25 November 2009

Climbing Grintovec

I've climbed Grintovec many times, but never in wintertime. With the weather being so warm, sunny and stable, it was only logical to head to the mountains. It had snowed a couple of weeks ago, but most of the snow melted, leaving only patches above 1600 meters above sea level. Crampons weren't necessary, although I did put them in my backpack.

It didn't take long to persuade my brother Peter to come along. We started walking well before dawn and despite the dark we opted to turn our headlamps off. The trail was barely visible, but that didn't bother us. Soon, the purple dawn appeared above Velika planina.

Soon the rock faces above us glowed yellow and orange as the sun appeared from above the horizon.

The valley was full of yellow fog.

It had been quite warm up until then, but as soon as we reached the Kokra Saddle, the wind from the southwest almost blew us over. We hastily put on jackets, caps and gloves before continuing.

Now there was more and more snow along the trail. The early morning light was as spectacular as always. Some people were already returning from the top!

Looking towards the southwest we saw the fog in the valley.

The last stretch below the summit - yikes, it drags on forever! The wind didn't help either; it was so strong it was hard to walk in a straight line.

Finally at the top! We didn't stay here long because of the wind, we just quickly took in the views, snapped a few photos and headed back down.

The panorama was to die for.

Other climbers were struggling against the wind, too. Do you see the snow particles flying around in the air?

Going down was a breeze. We just slid down the slope, Peter even managed to fall once. :)

Further down, where the wind subsided a little, I was finally able to change lenses and put a telephoto on to take closer shots of the surrounding mountains. Štruca and Skuta.

Velika planina and the fog rolling in in the background.

Ojstrica, Planjava and Brana.

A scree slope.

Somebody was bored. :)

Grintovec in all its glory.

It was still windy at the Kokra Saddle.

The view towards the Kamniška Bistrica valley, which was filled with a mixture of smog and fog, was magnificent

We saw a girl in only a T-shirt! I would have frozen to death.

What can I say? It was such a beautiful day that staying home would have been a major sin for me. The sun, the exhilaration, the views, it's what makes me want to climb mountains again and again.

More photos here.

23 November 2009

The church at Javorca and a few glimpses from the Karst

In late October Luka, Mary and I explored western Slovenia. First thing in the morning we drove to the Tolminka valley, climbing the winding gravel road to the end of the valley where there is a small memorial church of the Austro-Hungarian army, built during WWI. The setting at the foot of the mountains is very picturesque and so is the church itself. Unfortunately it was closed so we couldn't admire its ornate interior.

Then we headed to the south to explore the Karst. Fall colors weren't peaking yet, but we did manage to find some fiery red smoketree.

Even some vineyards displayed the lovely red and yellow leaves.

More photos here.

14 November 2009

Sunset on Kamniski vrh

As I was driving to the starting point of the Kamniški vrh trail two days ago, I kept thinking of Tomaž Humar, hoping he would be rescued from the mountain. Sadly, this was not to be. Tomaž, I dedicate this post to you - a sunset from the hill above your home.

11 November 2009

Pericnik waterfall

After flying over the Julian Alps in the morning there was more than a half day waiting for us to take more photos. Luka, Mary and I headed to the Vrata valley to admire the Pericnik waterfall. Seeing it in winter with its myriad of icicles is magical, but so is its fall environment. We had the place to ourselves, which is a good enough reason to visit places like this during the week.

Finally we drove to the Aljaz hut for some lunch, and of course we couldn't help ourselves but walk at least to the famous monument with gorgeous views of Triglav.

More photos here.