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Climbing Rysy

June 1, 2012

On 26 May 2012 Thomas, my dad and I climbed Rysy, the highpoint of Poland. My dad and I attempted the peak last year but hit a snowstorm on the ascent that covered the painted trail markers and made visibility so bad that I did not even recognize the upper sections of the hike this time.

The previous day Thomas and I flew from Phoenix to Prague via Chicago and Frankfurt. Once in Prague we took a bus, two metros, and a train to get to Čelákovice. After a shower, lunch, and unpacking we got back on the train to Prague and got a rental car. From there we drove to the town of Štrbské Pleso, Slovakia, about a seven hour drive.

Fortunately we had a bright, sunny day  Saturday and enjoyed the best weather that I have ever seen it the Tatras. Because of the jet-lag I was up at 5:00 am, and we headed to get breakfast at 7:00. After breakfast we walked out the front door of the hotel and began the hike–no driving today.  We hiked quickly and made good time.

Thomas at the Tatras.

View of the Tatras from the trail.

View of Tatras.

I like the European style of hiking sometimes. After an hour or so of hiking we made it to Popradské Pleso, a lake where we stopped at the hut and had a coffee.

We continued up the trail and began seeing more and more snow. Much more than last year in Late June. We crossed a couple bridges that had collapsed under the weight of the snow and some snowfields. Them we walked through the snow, passing by a lake that was frozen over.

Beautiful weather in the Tatras.

Snow ahead.

Thomas at the bridge.

At a collapsed bridge.

After the lake we headed up a steeper snowslope and got to the beginning of the chained section of the route. The chains were wet and iced over, and we passed a couple groups on the way up. We took a break and they passed us, and stopped right before the snow so Thomas and I would break the trail. We got to Chata pod Rysmi, a mountain hut that is closed for the winter.

We took a break there and put on crampons and began climbing the steeper snow slopes that led to a saddle that we could see Rysy from. It seemed that nobody had climbed the peak in awhile, because there were no footprints in the snow to follow. We got to the saddle and saw the Polish side of the Tatras for the first time, and continued hiking up the snow.

We set down our crampons and scrambled up the ridge, and made it to the summit. After a break we headed over to the second summit and descended. We had some nice glissades on the way down.

We were tired and we had meal at Popradské Pleso of halušky and klobasa, and finished up the hike.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dmitry permalink
    March 9, 2016 07:23

    Hi, Andrew! Were there any problems with officials to climb Rysy in May? Some sources said that trail is closed until 15th of June, but I want to climb it in May

  2. March 9, 2016 07:40

    Hi, Andrew! Some sources claim that the Slovak side trail to Rysy is closed till 15 of June. Were there any problems with officials in your case to climb Rysy in May?

    • March 17, 2016 17:41

      Hi Dmitriy, Yes, the Slovak side of the trail is officially closed until 15 June. But, if you are a UIAA member (American Alpine Club, FFCAM, etc) you can climb it legally without guide, and also travel off season, off trail, any time of year. In reality, there was no problem for us hiking Rysy though two of three did not have UIAA membership, though there was snow as you can see. Keep yourself up to date on the weather and snow conditions by looking at webcams in Strbske Pleso and Tatranska Lomnica before you go. The pictures in my trip were from May 26, 2012 to compare.

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