Hike above the Elbe canyon
One of the best snowshoes or cross-country skiing trip in the Giant Mountains is from Vrbatova bouda (“Vrbata´s mountain hut”) to Vysoke kolo and back. Enjoy here the views not only of Bohemia, Poland and of both main ridges of the Giant Mountains: Silesian and Czech.
View of Snezka from Vrbatova bouda
After you finish the necessary warm-up part of this trip (start from Horni Misecky along the old military road to Vrbatova bouda – 4.5 km and 360 vertical meters (0.5 – 1 hour ), it will open a beautiful view of the western Giant Mountains. On the horizon you will see three highest mountains in the Czech Republic: Snezka, Studnicni hora andLucni hora. Among them there is Lucni bouda (“Meadow hut”) and the upper part of the valley of White Elbe.
Directly opposite you over Labsky dul (“The Elbe canyon”) you can see your destination for today – Vysoke Kolo (1,509 m asl ) – the highest mountain in western Giant Mountains. One way it is more than 6 km, so together with the way back to Horni Misecky count with at least 21 km. Except for Vysoke Kolo you can see also Labska bouda and Wawel.
Memorial of Hanc and Vrbata
Before you set out, ascend a short way over the hut to Vrbatovo navrsi (“Vrbata hillock”) and realistically assess your energy and weather here at the memorial of the two sadly deceased skiers – Hanc and Vrbata not to end up just like them.
Kotelni jama and Harrachovy kameny (“Har
A nice short side-trip leads to Harrachovy kameny (1 421 m asl), from where there are beautiful views of Podkrkonosi (“The foothills of Giant Mountains”) and Kotelni jama.
Hollow from Harrachovy kameny
View from Harrachovy kameny is great and it is even much nicer if there is an inversion.
At Pancava meadow
After that awaits you a short descent to Pančava meadow. The surrounding countryside looks almost virginal. Czech ridge looks from this side quite indistinctive – after all, it exceeds Pancava meadow only by a few tens of meters.
After half an hour you will be through pleasant cross-country skiing on meadows and the ascent to the main ridge of the Giant Mountains – Silesian ridge. Directly against you will be a small ice pyramid of Violik (1 472 m asl) – an interesting outlook point in the summer.
Vysoke Kolo across Snezne jamy (“Snow pi
The way then rises up to Snezne jamy – the largest glacier ravine in the Giant Mountains (of course, already without glacier). On the other side you can already see your main destination for today – the memorial on Vysoke Kolo.
Above Snezne jamy towers Wawel – a miniature copy of the royal castle in Krakow. Walking path bypasses Vysoke kolo north through Poland and the ascent to this mountain is officially prohibited. The slopes will probably be blown and slippery, so this final ascent will not be very easy.
On top of Vysoke kolo is in winter very frosted stone memorial. The visibility itself is not too amazing due to the flat top, but on the other hand it is also not bad.
The way back is exactly the same, only in the opposite direction. You will enjoy frost bitten trees and views of ridges in the late afternoon sun. In about an hour you will be back at Vrbatova bouda.
Bohemia under inversion
Before you descend back down to Horni Misecky, you can enjoy a wonderful inversion reigning over the rest of the country (however, if you're lucky, because it is the best time to visit the Giant Mountains).
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