again.
Water is really a rare comodity on Triglav.
We then walked back to our car, shook our hands and were happy for the rest of the trip.
The beginning of something new
Triglav , for me, was the beginning of a new passion. it was the first step into realizing how much i coud do with my time. How much i wanted to do. And mostly where i wanted to do it.
Ever since that trip mountains have become something i long for, something i need to go to.
I love looking at them from far away and knowing there is a bond between us and il love being there in the clean air, feeling the calm of a world outside of the world.
I hope you all enjoy them as much too
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