The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Slovenija Alpine Rock

Back home now after a very adventurous week climbing in the Kamniske in Savinjske mountains of Slovenija.

We'd initially headed NW from Llubijana past Bled and up the Dolina Vrata into the Triglavski National Park, hoping to climb Triglav via a route on the North Face.
It's an incredible 1000m rock wall with routes of all grades that weave their way through some very impressive scenery and climbing.
I was there in the late 80's climbing with a then Yugoslavian climber Slavko Sveticic─Ź and we climbed 2 or 3 routes linked together which took us directly up the centre of the face which unfortunatly I can't remember the name of now.
Every since that trip which was an extended time living with Slavko in his home village on the edge of the Julian Alps, Slovenija as it's called now has always felt like a special place.
They were very impressionable times in my life and the climbing defiantly left its mark and went some way to moulding me to who I am now.
I met Slavko in New Zealand 6 months earlier and we climbed together in the Mt Cook region, having success on some of the hard classics at the time -  South Face of Mt Hicks, Mt Cook and the Balfour Face on Mt Tasman......
I cut my round the world trip short, Arapiles would have to wait and I headed home with Slavko back to Yugoslavia where we hung out and climbed together for 6 months.

I'd been back the last few winters both mixed climbing and icefall climbing and also linking up as a side with local alpinist Marko Prezelj who new Slavko. 
I enjoy the people and the special place they now call Slovenija, the mountains, forests, rivers and valley's, but I was lacking an understanding of the layout of the ranges you only get from going there in summer.

So back I went last week to try and fill in some gaps both in climbing but also in memory.

We pulled up in torrential rain at the alpine club hut and dried our gear buy the fire!
The next morning the clouds partially cleared and our dry rock was now covered in fresh snow!

Our glimpse of Triglav's North Face on the first day

With it being North Facing and very cold there was no way this was going to clear any time soon so we needed a plan.
Marko had wanted me to explore north of where he lives in Kamnik in a range called the Kamniske in Savinjske mountains which he thought would be very interesting.
So we turned around, headed east to Kamnik and then North, then up into the Dolina Logarska, a beautiful valley leading up into the heart of the mountains.

It's such a beautiful area and a stunning drive over the tops, down and then following the stunning Savinja River which cascades down from it's source in the Kamniske Mountains.

From here we headed up to what we thought would be the main hut and climbing area. We packed stove, sleeping bag, food...........thinking that it would be like the main massif areas where the huts shut in September. No! the gaurdien was pleased to see us and was there until the end of October which gives you the idea of how long the season is here.

The best part was that he served food and we were the only customers!
We spent the rest of the week here, exploring the rock walls, mountains, crags and trails.
The more you see of the place the more you want to explore!

Welcome to Okreslju

The Okreslju Hut with impressive limestone peaks all around.
A 40/60min walk behind the hut is over 80/100 routes!
The route on the left is - Szalay-Gerinov greben 400m on Turska Gora
on the right - Steber Stajerske Rinke 800m Stajerska Rinka  
 
  Szalay-Gerinov greben 400m on Turska Gora, Kaminske Savinjske Alpe

 Very adventurous climbing and serious at times, traditional gear on shattered North Facing limestone!

Steber Stajerske Rinke 800m Stajerska Rinka, Kaminske Savinjske Alpe

Adrian Walter seconding the lower pitches of
Steber Stajerske Rinke 800m Stajerska Rinka, Kaminske Savinjske Alpe

 Routes on Mrzla Gora, Kaminske Savinjske Alpe
Left - Pajkova mreza 160m
Right - Gamsove plati 160m

Adrian enjoying the climbing and sun! on Mrzla Gora

The only other people we met in the mountains were hunting for Chamois!

 Now and then! bright blue, yellow trim Tierra hoody, ski poles............Woolen shirts, breaches and wooden alpin stocks!
 
We had a great time, very adventurous, frustrating, serious at times but very inspiring all the same.

It's a lovely country and I've come away with loads of ideas for another winter trip now! Cheers Marko!

Stay safe
Ade



Sunday, 6 October 2013

3 Peaks

So it's that time of year again! 

I have a busy summer in the Alps - no cycling, which leads into our Kyrgyzstan expedition - no cycling. Then I get home & a week later throw myself in the 3 Peaks Cyclocross Race, which is marketed as the toughest race of it's kind in Europe - It actually says the World but I'm not sure about that!

Anyway its tough! last year it was really tough! - low cloud with little visibility, strong winds, horizontal rain/hail, cold........we had it all.

 Heading up over Simon Fell towards the summit of Ingleborough

This year the sun shone, great visibility but the wind! Strong wasn't the word, it was gale force on the tops which made the exposed sections impossible to ride. It was hard enough pushing the bikes along the tracks we normally rode. 
I got bored & tried to ride but lost the front end & cartwheeled into the ditch at the side of the track!

Me (in the red) heading down Ingleborough towards Cold Cotes & Ingleton

The route - 
Helwith Bridge, up over Ingleborough, down to Cold Cotes, up to Ingleton, on up to Chapel-Le-Dale & over Whernside, down to Ribblehead & onto Horton in Ribblesdale, up & down Pen-Y-Ghgent & back to the finish at Helwith Bridge.

61km (41km of unsurfaced & unrideable terrain), 5000ft of ascent!

 Me heading up to Pen-Y-Ghent

It's a tough race, but great fun! already looking forward to next year & this time I'm going to be better prepared!

Rob Jebb split the field & won by a country mile - Rob's 10th win in the last 11 years, not bad for a family man with 3 kids!

We had the ISM AGM here all last week, but I didn't mind - it gave the legs a rest!

Enjoy
Ade