crab, Cook Islands
crab, Cook Islands
  • Bled Sweat and Triglav
    • 22/09/2019
Impossible to argue with how photogenic lake bled is, and the lake is a delight to swim in. Hard to imagine a better tourist honeypot, thank noodles it isn't the height of the summer season!

After an extra day chilling out its a short hop to lake Bohinj, a bigger body of water in a glacial valley, surrounded by towering cliff faces. The real peaks are hidden behind these walls, shrouded in clouds.

The target is Triglav, highest peak in the Julian Alps at 2863m.
Starting from the valley at 600m above sea level, this meant a two day trip, staying overnight in Dolic hut a mere couple of hours below the summit.
Unfortunately the glorious weather is not forecast to continue for two days straight until Friday, so Tuesday I climbed Vogel, a mere 1900m, in low clouds so no views, Wednesday I lay in bed with aching muscles, listening to the rain outside, and Thursday I perambulated around the lake to loosen up again.

So Friday morning, sunny start, with the usual mist hanging over the lake burning off already at 8am.
The approach began with a steep climb from Lake Bohnij, weaving back and forth up a somehow wooded cliff which from a distance looked impassable, but wasn't a problem, to reach a kind of plateau and the valley of seven lakes, beautiful clear water with blue and green hues, surrounded by towering peaks. Scenery magnifique.
After lunch of sauerkraut and bratwurst at the 7 lakes hut, the trial then climbed above the tree line over lots of annoying scree, onto a surreal moonscape of a plateau, populated by two friendly goats.
Arrived at Dolic hut around 5pm, to find a log fire going, drop toilets, and some confusion over whether my bed was actually reserved, and at least twenty people already hovering on the "wait list" to take any spare beds, or at worst end up sleeping on the dining room floor. Fortunately I did get a bed, though the chorus of snoring in the large shared dorm meant hardly a sound nights sleep, but fatigue and cosiness of many blankets helped. Beautiful clear starry skies outside and temperatures dropping towards zero.

Day 2, and some people left before sunrise to beat the crowds to the summit - apparently the huts on the other side of the peak hold over 500 people and they will all be coming the other way on a narrow ridge, but I am not going to miss out on my bacon and eggs so it's 8am before i set out with the landscape still shaded from the sun.
The climb to the summit involves some assistance from man made holds and chains, and stopping often to look at the increasingly spectacular panoramic views - impossible to walk and admire the view simultaneously without falling off a cliff.
When i hit the top at 10am it is indeed standing room only and a queue for photo ops. You can see Italy, Austria, the sea, etc miles everywhere. Helicopters and buzzing around below, delivering supplies to the huts.
And then the hairy bit, the via ferrata to Mali Triglav, the secondary peak. There is a chain all the way, although despite the recommendations to bring a harness with carabiniers and a helmet, only about 10% of people who have them are bothering to use them. The ridge is not very wide, making passing oncoming traffic rather nervewracking given the shear drops either side and the way all the rocks have been worn smooth by many boots, and the rest of the surface being loose scree...
My water bottle can't take any more, and slips out of the outside pocket of my rucksack to tumble agonisingly down the side of the mountain, bouncing increasingly far, smashing into rocks until it disappears out of sight. Now I feel bad for littering and because I've had that cheapo bog standard bike bottle for about twenty years.
But I'm obviously making a meal of it with my slightly jelly legs as plenty of people are racing past without a care in the world. To be fair, without the exposure I wouldn't think twice about each step and foot placement like I am, but there is the exposure
Finally down to Planika hut after what seems like an age, and a nerve calming / celebratory beer. The path is easy from here on, although still 1500m of descent to the valley, which I spend cheerily greeting people huffing and puffing up the other way, thinking "there's no chance they will make it to the top".

Understandable amount of fatigue this morning, but not as bad as on Wednesday so fairly pleased and head on 50km down the road - no big climbs today though, and the prospect of the legendary 1700m Vrsic pass tomorrow is not one my legs are currently relishing. Maybe it will rain tomorrow and I can have another day off!


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