Updated: Jul 12, 2019
My old climbing buddy gave me a call and asked if I would be up for climbing Triglav, Slovenia's highest peak. With a bit of spare time in March, we decided on a winter attempt.
The flights, hire car and accommodation were booked, crampons and axes were sharpened and some stripped down camera gear was packed.
We booked Hostel Lukn'a, a traditional style bunkhouse in Mojstrana for our first night, which was the perfect place for us to head up the Krma Valley and to the Kredarici hut, 300 metres from the summit.
The forecast was looking good for the next day and with a bit of spare time, we drove up the valley to the trail head, to see what we had in store.
Razor sharp ridges soared above us, snow capped mountains surrounded us and the road was soon covered in snow as we climbed higher.
Clearings in the forest gave us amazing panoramic views of what we had in store for the following days.
With the light dropping we headed back to the warmth of the bunkhouse for pizza and beers.
Next morning, the sun was touching the tops of the hills and the forecast was looking good, filling us with optimism for the day ahead.
We shoved some baguettes, cheese and ham in our bags and made our way up the road.
Snow and ice filled the forest as we climbed out of the valley and crampons were soon on as the terrain started to get steeper.
Out of the forest the snow got deeper, but we had no trouble reaching the hut for around 4pm.
The wind was howling, with gusts up to 150kmh, coupled with the cold it made any photo making possibility difficult.
With it being a weather station, Kredarici is the only hut open in Slovenia during the winter months, the meteorologists that live and work there were more than happy to cook us up some dinner of bean soup and sausage, gave us a key to our own room and even offered us some schnapps from their 'private' collection.
A quick check again of the forecast, look at the map and we wrapped ourselves up in the blankets in our freezing room.
Next morning, the wind had died down and the sun was just rising over the peaks.
We chose to skip breakfast for our return back to the hut and packed some snacks.
The summit climb starts from the hut, so we geared up in the warmth and shelter.
Crampons were on and axes were in hand as we trudged up the snow slope.
Things started to get steep, but previous climbers had kicked steps, making it a little easier for us.
After about 200 metres of climbing and a couple of tricky sections, we were at the top of Mali Triglav and could see the summit and the knife edge ridges in between.
As the snow was stable, we chose to leave the rope in the pack.
The last climb to the summit was very exposed, with shear drops either side of us, but the ascent was pretty straight forward and we were soon congratulated at the top by another group of climbers we shared the hut with.
Passing around cameras and phones we swapped summit photos with the other group, soaked in the amazing 360 degree views and prepared for the descent.
The sun was high and the temperature was rising, softening the snow and making things a little bit more difficult than the climb. We took our time and made sure we had a good footing with every step.
We were both glad we chose to take 2 axes, they came in handy on the final, steep
section back to the hut adding a bit more security in the softening snow.
Just 3 hours after leaving, we were safely down and back at the hut, we warmed up with a coffee and filled our baguettes before the trek down back to the valley.
With just a couple of photo stops we were down in no time, with the help of the snow enabling us to glissade a lot of the way down.