|Route Type:||Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing|
|Time Required:||Half a day|
|Number of Pitches:||5|
The summit of Veliki Čuk is rising above the left orographic bank of the Velika Paklenica canyon – the right side of the gorge is named Klanci - between Aniča kuk on the left and Mali Čuk on the right, just in front of the impressive and mighty pillar of Debeli Čuk.
Veliki Čuk has a complex structure, showing ridges, chimneys and pillars. The rock surface is divided into three main sectors: the North Face, the NW face and the West face. There are different fine climbs, the route described in the following chapter is a nice combinatiom of a modern route, Water Song, and a classic route, the Sjeverno Rebro, meaning Northern Ridge because the route climbs on the Northern ridge of Veliki Cuk. This combination is wonderful, on excellent limestone beautifully engraved with homogeneous difficulties that don't exceed the French grade 5c.
The canyon of Velika Paklenica is very close to Starigrad (40 km. from Zadar), a village lying on the Dalmatian coast, just at the entrance of the canyon. A narrow asphalt road is starting in Starigrad from the main coastal road and getting the ancient traditional village of Marasovici; besides this ancient settlement are lying the first parking-area and the small Paklenica National Park office (tickets and info). You must stop at the bar closing the route to buy the entrance ticket. After 2 km. the narrow road ends to the last parking area, just at the start of Klanci canyon.
There are two options to get to Starigrad from Italy, Austria or Slovenia:
- the coast road starting from Rijeka and running along the Adriatic coast, shorter and panoramic but having often an intense traffic (180 km. from Rijeka to Starigrad)
- the new Motorway connecting both Rijeka and Zagreb to Starigrad via Bosilijevo, exit Maslenica (junction with the coastal road), which allows to cross and see the wild and extensive forests - populated by the bear - lying in the inland. Longer but faster.
From the upper parking area, located at about 2 km. beyond the Park entrance, follow the large paved path running through the narrow Klanci Valley in the direction of the Aniča Luka, the meadows at the bottom of the NW face of Aniča kuk. Before reaching the Aniča kuk an impressive yellow and grey pillar rises on the left of the canyon: it's the Debeli Čuk. Veliki Čuk West face routes are lying just in front of it. Take the path on the right (signposts) leaving the main path and at the first fork keep right. Climb up to a saddle using some fixed ropes and descend to the opposite side to reach the bottom of the obvious system of slabs where it starts the route (plate at the base).
Water Song variant Sjeverno Rebro – French scale
Difficulty: F5c max
Climbing length: 200 m.
First ascent: P. Pezzolato, S. Gojak, T. Dapiran (Water Song)
Starting point: Velika Paklenica canyon
This combination of the first 3 pitches of Water Song, joining the last pitches of the route Sjeverno Rebro is a wonderful climb with a more difficult part and the final part that concides with the classic Sjeverno Rebro easier but always amazing on excellent limestone beautifully engraved. The route is equipped.
L1 - Climb directly the magnificent slab engraved by several deep channels dug by the rains, aiming at two parellel ones in the upper part, 5c, 30 m
L2 - Continue on the slab with more superficial channels, overcoming a characteristic passage on two parallel gullies. At the top the slab becomes more inclined, but always delicate, 5c, 20 m
L3 - Still on the slab, up to a vertical dihedral with good holds in slight oblique to the left. Climb the dihedral and belay under a slightly overhanging wall, 4b, 25 m.
This is the last pitch you must climb on Water Song, because here it begins the "Varijanta" that joins the Sjeverno Rebro.
L4 - Climb slanting left on a magnificent fully engraved ramp connecting with the route Sjeverno Rebro reaching it on the ridge just below the belay with a long and beautiful traverse. Continue on the ridge and on a slab with good holds to the bealy, 4c, 40 m
Rope 2x50 m, helmet, 10 quickdraws.
With its surface of 96 square kilometers, extended from the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea to the high peaks of the Velebit mountains, the Paklenica National Park is rich in phenomena and natural wonders, with dense forests of pine and beech, deep canyons, splendid formations karsts and numerous caves.
There are several differences in the climate of this region, due to the extension of the area from the higher mountains of Velebit to the lower peaks lying close to the Adriatic Sea. Continental and Mediterranean climate clash each other and Paklenica Nacionalni Parc is particularly rich in flora (about 800 plant species, 40 of which endemic) and fauna just for this reason.
The area of Paklenica shows a magnificent karst scenery with various surprising geological formations, beautiful flora and fauna; due to this reason, on October 19th 1949 this area was declared a National Park, named PNP - Paklenica Nacionalni Parc, one of the most important in Croatia, which management is situated in the village of Starigrad.
The whole Velebit region was proclaimed a Biogenetic Reserve by UNESCO on February 10th 1978. The access in regulated and an entrance fee is due. A 1 day, 3 days and 5 days tickets are available for climbers. Climbing is not allowed in all the smaller canyon of Mala Paklenica and in some sectors of Velika Paklenica; on the contrary hiking doesn’t suffer any restriction. Free camping is not allowed.
It’s possible to climb all year round, but the most agreeable periods to climb in Paklenica are surely spring and fall. In summer it can be hot and it needs to climb on shady faces, but nevertheless the site is frequented by a lot of people, who wish to combine climbing with swimming. Climbing is possible also in winter, but the strong NE winds (the well known “bora”) can sometimes disturb the climb.
Starigrad Paklenica is a well known touristic destination, offering a lot of hotels, bed and breakfast and camping-sites; it’s also easy renting rooms and apartments both in Starigrad and in the close village of Seline.
“Paklenica“ by Boris Cujic – Editions Astroida, available in the PNP office in Starigrad (150 HRK in 2013)