Veliki vrh is the first, most popular summit of the long range Košuta, going from the west. As the western part of Košuta is closer to the traffic connections across Karavanke/Karawanken range, the popularity is obvious. In Slovenia there are many toponymes with the name of 'Veliki vrh' (= Big Summit). Usually those summits are in the vicinity of other peaks, like in Begunjščica crest, on Dleskovška planota and elsewhere. The Košuta range Veliki vrh looks dominant if seen from the western part. From there, the perspective hides the rest of the range, so from some angles Veliki vrh indeed looks like a self standing, high peak. But from the south or north, it soon becomes obvious that the range of Košuta is of a quite equal altitude and that towards the east there are no low saddles all the way to the middle of the range (Škrbina, 1869 m).
As almost the whole Košuta range, also Veliki vrh sends towards the south mostly grassy slopes, which can be easily ascended. More towards the SW the picture changes a bit, because in the distant past a huge landslide took down a big part of the mountain, so still today a broad rocky wound is seen there. The northern part of the mountain is steep and rocky. It is not a monolith wall, but the crags there are also interesting for harder climbs and the steep ravines are interesting in winter and spring for winter ascents and alpinistic skiing. From the northern side no easy ascent comes on top. From Hajnž saddle (Hajnževo sedlo / Hajnžsattel, 1675 m), which separates Veliki vrh from the summit of Košutica, only one ferrata ascends on top.
Even if the main range of Karavanke mountains comes on Košuta from the NW, over Košutica, the real start of Košuta ridge, and so also of Veliki vrh as the first summit, is in Šentanska dolina (valley). From there, a rugged, quite wild ridge ascends on Veliki vrh. It is called Zajmenove peči (Zajmen's crags). Till its top it's possible to ascend by hunters paths and by scrambling (very dense vegetation), but towards the summit of Veliki vrh a crumbly and difficult notch prevents an easy ascent. Depending on how good we are in finding the best passage, the difficulty of that notch is UIAA IV (or at least III) degree. In short, almost nobody ascends Veliki vrh over Zajmenove peči. Hajnževo sedlo (saddle) is just N-NW below the main summit of Veliki vrh. The walls west of it are steeper and more attractive for rock climbing. The walls east of the ferrata (marked path, which goes from the saddle directly on top) are less solid and are more popular for winter climbs (actually the ravines in that section). Going from the top of Veliki vrh towards the east, we follow a grassy ridge, which soon rises on two bumps, which are considered the lowest 2000-er in Slovenia. It is called Toplar, 2000m, (The Double), but its prominence is hardly more than 25 meters. Next towards the east is Kofce gora, 1967 m, after which the main ridge of Košuta rises more considerably on the summit of Kladivo / Hajnžturm.
People know the fatal year 1348 by a huge landslide on the southern side of Dobrač, Kaernten. But the same event (or an earlier event in the same century) also caused that a big mass of rocks slid down from Veliki vrh (the area is still clearly seen). It is estimated that between 20 and 100 millions of cubic meters of materials went down the slope and destroyed the settlement in the valley of Mošenik creek (where two trade routes came together), forming also a lake. People fled across Ljubelj pass and down the valley, so establishing the towns of Borovlje / Ferlach and Tržič.
Veliki vrh attracts all kinds of visitors. The most common are of course hikers. They can do short hikes up from the south, traversing the ridge in the north-south direction (rarely the opposite), or they can start or finish the long tours along the whole Košuta range. In winter and spring tour skiers come. The southern slopes of Veliki vrh and neighbouring Kofce gora offer some of the best downhills in Karavanke. For alpinistic skiing Veliki vrh is less popular, mainly because after completing the ski tour, you can find yourself in a very remote corner of Austria. Also for rock climbing Veliki vrh is not as popular as some of the other neighbouring walls of Karavanke. The majority of routes was done by members of the very strong alpine club of the neighbouring town of Tržič.
The views from Veliki vrh are very fine, because it is surrounded by nice mountains and at the same time remote and high enough to offer also very distant views. If you are lucky with weather, special views can be seen towards the west. From behind Karavanke mountains, the high peaks of Julian Alps can be clearly seen. Attractive are also the views along Košuta range. They are special in winter, when the long ridge is decorated by big cornices. Great are also the views towards the east and the south east, whete Kamnik & Savinja Alps are rising. And more in the distance - on the north and the south - you can see other mountain groups of Alps and the hills of Slovenia.
See the parent pages of Košuta range and Karavanke range to get an idea how to get close to Veliki vrh from the Slovenian and Austrian side. From the Slovenian (southern) side the most common approaches are:
1. Dom na Kofcah (hut), 1488 m. It stands on the S slopes of Košuta (of Kofce gora) and can be reached by many easy, marked paths: - From Matizovec farm (1 h). This is the SW approach to the hut, we drive to the farm from Podljubelj, by the main road. - From Dolina (the valley of Tržiška Bistrica). This is the S approach to the hut, we drive from Tržič further towards the NE into the valley. Some 1 h 45 min. - From the mountain roads which go from Jelendol (the valley of Tržiška Bistrica) up towards Košuta. These are SE approaches. Good 1 h. - From alpine meadows east of Kofce, like Šija, Pungrat etc.
2. The other approach from the Slovenian side comes from the west. We start the tour on the main road over Ljubelj Pass (Loiblpass). Coming from Tržič, you park after the last tunnel, when you pass the big scree slope on the right. It is just before the monument to nacistic concentration camp. The other option is one turn on the road higher (you have some more altitude, but also some more slopes crossing).
3. The third option is from the Austrian side. You drive into Zell/Sele, and then further southwards to Skarbina, 1069 m. Or, you can drive earlier towards Zell Oberwinkel / Zvrhnji kot and deter at Male, 666 m, towards the south, driving towards Hanjž farm, 990 m.
1. From Dom na Kofcah (hut), 1488 m. This is the most common and used approach. The ascent goes over the grassy, not very steep SE slopes. The path is well beaten and all the time marked. In winter and spring it is the route of one of the most popular ski tours in the region. Only on a few places the slopes may be steep and require some care if snow is hard or icy. You go from Kofce hut towards the N by a broad, grassy ridge. Coming below Kofce gora, you can cross the slopes towards the left and then ascend steadilly towards the main ridge, or you can continue up by the ridge on Kofce gora, 1967 m, and later cross towards the left just below the main ridge. From below the main ridge (some 20 meters above us is the double summit of Toplar, which is easilly reachable) the path crosses towards the W and soon reaches the summit of Veliki vrh. From the hut 1 h 45 min. Easy and panoramic.
In the times of tour skiing, if coming from Matizovec farm, we can go also directly towards Veliki vrh, avoiding Dom na Kofcah. See the detailed route description! A nice ski tour is also from the summit of Kofce gora, 1967 m, using the ravine which descends towards Kofce, or the ravine, which descends towards Ilovica..
2. From Hajnževo sedlo / Hajnžsattel. This is the northern approach, from the saddle up there are sections of ferrata. The saddle, 1675 m, can be reached by easy, marked paths from both sides, from the Slovenian side (western approach) or Austrian side (north-eastern approach). In both cases you have some 2 h of walk up. On the saddle you then turn towards the S - entering the ferrata. It is medium hard, mostly it uses natural passages up. In one hour we exit very close to the summit of Veliki vrh. Otherwise, skiing only down from Hajnževo sedlo is possible on both sides, Slovenian and Austrian. Actually, that is a quite popular ski tour, belonging to Veliki vrh area, but it's not reaching any summit. In the rocky walls W of ferrata there are several climbing routes, up to the difficulty of UIAA IV degree.
In the section left of ferrata there are some ravines, which are interesting in winter and spring. One such nice route is "Tihotapska smer" (Smugglers' route). The approach over the long and abandoned (very crumbly and overgrown) ridge of Zajmenove peči is guarded by a difficult rock, wich requires climbing of difficulty UIAA IV degree. And of course from the east, by the whole long Košuta ridge a marked, medium hard hiking trail comes. A nice one day hike is a round tour over žkrbina saddle (on the main ridge) and then over Kladivo / Hajnžturm and Kofce gora to Veliki vrh and down to Kofce hut. The tour can be done in any direction. The whole range of Košuta - from Ko&353;utnikov turn, or even from Tolsta Ko&353;uta is quite long for one day tour. But very nice and panoramic! The southern terrace of Košuta is a paradise for mountain biking. The tours start in Tržič or further up in the valley of Bistrica. There are many mountain roads, which are in the upper part closed for public traffic, but can be combined in nice, round tours. If we reach Kofce (hut) or Šija meadow with a mountain bike, we can do a great bike and hike tour on the summit of Veliki vrh.
No specific restrictions in the area. Veliki vrh is rising on the border, but within European Union, still having with you a personal identity document is allways a good idea.
1. Dom na Kofcah, 1488 m. Opened in summer, out of the season also on weekends and holidays.
2. Planina Korošica, 1554 m. The hut stands on a nice alpine meadow on the south-western slopes of Košutica / Loibler Baba mountain. This is a private house, opened in summer and out of season in weekends and holidays. From Ljubelj pass road (see above "Getting There", #2) 1 h 30 min of easy walk up.
Veliki vrh can be climbed any time of season. Winter tours require either skis (usual tour skiing equipment), snowshoes, or a usual winter equipment. Only if icy, the upper slopes can be dangerous.
Can you add a description of any rock climb in the N walls?