Climb Triglav to be a True Slovenian
31.10.2017 | Fiona Thompson
A former President of Slovenia, Milan Kučan once said that it was the duty of every Slovenian to climb Mount Triglav at least once in their lifetime.
At 2,864 metres above sea level, Triglav is Slovenia’s highest mountain. The name translates as “three heads” and comes from the fact that when viewed from almost every direction, craggy Triglav resembles three peaks.It stands in the national park of the same name and is even featured in the Slovenian flag.
The first ascent of Triglav came in 1778 when a quartet of local men climbed it.Over one hundred years later, the Aljaž Tower was erected on top of the mountain: it’s a storm shelter and a triangulation point used in geodetic surveying. Today the cylindrical shelter is painted grey and has a pointed conical peak just as it looked originally but when Slovenian was part of socialist Yugoslavia, the tower was painted red and crowned with a red star.
Those wishing to climb Triglav can choose from several different routes, most involving a two-day adventure with an overnight stay in a mountain hut. The easiest way is via the Krma Valley which is regarded as technically the least challenging route and includes 400 metres of via ferrata to get to the very top. This route is regarded as suitable for inexperienced climbers and families with children. On the other hand, the route from the Vrata Valley is the most demanding though it rewards those who tackle it with the most incredible views. According to international standards, Triglav is rated as an intermediate climb. First timers are advised to climb with a guide.
Although Triglav can be climbed year-round, only experienced climbers should attempt to ascend in the winter. That said, even for the most experienced climbers, an ascent may not be possible due to severe weather conditions in January and February. The best time to climb Triglav is between June and October. June and July are regarded as especially good because the mountain is less crowded and the beautiful flowers are in full bloom. August can be very crowded as this is when Slovenians take their holidays. One important fact to bear in mind at any time of year is that the weather in this part of Slovenia can change quickly so always check the forecast before setting out.
And when you get to the top? Well, as well as the breathtaking views and the sense of personal satisfaction, there’s also a tradition that says Triglav virgins should be beaten on the behind with birch twigs! What are you waiting for?