What’s that horrible smell? Emily and Chris moved a piece of ham that someone had thoughtfully left to rot near the bivouac. I blamed the ham for the horrible smell for a long while before realising that it was the smell of our shoes and socks that was assaulting my nose. Yuck, I’m sick of everything smelling. I stink, my clothes stinks, the tent stinks, etc., etc.
We struggled back up the scree to our favourite saddle in the morning and headed right, up away from the ridge with the exciting via ferrata from the day before. We walked in mist for much of the day and ended with another enjoyable via feratta route down through cliffs to the head of a valley that was shaped like an amphitheater, constructed from rock. Shouting caused an echo, echo, echo. Emily tried to dispose of me by firing rocks down from high above and I cowered against the cliff as they went whizzing past my head.
We camped in the forest further down the valley and had a delicious wash in the river. Yum, yum.
We got up early and walked down the valley a little bit before joining one of the major routes up towards Triglav. An hour or so later we were at the Triglav hut with many tourists. The mountain is the highest in Slovenia at 2864 m and is a national symbol of Slovenia. From the hut we walked up Triglav proper itself arriving at the top. Good view from the top. We descended down the other side of the mountain and headed to a funky via feratta route. I zoomed ahead and soon found some interesting bits of clambering where I was quite glad that I had climbing gear. The ridge that we were climbing down looked mad. It looked like there would be no way you could climb down it. Big drop-offs and flakey bits of rock. It made your head reel a bit trying to work out how it all fitted together. It was good though and once I reached the second saddle of the previous day I lay down and watched Chris and Em pick their way down contemplating that this sort of thing is better than an office job in NZ by far.
Above left: The valley in the morning. Above right: Chris climbing the first section towards the Triglav hut.
Below left: Emily and Cris climbing with valley far below. Below right: Chris at the Triglav summit.
We camped again at the bivouac.
Below left: Chris, Emily, and Cris on top of Triglav. Below right: View down via feratta route to saddle far below.
We headed away up the valley from our lime stone camp. A quick snack of apple struedel was had at a hut with a view down into a deep valley. From there we headed towards a rocky saddle. We climbed over the saddle and looked down at scree disappearing over cliffs. An impossibly thin track wound its way along the cliffs. It seemed to disappear in places and there was always a huge drop from the track to the valley below. We were dubious as to whether the track would be useable. It looked like there had not been many people using the route for sometime.
Above left: Chris descends to the start of the via feratta route. Above right: Spot the easy route through the cliffs!
We headed down a dodgy scree to a position a handful of metres above where bits of rock fell away into the void. Slowly we traversed around to the first part where the track seemed to disappear. To our suprise, when we got closer we could see that the track had been only hidden in shadow. It was wide enough to walk in single file and there was protection by way of a long wire running along the cliff on the right. We put on our harnesses and via feratta gear with anticipation and proceeded around the cliff. We continued for about an hour. Each time we looked ahead it appeared as if we could not continue and then we’d find the track picking its way through patchy exposed bits of rock sometimes with protection and sometimes without. Still, none of this was as bad as the hairy ridge we tried to walk out along on our Ivory Lake trip a couple of years ago. Therefore, Greig, Clare, Joe, etc. would be loving it…
Above: Climbing along the via feratta route.
Below left: Cris on route. Below middle: Em and Chris down climbing. Below right: The cliffs that we climbed through.
We reached the main track and rejoined the throngs of tourists. Sadly we had to descend a couple of hundred metres before climbing back over another saddle. We screed down the other side to a bivouac. There were about 8 people there from the Netherlands and 2 from Czech. They were friendly and we spent sometime amusing them by showing them what we were carrying. The biggest hit was the two cabbages. These sent them into fits of laughter. As luck would have it they were eager to swap 500 g of pasta for some of our heavy veggies. Luckily this means we can eat lunch on the last day.
We stayed the night in the winter room in the biv for free. For future note, bivouacs seem to be run by mountaineering clubs and have winter rooms that are free to use. At least, there was nobody there to charge us for them. Others camped outside in front of the no camping sign.
Above left: Trampers at the biv. Above right: No camping!
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