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Ascent to Debrník, Polom and Sklářský vrch

A circuit along the lesser-known Šumava peaks

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Ascent to Debrník, Polom and Sklářský vrch
Inserted: 02.03.2020
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

With its altitude of 1,336 m, Debrník or Plesná is one of the highest peaks on the Czech side of the Šumava Mountains. The top doesn't seem to offer much, but the journey itself can be all the more interesting. Especially if you like to roam the deserted forests. The ascent to Debrník can be connected with the ascent to Polom and Sklářský vrch, while all the peaks lie outside the marked trails and thanks to that you will meet very few people along the way.

From Železná Ruda to Grádl

The hike can start, for example, on the square in Železná Ruda, from where we follow the green tourist sign towards the Grádl hotel. The sign will take us around the church, then around the railway station and we will soon dive into the forest. The path climbs along the Grádelský brook, on which the natural Kneipp spa was built several years ago. It is only a short walk from the Hotel Grádl. At the crossroads by the hotel we leave the marked path and at the same time civilization. For the next 18 – 20 km we will move on unmarked roads and sometimes completely off the road and we will not meet any other buildings until we return to this crossroads. Accordingly, it is necessary to arrange and pack everything you need in your backpack, including a supply of food and drink for several days (for all cases). Offline tourist maps on a mobile phone will be very helpful, but it is also good to have a detailed paper map.

From Železná Ruda to Grádl
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

Road to Polom

From the crossroads, we will continue along the Lower Grádelská path around the Grádelský brook, which will lead us to the cycle path 2116. We will cross it and get to a very little used path overgrown with grass. Gradually we pass several crossroads, where it is necessary to choose the right turn. The path leads initially through a mature forest, but as we ascend, we gradually get among the young trees, in some places we only suspect that the path leads here, because at first glance it is not visible at all.

Road to Polom
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

View of the Great Maple

At higher altitudes, a view of the surrounding hills begins to open, led by the German Velký Javor.

View of the Great Maple
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

The top of Polom

We will soon reach the official peak of Polom (1,295 m above sea level) marked by a stone mound and a triangulation bar. From here, the trampled path continues along the ridge to the second peak, about 750 m away.

The top of Polom
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

View from Polom

Polom is (probably) one of the areas that was hit by a bark beetle calamity years ago and was left to its fate. On the ridge of Polom, stumps of dry trees still stick to the sky and many trunks lie on the ground. But a large number of young trees are already growing among them, and it seems that nature can cope with this calamity relatively quickly. In a few years, the new trees will probably again block the views into the distance.

View from Polom
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

The second peak

At the second peak, which is about the same height as the first, there is a small rock and a meteorological station on it.

The second peak
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

Ascent to Debrník

The path begins to descend and gradually becomes a path. We descend to a level around 1,200 m above sea level and come across an asphalt road, which is led by a red hiking trail and cycle path 2113. We cross the road to the other side and continue along the road, sometimes overgrown with grass, up to the top of Debrník. Looking back, we have both peaks of Polom in front of us.

Ascent to Debrník
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

The top of Debrník

The top of Debrník is almost on the border with Austria. Some maps even mark two peaks – on the Czech side with a height of 1,336 m above sea level and on the Austrian side, just beyond the border, with a height of 1,337 m above sea level. The peak offers practically no view, but it can offer a special atmosphere, which you will hardly experience on the peaks, where more tourists flow.

The top of Debrník
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

Descent

If we do not want to return along the same path, it is possible to descend the northeast slope. However, in wet or snowy it is not quite suitable. There is no way this way and it is necessary to penetrate tall blueberries, blackberries and ferns, and in the middle of all this there are old trunks and young trees are growing. To the right of us is the border of the most strictly protected 1st zone of the Šumava National Park, where there is a strict ban on entry outside the marked paths. We are moving outside this zone, but it is still desirable to move in such a way that we disturb the surroundings as little as possible and leave no traces behind. After about five hundred to eight hundred meters (depending on how we manage to keep the direction), we come across a not very clear path, which, however, can be continued much faster. In addition, there is a nice view from it.

Descent
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

Turning to the monument

Once we have set out on this journey, it is worth making a small detour to an interesting monument. The monument is just a short walk from the road, which used to be led by the Iron Curtain. And it is interesting, among other things, because it is still standing here. The monument celebrates the intervention of members of the Border Guard, who detained two runaways from the basic military service here during the shootout, who wanted to get abroad. The inscription on the monument reads: „Here, on May 26, 1953, there was a combat encounter between the patrolman of the freelancer KROFT and soldier PEZLA with armed intruders. They did NOT pass.“ Perhaps in the future there will be no „enlightened head“ that will demand its liquidation or at least replace the memorial plaque with a plaque with a different inscription. Even such monuments belong to our history and can make many visitors think about the time.

Turning to the monument
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

The slope of Polom

From the monument we will continue towards the asphalt road, which is led by a red tourist sign and a cycle path 2113. However, we will not stay on it for very long and at the tourist shelter, just a few meters from where we crossed it at the ascent to Debrník, we will leave it again and issue with the path leading to the slopes of Polom. The road is not widely used, so in many places it is overgrown with tall grass. In places where it passes over clearings, there is a temporary nice view of the landscape.

The slope of Polom
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

Stone wall

We are slowly approaching today's last peak. It is debatable whether this is a full-fledged peak or just a promontory of Polom, but it is marked on the map as a separate peak. Assuming that we follow the right path, we will come across a ruined stone wall in the saddle between Sklářský vrch and Polom (it will be to the right of the path).

Stone wall
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com

View from Sklářský vrch

If we follow it, it will lead us almost to the top of Sklářský vrch (1,195 m above sea level). The top is formed by a small rock in the middle of a slowly overgrown glade. So far, it has a beautiful circular view, but it probably won't last long. Along the wall, we will return to the path, which we will continue to the crossroads, where we will follow the Upper Grádelská road, which will take us to the crossroads at the Grádl hotel, where we were already at the beginning. And from there it is only a short distance to Železná Ruda.

View from Sklářský vrch
Author: Jiří Šmejkal © gigaplaces.com
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