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!
[gmap lat=’46.391275′ lon=’13.821795′]
I headed down to the lake and swam before the others got up. Quite cold but nice. Due to us being disorganised, Chris had to hitch down to town to get some more food for tramping as we did not have enough lunch food. Unfortunately, he returned with a bunch of random items (including coconut fat) and little in the way of lunch food.
Above: The lake and the lads. Cris stalking fish.
We were all sorted about lunch time and headed off towards the base of the huge cliffs surrounding the lake. Our packs felt very heavy as we climbed steeply up a narrow track that ascended through the cliffs. We passed many people coming down and I think they were amused by us straining and sweating. It didn’t help that it was very hot by this time.
Above: Climbing through the cliffs.
Shortly after reaching the top of the main line of cliffs, a thunder storm arrived and we spent the next hour or so walking in warm rain. This appeared to have caught a few people out as there were people hiding under trees. We spotted a family without any wet weather gear sheltering under a rock.
As the hut cost 18 Euro per night we cunningly avoided staying in it. Instead we veered off the track and trekked across lime stone rocks with treacherous holes ready to sprain unsuspecting ankles. Chris found a number of flattish grassy spots and we pitched our tents for the night. We cooked near our tents on a band of rock. Emily had deep emotional issues with the dinner. The problem was that Chris had purchased a large block of coconut fat thinking that it was coconut milk. Also, our major seasoning was far too much cumin and chili powder. This combined with coconut fat caused her much distress. To be honest, we didn’t think it was too flash either.
Above: Camping amongst the jagged rocks.
[gmap lat=’46.32533′ lon=’13.777386′]
Hiking for European readers.
Chris and I went thrashing through the forest this morning. I puffed along behind Chris while he did the Open 2 course from the fourth stage. I took a break along the way and ran with him again on the way back to the finish. Sweaty sweaty. Another hot day.
We took the bus to the capital, Ljubljana, about midday and then a train to Jesenice. Half way the train broke down and we were told we had a 100 minute wait. Chris and I went off to purchase some food for tea until Emily rang us to say something about moving bags. I kept buying food and Chris came back a few minutes later to say that apparently the train was going again. We sprinted back towards the waiting train, lettuce and tomatoes bouncing.
Above: Jesenice train station
From Jesenice we took another train to Bohinjska Bistrica. We messed around at the train station trying to work out how to get up to the lake until a friendly Slovenian dude gave us a lift up there in his car. We’ve been so impressed with the generosity of the people here. As we arrived at the lake I realised that I’ve been here before three years ago cycle touring with Gina. Funny, I didn’t think I’d be back again. The camp ground was full of people and over priced so we headed up into the forest and camped amongst the leaves. Unfortunately, there were too many people around to use the nice camp site that Gina and I had used down by the lake. Instead, we hid near a dry river up in the forest.
Above left: Chris with his hobo bags in Bohinjska Bistrica. Above right: View from train station in Bohinjska Bistrica.
Bottom: Avoiding excessive camping fees by camping in the forest.
[gmap lat=’46.27980′ lon=’13.84021′]