PEAK 23: Slovenia – Triglav

Triglav Mountain is very popular among Slovenians. Apart from the fact that the mountain itself is on the state flag, there is also an unwritten law that every Slovenian should climb to the top at least once in a lifetime. I was respectful of the mountain because I was unable to conquer it for the first time when I was 12 years old. How did it go this time?

Date of summit: 17th August 2018 6:00 
Traveling mode: Hiking 
Height of the peak: 2,864m 
Hiking distance: 6.85 km (Day 1) 
Hiking distance: 1.52 km (Day 2) 
Time to ascend From Aljažev Dom to Chata na Kredarici: 4 hours 25 minutes 
Time to ascend from Chata na Kredarici to Triglav: 1 hour
Map of my hiking journey to  Aljažev Dom to Chata na Kredarici: Movescount
Map of my hiking journey from  Chata na Kredarici to Triglav: Movescount
Personal rating of the mountain: *****  (6 stars maximum) 
Beer on the peak: Union Black Unfiltered ***** (6 stars maximum) 

I took a night train to Slovenia after the successful summiting of the mountain Zugspitze. I arrived in the Slovenian city of Jesenice already at 5 a.m. so I was still tired. That’s why I didn’t hesitate, and I unfolded my sleeping mat on the ground at Jesenice train station. I was so glad I wasn’t the only weirdo. Two Spaniards joined me, so I had no regrets to spend another night as a homeless man.

After two hours of pleasant sleep I went to a local bakery. Slanac for 0.40 EUR (typical local savory pastries) and krafne for 0.60 EUR (a typical local donut) stunned me after experiencing Western European prices. I had a great feast, which made waiting for my friend Mara more pleasant. Together we were supposed to reach the next summit.

Aljažev Dom
Time to climb Triglav

He arrived shortly and we immediately moved to the hut of Aljažev Dom, which is the best-known starting point for the mountain Triglav. The hike began roughly. We chose the more demanding Tominsek route, which offers both beautiful via ferrata and traverses across a deep slope.

Steep parts on the via ferrata on the way to Triglav
Some parts are very steep on the via ferrata on the way to Triglav

The nature of the Julian Alps still stayed in my memory. Many times, during the hike I remembered my first visit. When I was twelve, my parents and their acquaintances with their children decided to summit Triglav. However, they made a major mistake. They decided to ascend and descend Triglav in one single day. Why the rush? For less trained individuals (which they definitely were that time, sorry mum) and especially for children, it can be a too big challenge. I and the other children only climbed up to the Kredarica Hut, where we waited for our parents to return from the summit of Triglav. Or better said if they’d come back at all. In my child’s eyes, I didn’t give it a big chance. The thunderclouds on the surrounding hills looked pretty scary. Fortunately, the parents probably knew what they were doing and successfully returned from the top of Triglav.

That’s why I and my friend Mara decided to divide the climb in two days. In the end, the opening ascent of 1700 meters of altitude took us 4.5 hours and we were at the Kredarica Hut. There was no mountain spring water along the way, so we were very thirsty.

We immediately attacked the local bar and ordered a beer. After a few zips of the beer we felt refreshed and started to talk to local tourists. We were particularly interested in why the Slovenians were repeatedly talking about some “otrok” and pointing onto their children (Slovenian word “otrok” means “slave” in Czech). We asked what the “otrok” meant. The father in the family we talked to proudly pointed to his child: “This is my otrok in Slovenian.” What a lucky kid. How beautiful translations can be across Slavic languages.

The Kredarica Hut had a pleasant atmosphere. At each table tourists planned the climb for the following day while eating their dinner and drinking beer. Fortunately, it was forbidden to “kadit” at the table, as the signs on the wall showed (Slovenian word “kadit” means “to smoke” in English. In Czech it means “to shit”). Those who wanted to smoke had to go out (we were glad for that). I would say that the father of people of Slavic nations had made a lot of verbal puns from the mentioned languages.

From the funny conversation with the locals, we were only disturbed by the sunset, which drew us out with its radiant golden color. And what a view it was! In the end, it showed up to be one of the most beautiful sunsets of my entire expedition. The clouds were flowing over the saddle and it created a beautiful show.

Epic view over Triglav during sunset
Epic view over Triglav during sunset

We really enjoyed this view. On the other hand, we were concerned about what kind of climb was waiting for us the following day. The initial part of the climb looked very steep. Is it possible to establish a safe route in such terrain? Mara even declared that he was not going anywhere the next day. To my remark that even my mom conquered the mountain he couldn’t give up though : “When your mom made it, I must too.”

Expect very steep climb before reaching Triglav
Expect very steep climb before reaching Triglav

After the sun show, we went to bed so we could get up at 5 in the morning to climb to the top of Triglav and catch the sunrise from the summit. In our room, however, we found out that all of us were Czechs, so we started talking late.

The morning wake up was difficult, but it definitely paid off. We avoided the crowds of cheering tourists climbing to the top. On the way to Triglav, we did not meet any single tourist who would slow us down on the narrow path or via ferrate, or would even threaten us, and the ascent to the summit was ideally timed for the sunrise. It was a real beauty from the summit. We could not wish for better weather and we had the whole of Slovenia under us. It was great visibility, so we could even see the distant Grossglockner in Austria.

The top of Triglav during spectacular sunrise
The top of Triglav during spectacular sunrise

The way down took us half an hour longer than the ascent. The tourists started to form similar queues as I experienced earlier on Grossglockner. This time we didn’t mind though. The sun was shining, it was not cold, and the views were still breathtaking. When we returned to Kredarica Hut, the weather was perfect. To celebrate the ascent, we fell asleep on sunny benches for an hour.

After a well-deserved nap, we headed back to the valley. For the descent we chose the second route this time – Prag route. It was supposed to be less steep and therefore more gentle for the knees. However, it was very similar to the first route in my opinion. While descending I chose my favorite method – the quicker you go, the faster you will have it behind you, and I managed to run down the whole hill in 2h45 minutes. I waited for my colleague while having a refreshing beverage.

Half an hour passed, then another hour passed, and Mara was still nowhere to be seen. I remembered my mom 15 years earlier as she returned in the darkness and could hardly walk. Will a similar fate await even Mara? After an hour and a half, he finally managed to come back, apparently tired as hell. What’s important, we’ve both made it.

After a quick snack, we headed to the renowned Bled Lake to relax. We weren´t keen on waking up very early in the morning, but we did it in the end. The sunrise over Lake Bled with its picturesque isle and the church in the middle, sounded tempting. And it was worth it. A beautiful spectacle. I haven’t seen many more romantic places. I understand why Bled is a popular place for lovers. Around the lake we met more or less only couples in love holding each other´s hands. Pity that I was at Bled only with Mara and not my girlfriend that time.

Sunrise over the lake Bled
Sunrise over the lake Bled

My tips for climbing the mountain Triglav:

  • Stay over in the Kredarica Hut. There is no hurry to climb Triglav in just one day. You will avoid an afternoon storm which is very frequent during summer and you will be able to enjoy beautiful sunset from Kredarica.
  • Wake up very early for the summit day. You will avoid the crowds.
  • If you have an extra day, spend it around the lake Bled.
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