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Author: Ilya Tchugereev, Moscow.
Photos: Ilya Tchugereev, Shtelmashenko Vladimir, Sergeev Andrew.
Trip to Croatia
The next day. The next route we had chosen was named in a funny matter like the previous one - Velbitaski. Generally speaking, such ridiculous for Russian ears names were formed as pet-names of large mountain massifs: Mosoraski - as a pet-name of the massive MOSOR and Velbitaski - as a pet-name of the massive VELEBIT. Thus, it again was morning and we again went to make an ascent. We again walked along the comfortable path, but that time we went a little bit farther. The route went along the center if the wall, to the left from a great overhang, that protruded like a nose of a ship from Anica Kuk.
Apropos, along the nose one of the most powerful routes - Spider, went. Level of climbing - 8a. They said, it was possible to pass it by free-climbing:-). And they also said that it was equipped with bolts. But we didn&rsquot go there - we couldn&rsquot climb such routes by free-climbing and didn&rsquot want to use self-made points of rest. We went a little bit to the left - and there it was - our route? Velbitaski. According to the deion it was 11 ropes long. Level of climbing - 6a - 6a+. A big green bush, rather brushwood, that staid to left from you, could be considered to be an orienteer. If you climb to the bush, it means that you miss your route. We climbed calmly and surely. Sometimes old hooks were met. All of stations were equipped. It was very even route, purely wall one. It could be considered the route of 5a-5b grade of difficulty, but for example, the route Seven (Semerka) on the Foros Kant was noticeably easier. Real level of the route was the same with the level of Rhombs (on the Foros Kant again). But the wall on Anica Kuk was more monolithic in the place where the route was built, too. The first interesting place we met in the first one third of the route. I climbed to a separate jut-tooth, protruding from the wall along the right, then descended along its left side in order to go the crack, going up. From that place lines of routes went everywhere. Our route was the easiest one. From that station (it was the 4 th - the 5 th station) further way was easy to understand - it went along the crack, and a good hold, located on the knee-level was seen to the right from me, but I couldn&rsquot reach it without using a piece of rope of a flight of stairs. I made a desperate attempt to reach it by leg by stroke and became staying in a trust. The second question appeared - how to get out from the position - the wall was very even. I remember boulderings in Moscow, put my arms on rubbing, made little push, dynamic motion - and I reached he next hold&hellip From downwards I heard Volodia&rsquos comments that in Crimea I hadn&rsquot done such interesting motions even on the routes of 6c grade of difficulty. We climbed further. The key strip we had to round a small overhang and a cornice. I seemed that it was not difficult and the level of climbing that it required equaled 6a+-6b (according to Moscow characteristics), but there was one problem - the angle was wet, just in that place. And there was no place I could rely on. I came to the strip twice and twice returned back.
We decided to make the next day - a day-off, we went to the north of Croatia to Rieka. Rieka was a large port city in the very north of seashore of Croatia, it was a shipyard. If there had not been an island Krk, closing the view, it was possible to see Italy from there, it was not far at all. In spite of the central pedestrian street Korzo there was nothing to look at in the city. The only thing for the sake of which you could go to Rieka was Trcatsky castle. It was situated a little bit higher that the city itself. It was a cozy castle with two round towers and inspection platform. We called it "the castle of Vasilisk" as inside it on the square a wonderful bronze monument to Vasilisk was safe. (Information: Vasilisk was a mystic creature with snake body, rooster head and wings, killing by the glance)
The next day my wife and rested and enjoyed our staying on the Adriatic seashore and Volodia went to Zagreb to meet the plane with our friends. We planned that after my departure they would stay for a week more in Starigrad, would climb lines and make ascents.
The next day. Concluding route before my departure. We chose the route Klin (Wedge), that got its name after the peculiarity of the relief - large wedge-shaped tooth in the upper part of the wall. From local climbers we learnt that all the days we went to the famous "Paklenik triad". There were three the most well-known routes on Anica Kuk (Mosoraski, Velbitaski and Klin). The route was considered to be rather difficult. Extension of it was 12 ropes. Generally speaking, climbing was not difficult, of the 5 th grade of difficulty. But there were some difficult strips: one of the ropes of 6c grade of difficulty and key strip of it - 6c+, it was not long, about 15 meters long. A set of nuts, about 12-13 items, 3-4 cam devices and good determination were necessary to pass the route. We started climbing and understood that made a little mistake when choosing the beginning of the route - the first ropes had to be of 4a grade of difficulty and we climbed 5c. We understood that we got to the route Zenit (7b). But, as we understood our mistake in time, we traversed to the right and returned back to our Klin. The first small key we found in the middle of the third rope. It was valued as 6a+ by Croats as 6a+, but really it was more difficult! We went further and at last climbed up under the overhang, rounded it to the right and climbed further. Level of climbing there equaled 5c. We climbed up to the key strip. It was possible to pass the key along the series of small cornices but it also was possible to go to the left and shorten it, it was so-called "new way", but in that case we had to work on the overhang. We decided to pass the key along the first variant. From under the first cornice (about 80 cm) the key strip was not visible. I was hanging on the station for a long time, trying to see anything, as I would have not only to climb there, but to put nuts too. I implored for not hammering hooks. At last, I started climbing. The first cornice was rather easy. After it there was an even strip, but there was a variant how to climb it. I had time to notice a small hold for a foot to the right and a hold for an arm. Took them, put a nut. I became glad - I noticed a bolt! Two-three motions and I reached it. Fastened the rope. Oh damn, I became tired, I had to hang and to rest for a while, but it seemed I could - I climbed across a small cornice - about 40 cm into an interior angle. Oh, how even and unfolded it was! A broken crack cut it to the left. Somewhere the first finger bones could be put into it, I put legs on rubbing. I saw a nice hold! Tried to reach it and couldn&rsquot. My arms got tired and legs slid. I tried to put the legs upper. I managed to lift the right leg, but couldn&rsquot lift left one. My leg slipped from the wall and I fell down. But not very deep - for 3- 3,5 meters. Volodia quietly railed at me from downwards and recommended to take flights of stairs. I said him that that time I knew everything, how I was there and easily would be able to climb there. I did my best and passed the strip! On the next rope (all the rope was 6c) I saw a bolt, turned to Zenit again and found myself on the route of 7b grade of difficulty. Volodia, having seen that I climbed not in the right direction, ridiculously shouted to me: "Turn Back!". God be praised, I managed to do it and we climbed to the top of the jut "wedge". Climbing there was not difficult, but very interesting. We had to move to the left by traverse under a large cornice, from which stalactites and stalagmites grew, we had to hold on them and to put legs on rubbing on the wall, sometimes staying in thrust. Having passed about 15 meters, we had to cross the cornice in its most narrow part, it was about a meter wide there. And three ropes later we reached the top! The route took us 5-6 hours. According to our own estimation, it was the good route of 5b grade of difficulty, with nice climbing and various reliefs.
The next day we passed in the national park Plitvitskie lakes. Having been to Croatia, it is necessary to visit it. There were purest lakes, lots of fish, crawfishes water in the lakes had unreal blue color. Such color of water I had met only in mountain lakes, but there had been no fish in them, at least I hadn&rsquot seen. Everywhere around waterfalls were there, very beautiful dense forest, so, it was worth seeing!
Thus, that way we spent 10 days in Croatia. Generally speaking, staying in Croatia give rise to the feeling of home coziness and comfort. In my own opinion, Croatia and especially Paklenica is a very good alternative to the Crimea, according to climbing as well as to service. Prices in Croatia sometimes are lower than in the Crimea and service is principally better. If somebody becomes interested in Croatia and, certainly, in apartments in Starigrad, I will consult with great pleasure. Rock-climbing in Croatia don&rsquot go beyond the bounds of Paklenica, all around the country there are more than 60 places for climbing and bouldering. And guidebooks are sold almost everywhere.
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