Slovenia

The last word is always mountain

Triglav - Tomiškova cesta

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The last word is always mountain
Inserted: 15.11.2019
Author: Monika Kupcová © gigaplaces.com
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Triglav 2864 m above sea level is the highest mountain in Slovenia and the Julian Alps, located in the only NP in Slovenia – Triglav National Park, which is registered in UNESCO. The silhouette of the mountain is depicted on both the Slovenian coat of arms and the Slovenian flag, and was named after Trihlav, an ancient three-headed Slavic deity.

We start at Bled

A short stop on Lake Bled

This peak attracts many tourists, travelers and mountain lovers. Therefore, after a long discussion, we put together a four-member group, whose members I am as the most experienced mountaineer, Kamča, which has already climbed to Triglav, and therefore I have great support, another member is Verča, an experienced climber and her friend Evka, who is a little experienced tourism, it is a huge challenge for her – as it is for each of us. Our route is planned with a stop in the town of Bled, where we drive along Lake Bled on a vessel called pletna, on the island of Blejsky Otok we taste excellent local ice cream and rush back to the car. We continue to Jezernica, in Mojstrana we turn left and along a dusty, rocky, steeply rising road we arrive at the Aljažev House (1,015 m above sea level) – a mountain hut in the Vrata valley, which will become our refuge for the next two days. The next day we wake up to a beautiful, sunny day and at 8:00 in the morning and with basic equipment (cats, ferrata seat and helmets), food and drink for the whole day we set off from the parking lot first along a wide, stony path that takes us to the Monument to the Fallen guerrillas. After a short while, we turn left, where we cross the dry river Triglavska Bistrica and embark on Tomišek's path, one of the three traditional paths leading to the top. Now we have been walking uphill for several hours. Quite often on the way we pass monuments nailed to the rock with the names of the victims who lost their lives during the lightning struggle while fighting Triglav. Since I knew from earlier times that Triglav became the so-called lightning conductor of Europe in the event of a sudden change in weather, thanks to some sections secured by staples and steel railings, it was the only time that frost ran down my back every time I passed such a monument. However, the weather is good, we take photos along the way, we make love, Evka and Verča sometimes take a break for a cigarette and move on. After a few hours, the terrain becomes more difficult, more demanding, we pull the ferrata set out of the backpack, put on our helmets and focus each on ourselves. Along the way, we will refresh ourselves with ice water from mountain springs flowing thanks to the glacier below the peak. The first is Kamča, right behind me and after looking back I find out that Evka and Verča are somehow behind. The first thing that occurs to me is that they took a break for smoking again, and that they will run out of us. But the gap between us is widening, so Kamča and I are stopping and waiting for the rest of the team. When we are all together again, Kamča and I have a bad news ahead of us. Evka tells us that she can no longer have to go, that she will follow us slowly. We were only halfway through the ascent, we were getting very late and time was running relentlessly. So we took breaks to rest more and more often, at the signpost connecting our path with another, rather descending path called Pot Čez Prag, Verča also admits that he no longer has the strength to go further. We had already completed the demanding ferrata section, but another difficult climb over Mali Triglav (2739 m above sea level) was just waiting for us. But none of the girls wanted to give up. Due to inexperience and ignorance, the girls remained calm, on the contrary, plans and thoughts about how to manage it in time began to form in my head. We crossed the snow field, greeted a few alpine ibex, the company is done by a group of German-speaking tourists. It's 16:00 and we are just passing the Triglav House (2,515 m above sea level), where after evaluating the situation, I suggest sleeping in this cottage and descending in the morning. The girls immediately reject this possibility with the words: „We can do it, the boys turned it around in one day as well.“ Soon we are standing under the top of Malý Triglav. We board the sparingly secured ferrata and on a very exposed sidewalk after an hour we stand on the top of Triglav by a metal „rocket“ called Aljažev stolp (2864 m above sea level). Evka and Verča are exhausted, but happy that they did it. But I know from experience that the worst is yet to come – a few hours journey back to Aljažev Dom. We stand on the „roof“ of the Julian Alps for a few minutes and try to memorize the beautiful views of the surrounding hills, take a few photos and it's time to go down. I notice that the clouds from the west are increasing, and given that we have been 4 hours late on the way up, it is quite understandable how long it will take us to go down, and I am not talking about the exhaustion of two members of our team. On the way back to the Triglav House, I look back a few times, and when the steel clouds are accompanied by a light thunder, I declare a clear opinion: „Girls, we stay here overnight, we will meet in the morning. Storm clouds are approaching from the west, and the way down will take us as much time as the way up, we can't risk it. ”I only get dissenting answers, saying we'll make it. I will do nothing, I will tell them a few more times that their decision is not the right one, but it is worth it. And my nature will not allow me to divide the team. Before 6 pm we set out on a journey back, a journey that will soon turn into a struggle for life and which I will never forget in my life. We are slowly descending, the step of Evka and Verča is becoming more and more difficult, the distances between us are increasing. We no longer meet anyone on the way down, who climbed that day, stays upstairs in the cottage and returns in the morning. As recommended. Accompanied by thunder and dazzling lightning, storm clouds approach the sacred mountain and begin to warn us. The sky opens and it starts to rain heavily. The mountain locks us and we have no idea what he plans to do with us. The moment we descend the last secured section, where we are fastened with iron carabiners to the iron railings and staples, all the monuments we met on the way up are reflected in my head. Nobody wants there to be more, at least not because the girls don't know their meaning. And now I certainly do not have the right time to explain them. Evka unbuckles the last carabiner, we hide the equipment in a backpack. I try my best to encourage the girls to walk faster, so that we can get at least a few meters lower as soon as possible, where the risk of being struck by lightning is reduced by at least a little. However, due to heavy rain, the terrain becomes much more challenging, slippery, and therefore we must make greater efforts to ensure that neither of us slips and descends the steep, rocky wall. We come to a crossroads where Kamča suggests: "It's shorter to the right here, let's go this way.“ Evka and Verča now hear every word of salvation, I am more careful and I reject this suggestion. I try to convince the girls again: „Let's go the same way, there is no time to waste time.“ Unfortunately, the dominance again, so we set off on a narrow path to the right. I try to keep a cool head, I remember all the instructions „How to behave in the mountains during a storm“, which I did not happen to read two days before departure. Suddenly I shout, „Poles, immediately put those hiking poles in your backpack!“ The girls don't understand, they can't think logically, they start to be shocked. Now Kamča joined my party to the exhausted Verča, Evče also added to the situation. After an hour and a half of walking through unfamiliar terrain, we are stopped by a 4 meter wide snow tongue with a slope of 45 degrees, which we have to cross. Before I can evaluate the situation, Kamča puts on his cats, with horror in his eyes and with his knees knocked, he is about to step on, thanks to heavy rain, soft snow. I stop her immediately, this is too risky, Verča and Evka panic and cry. Between sobs, I recognize the words, „I don't want to die, I want to see my son.“ I'd rather slap the girls on both sides to recover, but for now, I'm just raising my voice and deciding to return immediately to the signpost. But that means another hour and a half in an extra storm and heavy rain. My heart is beating in my throat, I try to drive away the worst thoughts as fast as they come. After a few meters we come across a smaller cave, the meaning of which is the only thing for girls, to hide there. I am against it again, because it is another waste of time and it is not as safe as it may seem at first glance. They want to wait there until morning, begging me to call a helicopter, but neither option is acceptable to me. I ask them, „Do you have drinks and food until the morning, do you have dry clothes so that we don't catch a cold?“ I knew the answers in advance: „We don't.“ The helicopter was unthinkable, first of all in that mental strain none of us could describe exactly where we were. , secondly, the terrain was difficult to access, so that the rescue operation could not be carried out, all in all, a strong storm, wind and rain made the conditions for any action more difficult. We climb as far as possible into the muddy cave, take off our backpacks and just squat. Evka and Verča are the worst off, they started vomiting and moaning hysterically. Kamcha is also at the bottom mentally, but at least he is quiet. I try not to get carried away by them, I take an empty bottle of water and fill it with drops running down the edge of the rock. I remember what part of the road and what obstacles we still have ahead of us, but now there is no going back. It seems to us that the storm has calmed down a bit, we are climbing out of the cave, we are looking around as if we have just woken up from a dream. The storm moved to the northeast, lightning was visible only from a distance. I'm the first to take a brisk step. the girls hold together and support and comfort each other. Suddenly it thunders over our heads and it is clear to us that the storm is back. Another wave of despair, fear and hopelessness overwhelms us, but as they say, hope dies last. It was as if nature was telling us that it was not over with us yet. I believe that the girls are beginning to blame themselves at the moment for not staying in that hut below the summit until morning, but now it is too late for any remorse. We are now and here, in the focus of a storm, on a mountain that is among the first to be struck by lightning in Europe. At the moment when a strong stream of muddy, stony water rolling from the wall to the right crosses our path, I will also be uncertain. I ask myself: „This is where we went, is this the right way?“ There is not much time to think and compare the way with the map, there is no time to go back and look for an alternative way, so we work together to cross the newly created river and move on. We will encounter more such surprises on the route, all thanks to heavy rain, which totally changed the character of the terrain. Fortunately, on one stone I see a road sign, which is an indicator of accuracy. There is relief, at least temporary. Because the dry riverbed of the river Triglavska Bistrica, which we crossed in the morning shortly after leaving the cottage, is now becoming absolutely impossible for us. Muddy water rolls over the rocks, a strong current pulls down branches and tree trunks. It's still raining hard, thunder bouncing off the walls of the mountain, lightning is lighting the sky into incredible scenes. The storm turns several more times, as if it doesn't want to say goodbye to us. But now we are devoting all our attention to making a plan to get to the other side of this turbulent river. We try to go upstream and downstream, just to find at least a little feasible place. Finally, we find ourselves knee-deep in water, but safe on the other side. As if this river were the last test, the symbolic door we closed behind us. We feel great relief, yet there is exhaustion in the group. We walk through a forest along the river until the light from Aljažev Dom flickers among the trees. I can't believe my eyes, we are safe, healthy and alive. The girls are walking a few meters behind me. The owner of the house welcomes us on the terrace, hugs us all crying like her own daughters and is happy to see us again. He looks at his watch, hands show 23:50. In a trembling voice, she adds, „I was determined to wait until midnight, then I would declare a search operation for you.“ We thank her, we can't do more, but sometimes not a word is needed. We move silently into the room, each falling asleep with his thoughts. The next day we have a journey home, during which a special atmosphere reigns, as if everyone was washing with their own feelings. Whether it is feelings of victory, defeat or humility, we are happy to be alive and well back on the highway leading home. I can't explain it other than that nature wanted us to stay here, it gave us a second chance. A chance to be better, and to show that we understand the meaning of „play“. It was a huge experience for me, and every time I take someone to the mountains, I will follow the „Trust but check“ rule. I have even more respect and esteem for the mountains than I had before Triglav. Whether it is the Jeseníky, the Krknoše or the Alps, I always go to the mountains with humility. As Julius Kugy, the famous explorer of the Julian Alps, wrote in his book (From the life of a mountaineer) „Triglav is not just a mountain, Triglav is a kingdom.“ He couldn't have gotten better. It is a kingdom where everyone has the door open, it depends on everyone whether they close the door or the mountain lets them back.

We start at Bled

A short stop on Lake Bled

This peak attracts many tourists, travelers and mountain lovers. Therefore, after a long discussion, we put together a four-member group, whose members I am as the most experienced mountaineer, Kamča, which has already climbed to Triglav, and therefore I have great support, another member is Verča, an experienced climber and her friend Evka, who is a little experienced tourism, it is a huge challenge for her – as it is for each of us. Our route is planned with a stop in the town of Bled, where we drive along Lake Bled on a vessel called pletna, on the island of Blejsky Otok we taste excellent local ice cream and rush back to the car. We continue to Jezernica, in Mojstrana we turn left and along a dusty, rocky, steeply rising road we arrive at the Aljažev House (1,015 m above sea level) – a mountain hut in the Vrata valley, which will become our refuge for the next two days. The next day we wake up to a beautiful, sunny day and at 8:00 in the morning and with basic equipment (cats, ferrata seat and helmets), food and drink for the whole day we set off from the parking lot first along a wide, stony path that takes us to the Monument to the Fallen guerrillas. After a short while, we turn left, where we cross the dry river Triglavska Bistrica and embark on Tomišek's path, one of the three traditional paths leading to the top. Now we have been walking uphill for several hours. Quite often on the way we pass monuments nailed to the rock with the names of the victims who lost their lives during the lightning struggle while fighting Triglav. Since I knew from earlier times that Triglav became the so-called lightning conductor of Europe in the event of a sudden change in weather, thanks to some sections secured by staples and steel railings, it was the only time that frost ran down my back every time I passed such a monument. However, the weather is good, we take photos along the way, we make love, Evka and Verča sometimes take a break for a cigarette and move on. After a few hours, the terrain becomes more difficult, more demanding, we pull the ferrata set out of the backpack, put on our helmets and focus each on ourselves. Along the way, we will refresh ourselves with ice water from mountain springs flowing thanks to the glacier below the peak. The first is Kamča, right behind me and after looking back I find out that Evka and Verča are somehow behind. The first thing that occurs to me is that they took a break for smoking again, and that they will run out of us. But the gap between us is widening, so Kamča and I are stopping and waiting for the rest of the team. When we are all together again, Kamča and I have a bad news ahead of us. Evka tells us that she can no longer have to go, that she will follow us slowly. We were only halfway through the ascent, we were getting very late and time was running relentlessly. So we took breaks to rest more and more often, at the signpost connecting our path with another, rather descending path called Pot Čez Prag, Verča also admits that he no longer has the strength to go further. We had already completed the demanding ferrata section, but another difficult climb over Mali Triglav (2739 m above sea level) was just waiting for us. But none of the girls wanted to give up. Due to inexperience and ignorance, the girls remained calm, on the contrary, plans and thoughts about how to manage it in time began to form in my head. We crossed the snow field, greeted a few alpine ibex, the company is done by a group of German-speaking tourists. It's 16:00 and we are just passing the Triglav House (2,515 m above sea level), where after evaluating the situation, I suggest sleeping in this cottage and descending in the morning. The girls immediately reject this possibility with the words: „We can do it, the boys turned it around in one day as well.“ Soon we are standing under the top of Malý Triglav. We board the sparingly secured ferrata and on a very exposed sidewalk after an hour we stand on the top of Triglav by a metal „rocket“ called Aljažev stolp (2864 m above sea level). Evka and Verča are exhausted, but happy that they did it. But I know from experience that the worst is yet to come – a few hours journey back to Aljažev Dom. We stand on the „roof“ of the Julian Alps for a few minutes and try to memorize the beautiful views of the surrounding hills, take a few photos and it's time to go down. I notice that the clouds from the west are increasing, and given that we have been 4 hours late on the way up, it is quite understandable how long it will take us to go down, and I am not talking about the exhaustion of two members of our team. On the way back to the Triglav House, I look back a few times, and when the steel clouds are accompanied by a light thunder, I declare a clear opinion: „Girls, we stay here overnight, we will meet in the morning. Storm clouds are approaching from the west, and the way down will take us as much time as the way up, we can't risk it. ”I only get dissenting answers, saying we'll make it. I will do nothing, I will tell them a few more times that their decision is not the right one, but it is worth it. And my nature will not allow me to divide the team. Before 6 pm we set out on a journey back, a journey that will soon turn into a struggle for life and which I will never forget in my life. We are slowly descending, the step of Evka and Verča is becoming more and more difficult, the distances between us are increasing. We no longer meet anyone on the way down, who climbed that day, stays upstairs in the cottage and returns in the morning. As recommended. Accompanied by thunder and dazzling lightning, storm clouds approach the sacred mountain and begin to warn us. The sky opens and it starts to rain heavily. The mountain locks us and we have no idea what he plans to do with us. The moment we descend the last secured section, where we are fastened with iron carabiners to the iron railings and staples, all the monuments we met on the way up are reflected in my head. Nobody wants there to be more, at least not because the girls don't know their meaning. And now I certainly do not have the right time to explain them. Evka unbuckles the last carabiner, we hide the equipment in a backpack. I try my best to encourage the girls to walk faster, so that we can get at least a few meters lower as soon as possible, where the risk of being struck by lightning is reduced by at least a little. However, due to heavy rain, the terrain becomes much more challenging, slippery, and therefore we must make greater efforts to ensure that neither of us slips and descends the steep, rocky wall. We come to a crossroads where Kamča suggests: "It's shorter to the right here, let's go this way.“ Evka and Verča now hear every word of salvation, I am more careful and I reject this suggestion. I try to convince the girls again: „Let's go the same way, there is no time to waste time.“ Unfortunately, the dominance again, so we set off on a narrow path to the right. I try to keep a cool head, I remember all the instructions „How to behave in the mountains during a storm“, which I did not happen to read two days before departure. Suddenly I shout, „Poles, immediately put those hiking poles in your backpack!“ The girls don't understand, they can't think logically, they start to be shocked. Now Kamča joined my party to the exhausted Verča, Evče also added to the situation. After an hour and a half of walking through unfamiliar terrain, we are stopped by a 4 meter wide snow tongue with a slope of 45 degrees, which we have to cross. Before I can evaluate the situation, Kamča puts on his cats, with horror in his eyes and with his knees knocked, he is about to step on, thanks to heavy rain, soft snow. I stop her immediately, this is too risky, Verča and Evka panic and cry. Between sobs, I recognize the words, „I don't want to die, I want to see my son.“ I'd rather slap the girls on both sides to recover, but for now, I'm just raising my voice and deciding to return immediately to the signpost. But that means another hour and a half in an extra storm and heavy rain. My heart is beating in my throat, I try to drive away the worst thoughts as fast as they come. After a few meters we come across a smaller cave, the meaning of which is the only thing for girls, to hide there. I am against it again, because it is another waste of time and it is not as safe as it may seem at first glance. They want to wait there until morning, begging me to call a helicopter, but neither option is acceptable to me. I ask them, „Do you have drinks and food until the morning, do you have dry clothes so that we don't catch a cold?“ I knew the answers in advance: „We don't.“ The helicopter was unthinkable, first of all in that mental strain none of us could describe exactly where we were. , secondly, the terrain was difficult to access, so that the rescue operation could not be carried out, all in all, a strong storm, wind and rain made the conditions for any action more difficult. We climb as far as possible into the muddy cave, take off our backpacks and just squat. Evka and Verča are the worst off, they started vomiting and moaning hysterically. Kamcha is also at the bottom mentally, but at least he is quiet. I try not to get carried away by them, I take an empty bottle of water and fill it with drops running down the edge of the rock. I remember what part of the road and what obstacles we still have ahead of us, but now there is no going back. It seems to us that the storm has calmed down a bit, we are climbing out of the cave, we are looking around as if we have just woken up from a dream. The storm moved to the northeast, lightning was visible only from a distance. I'm the first to take a brisk step. the girls hold together and support and comfort each other. Suddenly it thunders over our heads and it is clear to us that the storm is back. Another wave of despair, fear and hopelessness overwhelms us, but as they say, hope dies last. It was as if nature was telling us that it was not over with us yet. I believe that the girls are beginning to blame themselves at the moment for not staying in that hut below the summit until morning, but now it is too late for any remorse. We are now and here, in the focus of a storm, on a mountain that is among the first to be struck by lightning in Europe. At the moment when a strong stream of muddy, stony water rolling from the wall to the right crosses our path, I will also be uncertain. I ask myself: „This is where we went, is this the right way?“ There is not much time to think and compare the way with the map, there is no time to go back and look for an alternative way, so we work together to cross the newly created river and move on. We will encounter more such surprises on the route, all thanks to heavy rain, which totally changed the character of the terrain. Fortunately, on one stone I see a road sign, which is an indicator of accuracy. There is relief, at least temporary. Because the dry riverbed of the river Triglavska Bistrica, which we crossed in the morning shortly after leaving the cottage, is now becoming absolutely impossible for us. Muddy water rolls over the rocks, a strong current pulls down branches and tree trunks. It's still raining hard, thunder bouncing off the walls of the mountain, lightning is lighting the sky into incredible scenes. The storm turns several more times, as if it doesn't want to say goodbye to us. But now we are devoting all our attention to making a plan to get to the other side of this turbulent river. We try to go upstream and downstream, just to find at least a little feasible place. Finally, we find ourselves knee-deep in water, but safe on the other side. As if this river were the last test, the symbolic door we closed behind us. We feel great relief, yet there is exhaustion in the group. We walk through a forest along the river until the light from Aljažev Dom flickers among the trees. I can't believe my eyes, we are safe, healthy and alive. The girls are walking a few meters behind me. The owner of the house welcomes us on the terrace, hugs us all crying like her own daughters and is happy to see us again. He looks at his watch, hands show 23:50. In a trembling voice, she adds, „I was determined to wait until midnight, then I would declare a search operation for you.“ We thank her, we can't do more, but sometimes not a word is needed. We move silently into the room, each falling asleep with his thoughts. The next day we have a journey home, during which a special atmosphere reigns, as if everyone was washing with their own feelings. Whether it is feelings of victory, defeat or humility, we are happy to be alive and well back on the highway leading home. I can't explain it other than that nature wanted us to stay here, it gave us a second chance. A chance to be better, and to show that we understand the meaning of „play“. It was a huge experience for me, and every time I take someone to the mountains, I will follow the „Trust but check“ rule. I have even more respect and esteem for the mountains than I had before Triglav. Whether it is the Jeseníky, the Krknoše or the Alps, I always go to the mountains with humility. As Julius Kugy, the famous explorer of the Julian Alps, wrote in his book (From the life of a mountaineer) „Triglav is not just a mountain, Triglav is a kingdom.“ He couldn't have gotten better. It is a kingdom where everyone has the door open, it depends on everyone whether they close the door or the mountain lets them back.

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