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Length: 11.0km, Creator time taken: 8h35m, Ascent: 790m, Descent: 808m
Places:Start at Lon 19.0669, Lat 49.2573, end at Start Logged as completed by 1
For video of route see: http://youtu.be/hGhE785tBNE
As is common with many Eastern European countries, Slovakia has an excellent network of signed trails of varying grades. These are usually well signed (coloured markers and direction pointers) and in the National Parks in Slovakia it is illegal to walk off the marked trails. Most of the trails in Slovakia are used in the summer months and in some areas (such as the High Tatras) trails are closed from November to June. Despite these restrictions, some of the lower altitude trails in Slovakia present excellent opportunities for winter walks if you have the correct equipment. Snowshoes are essential and crampons may be needed for steeper sections of the routes. The route described here is situated in the Mala Fatra Mountains National Park to the south of the village of Terchova in the Zilina region of northern Slovakia. The mountains are composed of limestone karst and the route initially follows the line of the Diery River as it passes through a series of spectacular gorges.
Start at the Hotel Diery, a few kilometres east of Terchova (the hotel is a great place to stay and serves excellent food). Follow the signed trail south from the hotel as it heads into the forestry. After about 600m the river valley begins to narrow and this is the start of the Lower Horne Diery gorge. In summer the gorge is filled with numerous waterfalls and these are surmounted using fixed ladders (and occasional chains). In winter, frozen ice and snow cover many of these fixed aids making progress hard. The ladders can (just) be climbed in snowshoes. In places where the ascent was steep we changed our snow shoes for crampons. Two kilometres from the start the gorge ends and a broad flat area is reached (Podžiar) where there is a small cafe which is open in the summer months. For a shorter route it is possible to take the yellow trail from Podžiar to the village of Stefanova and catch a bus back to Terchova.
From Podžiar, the route turns east and enters the upper Horne Diery gorge. There are more ladders on this section before the terrain again opens out and the route follows a long gentle ascent to a col (Medzirozsutce) at an altitude of 1200m which separates the summits of Maly Rozsutec (1343m) and Velkey Rozsutec (1609m). At the col turn left and head NNW across a plateau (the route finding here was tricky in winter as deep freshly drifted snow covered the plateau). Another small col is reached after 450m and the summit of Maly Rozsutec rears steeply upwards on your left. The summit is crowned by a ring of high limestone cliffs which look almost impenetrable. From this second col the route ascends steeply in a westerly direction to the tree line at the base of the cliffs. The use of crampons is essential on the ascent (and descent of Maly Rozsutec) in winter and a rope might be useful for less experienced climbers. The cliffs are ascended following a small steep gully at the eastern end of the mountain. The route here is very exposed with large drops to the right side. In some places there are chains and metal bars to aid the ascent, but in winter many of these were buried in snow. The final part of the gully is particularly hard in winter entailing surmounting a short but steep ice and snow covered rock face (in summer this section is relatively easy as there would be good hand and foot holds as well as the fixed aids). A slip on this section in winter could prove fatal. At the top of the gulley a steep walk in a westerly direction leads to the summit of Maly Rozsutec.
The descent from Maly Rozsuctec in winter is nearly as hard as the ascent. From the summit walk NNW for about 25m until a green trail marker is seen and descend the steep gulley to the west (on your left). Again there are chains in parts of the gulley but these were often buried in deep snow. On the steeper sections of the gulley we had to face the mountainside front pointing with our crampons. The gulley ends at altitude of about 1200m and the route now follows a steep track through the forestry (be careful not to deviate left, south, as there are steep cliffs nearby). After 800m the route turns north and crosses a ridge line to descend steadily towards the small village of Podrozsutec. When we passed though the village it was totally cut off by snow and uninhabited; we assume that it is only occupied in summer either as holiday chalets and/or by transhumance farmers. In the village we swapped our crampons back to snow shoes again. Three hundred meters north of Podrozsutec the route turns west again (ignore the obvious track which continues northwards as to follow this will bring you back to the main road, but 4km east of your start). Now there is a gradual descent back to the start point at the Hotel Diery.
In summer this is a popular and relatively easy walk which takes an estimated 6.5 hours. It is a lot more serious in winter and took us 8.5 hours. The final part of the descent was undertaken in darkness, so a head touch is essential, as well as snowshoes and crampons. An ice axe and helmet are also advisable, and perhaps a rope to protect less experienced climbers.
Uploaded on: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 (11:56:21) Trackback: http://mountainviews.ie/track/2068/ To download GPS tracks you must be enrolled and logged in. See "Login or enrol", top right - quick and easy.
Note: ALL information such as Ascent, Length and Creator time taken etc should be regarded as approximate. The creator's comments are opinions and may not be accurate or still correct.
Your time to complete will depend on your speed plus break time and your mode of transport. For walkers: Naismith's rule, a rough and often inaccurate estimate, suggests a time of 3h 31m + time stopped for breaks
Note: It is up to you to ensure that your route is appropriate for you and your party to follow bearing in mind all factors such as safety, weather conditions, experience and access permission.