Topographic isolation: 4 km
Nearest higher peak: Piatra Grăitoare / Zengő (1658 m)
Prominence: 296 m
Pietrele NegreRomanian name: Vârful Ţapu
Groapa RuginoasaHungarian name: Bak-hát.
In my old Hungarian geography book published in 1905 the mountain is called Ruginosa-csúcs
. In contemporary sources this name is not mentioned any more
In the following text I give both the Romanian and the Hungarian versions of the geographical names. Why? The mountain is in Romania, but it was part of
Groapa RuginoasaHungary or the Hungarian Principality of Transylvania during 1000 years. And it is a favorite hiking destination for tourist who live in eastern Hungary and in Budapest
Road no. 75 crosses the Western Transylvanian Mountains
in its „middle”, dividing the mountain range into a northern and southern part. The highpoint of this road is Şaua Vârtop
, with 1160 m altitude. Vf. Ţapu
with its elevation of 1475 m is the highest mountain on the north side of the saddle. Its peak is in north-western direction from the saddle, in 1.5 km distance. The peak just north to the saddle - Vf. La Trei Morminţi - is slightly lower.
The Western Transylvanian Mountains has a rich variety of rocks that compose this range: crystalline rocks, limestone, sandstone and volcanic rocks. Though Vf. Ţapu
is a very small part of the mountain range, it presents crystalline rocks, limestone and sandstone in its small area. This mountain is the point where the dominantly limestone areas of Padis interconnects with the mass of Curcubăta Mare / Nagy-Bihar
that is composed of crystalline schist. Traces of schist can be seen on the south-western slopes of Vf. Ţapu
. An attractive presentation of its limestone part is the western flank of the mountain, culminating in the limestone cliffs called Pietrele Negre
. And the eastern and north-eastern part of the mountain is made of quartz-sandstone – including the famous gorge called Groapa Ruginoasa
and Pietrele Negre
makes the mountain worth visit. Or I should rather say that visiting Groapa Ruginoasa
is a must for those who are in the Western Transylvanian Mountains. The peak of the mountain is not specifically interesting: It is covered with spruce forest without view. In April the otherwise boring spruce forest is nice due to the thousands of crocuses everywhere.
The trail marked with red cross
The rock wall of Pietrele Negre
Almost all visitors of Vf. Ţapu
visit only the spot of Groapa Ruginoasa
. The easiest access to this gorge is from Şaua Vârtop
on the yellow trail. This route is short and not too difficult.
I also tried the trail marked with red cross. This trail leads from the direction of Baița
and you can walk along road no. 75 and along the cliffs Pietrele Negre
and finally you are almost on the summit of the mountain. This trail “red cross” is not maintained for long time, and it is in very bad condition. There is no trail leading to the summit itself but still its not a big challenge to walk up in the forest.
There are other routes from west and from north. I can't report you about their conditions. Please let me know if you tried any of them and so I will update this page with the information.
The mountain is within the boundaries of the Apuseni Natural Park. No entry fee applies.
Potential hazards: occurrence of bears.
Mountain rescue service is provided by Salvamont Bihor, for details see their website: www.salvamontbihor.ro
Abandoned mountain hut
View of the Saua Vartop ski resort
There is an abandoned mountain hut on the western slope of Vf. Ţapu
. You can find several operating lodgings either at Şaua Vârtop
or in Arieșeni