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Updated: Aug 5, 2020

Ali and I have talked about climbing Triglav ever since we bought our house in the Bohinj valley 4-5 years ago but for one reason or another life has had a habit of getting in the way of these plans. Last September (2019) for example, we planned to climb Slovenia's highest mountain via the Valley of the Triglav Lakes, which is considered to be one of the most iconic routes but instead, a family emergency saw me head to Australia for 10 weeks and once again our plans had to be put on hold.

They say that you’re not a true Slovenian until you've stood on top of Triglav and if you’re not Slovenian by birth, local lore has it that by climbing Triglav you can become an honorary “citizen” overnight. If that isn't enough of an incentive, we can actually see this majestic symbol of Slovenia from our lounge room window, and guests often ask if we have climbed it.... and living here I'm always a little embarrassed to admit we haven't. So when our neighbors @EscapetoBohinj informed us of their plan to climb Triglav in one day from Stara Fužina we knew we couldn't pass up this opportunity to finally secure our honorary "citizenship".

The southern approach to Triglav, as it is referred to in the Cicerone guide book; Walking the Julian Alps of Slovenia (Walk 31) is normally completed over 2 days and involves a 34km round trip with more than 2500m of ascent, so completing this in a single day is not for the faint of heart. In the centre of Stara Fužina there is a replica of the Aljaž Tower which is a small metal structure that sits atop of Triglav and serves as a storm shelter, so the plan was to begin our hike with a photo there just before 5am then take a second photo at the actual Aljaž Tower on the summit and all going smoothly we would return to the village for a third and final photo that evening. The guide book indicated a combined time of 14-15.5hrs over 2 days so we assumed it would take us at least that long if not longer to tackle the route in a single day.

Setting out from the house just before 5am it was a crisp clear morning, perfect for a day in the mountains and after meeting up with our neighbors we posed for a quick photo at the replica and then set off up Mostnica Gorge and the Voje Valley. The first 5km is relatively flat and then near Mostnica Waterfall the path bears to the left and begins to ascend quite steeply towards Velo polje. From there we climbed steadily for the next few hours, eventually emerging above the trees to be greeted by an uninterrupted view of Triglav looming high above us on the opposite side of the valley. We skirted the edge of the valley for another 10mins arriving at Vodnikov dom around 9am (12km) where we took a short coffee break and enjoyed some homemade chocolate brownies.

Departing Vodnikov dom around 9.30am we continued our ascent towards Dom Planika climbing steadily upwards over increasingly rocky terrain towards the Konjsko sedlo. From the saddle the path forks to the left and continues to climb steeply across a rocky hillside eventually doubling back to the right. At this point the hut was just above us and within 15mins we had arrived at Dom Planika (2401) where we took another short break to refuel before the final push to the summit.

The next leg was definitely the highlight of the day. We ascended from Dom Planika along a steep path towards the south east spur continuing to climb until the route turned right and passed through a cleft in the rock where we encountered the first of the steel cables. At the top of the cleft the path cut back to the left and we continued our ascent using the steel cables and pegs, eventually joining the main ridgeline below Mali Triglav where we got a fantastic view of Triglavski dom na Kredarici which is the larger mountain hut located to the east of Triglav. Once on the ridge we were treated to spectacular views in every direction and the remaining scramble to the top was breathtaking. We eventually arrived on the summit of Triglav (2864m) around 12 noon approximately 7hrs after leaving Stara Fužina.

Our arrival on the summit was timely because the cloud was starting to roll in and within 10mins the sweeping views we had been enjoying had disappeared and the summit was shrouded in cloud. After a 30min break for lunch we posed for our second photo of the day in front of the actual Aljaž Tower then set off back down the ridge towards Dom Planika.

The return trip to Stara Fužina was relatively uneventful and thanks to some good pacing everyone was still in good spirits as we descended. We stopped for 30mins at Vodnikov dom for a cold drink and some of us used this time to remove our socks and air our tired feet which had all seen better days. The final descent took just under 3hrs and I think it's fair to say that everyone was relieved to be back on flat ground as we walked the final kilometers down the gorge to the village. It felt odd walking past our house after 34km and 2500m or vertical ascent/descent but the day wasn't going to be complete without our final picture and so it all ended just before 7pm (approximately 14hrs after it began) with the picture below, and if you look carefully you can actually see Triglav's summit partially obscured by cloud in the background.

I am still waiting for my honorary Slovenian passport to arrive in the mail, but in the meantime at least I don't need to feel embarrassed when guests ask me if I've climbed Triglav. Ali and I are still planning to climb Triglav via the Valley of the Triglav Lakes route before the season is over and I suspect that will be a much more leisurely experience than this one but Triglav in one day (TIOD) did not disappoint and was certainly a memorable adventure. Thank you to @EscapetoBohinj for letting us join your fun, adventures are always better with good company. #WeareSublimeEscapes

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Updated: Jun 8, 2020

To say that 2020 has been an unusual year might be a bit of an understatement. Following a relatively mild Winter here in the Bohinj valley it looked like we might get a bit of late season skiing at Vogel, however this idea was short lived and by early March the mountain was closed as Europe and the rest of the world found itself in the grips of a global pandemic. In the months that have followed it's all been a bit of a blur and terms like "social distancing" and "self isolation" are now a part of daily conversation..... that is, if you can find anyone to converse with.

Now if you do have to self isolate there are worse places to do it than Bohinj and fortunately throughout this period I have not witnessed anyone fighting over toilet paper at our local Mercator, which can't be said for my country of birth (Australia). However, with the restrictions on movement I have missed being able to get up into the national park. So, with life slowly starting to return to normal and the snow starting to clear on the higher peaks it felt great to get out of the valley recently for a day in the mountains.

My plan was to climb Veliki Draški vrh (2243m) which is quite a distinctive pyramid shaped peak situated to the north of Stara Fužina with Tosc (aka."Fatty") to its west and the finely pointed Ablanca (2004m) to its south east. Ali and I had attempted a Winter ascent of Draški vrh back in February, but were forced to turn around just above 2000m on the final ridge as we were running out of daylight and our legs were weary from the deep snow we had encountered on the approach.

This time I set off just after 6am to ensure daylight would not be a factor and opted for a more direct approach climbing up to Uskovnica and then on to the beautiful alpine pastures of of Konjščica covering the 9km (+900m) in just over 2hrs 15mins. It was shaping up to be a perfect day to be out in the mountains with blue skies and not a cloud in sight. About 30mins above Konjščica I arrived at Jezerce where the path leads to the left and climbs towards the saddle between Ablanca and Draški vrh. Here I finally encountered some snow and thought it was going to be a bit of a slog but fortunately the morning sun hadn't hit the slope yet so conditions were firm and favorable allowing me to make my way to the foot of the climb without too much effort using micro-spikes.

I had a short break on the saddle to take on some water and snacks and looking at the approach above I was pleased to see that it was clear of snow. Setting off through the dwarf pine it wasn't long before I had scrambled up the lower slopes and made my way on to the main ridge line where we had been forced to turn back in February. Today I had time to burn and with the ridge largely free of snow I continued on towards the summit arriving approximately 4hrs 30mins (12.3km) after leaving the house. There was a cool wind blowing on top so I put on my down jacket and took some time to take in the surrounding scenery which was nothing short of spectacular with Triglav and the peaks to the north still covered in snow.

After spending close to an hour on top eating lunch and enjoying the incredible views it was time to head down, so I descended the ridge to the saddle below and then opted for a different route back, traversing under Tosc and then down into the valley below where I picked up a scenic single track trail that hugs the ridge high above the valley eventually bringing you out near the Chapel in Uskovnica. The one tip I would offer with this return route in the Winter is not to leave the traverse under Tosc too late in the day because the afternoon sun can melt snow and ice on the upper slopes and this can be a hazard for those traversing the path below.

As always the final kilometers descending from Uskovnica into the valley were tiring and my early season fitness or lack there of was starting to show. Usually, I would stop on the way down for a cold beer however with restrictions still in place most of the mountain huts were closed so this wasn't an option. I finally arrived back in the village around 4.30pm having covered the 26km (+1700m) in just under 9.5hrs. All in all it was a great day out and this early outing has made me eager to get out and explore some new routes over the Summer once I get my walking legs back. Here's hoping we have rounded the corner on this strange period and that we can make a return to the mountains and a return to normal life.

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Updated: Mar 31, 2020

It is not all about summiting mountains and traversing stunning ridgelines as I have had some of the most enjoyable days exploring what you can do in the valley. There is no need to have to go too far or too high to enjoy the wonderful surroundings. This is a beautiful walk which is easy to moderate and takes about 2hrs 30 minutes to reach the Mostnica waterfall at the far end of the Voje valley.

All you have to do is lace up your shoes or boots and turn left as you leave Sublime Escapes, a right hand turn over the 1st bridge and veer left. The road takes you up past Zois Mansion and you can take a few moments to draw breath as you peer over the edges of Devils Bridge. There is a lovely folk tale about how the bridge was created, but it actually made the transport of iron ore and charcoal from the surrounding areas to foundries along the Mostnice much easier. Stara Fužina means old iron foundry and this area made iron between the 8th and 16th century. The view down into the limestone gorge to the Mostnica can make your head spin but it is worth a little bit of vertigo to see it. Crystal clear water on a limestone river base makes for the most amazing pools.

You have a short climb up to the path that splits to your right-hand side running along the edge of the gorge. This path takes you up to the entry point and from April – October there is a small entry fee of €3 each for adults. This helps with preservation work and maintenance of the area. You can also pick up a leaflet here or just take one from the apartment with you.

Along the gorge path you continue seeing some amazing pools and rock formations. Keep a look out for the Elephants Head! You have another ascent up from the gorge turning right onto the single track road and within a few meters you come across the Voje Mountain Hut. Here you can stop for refreshments before you head up through the Voje valley. As the Chief Sublime Escapes treat researcher, I have done my homework and can recommend the blueberry pie or the apple pie.

The walk up through the valley is beautiful and having done it in all seasons, I can’t quite decide which is my favourite. All of them. In the springtime cattle graze on the pastures before being moved up to higher ground for the summer and back down in the late Autumn. In the summertime the pasture is cut for hay and is dotted with the most amazing number of wildflowers. Between the sound of bees and the cow bells in the summer you will enjoy a very relaxing background soundtrack. In the winter it can be peaceful, snowy and pristine. This week, in mid January, there is no snow, but the sun is shining so walking up to the waterfall was uplifting.

Once you make it to Slap Voje snack bar, you are nearly at the waterfall. In the summer months the snack bar is open and offers another refreshment stop on your walk. Looking back down the valley from the terrace lets you appreciate the grandeur of the scenery and a window into rural life in this amazing Alpine setting. One last push up to the waterfall for a rewarding view. Depending on the weather this can be a full flowing torrent or a gentler fall with another crystal pool below.

Now it is time to retrace your steps back down the valley but this time, when you arrive back at the Voje Mountain Hut you can carry on down the road and enter into Stara Fužina from a different direction. Head right down to the car park and pass through taking a left turn at the water trough and follow the road to the end. There is a path on the left hand side that leads to steps back down to the edge of the Mostnice river where you turn right and only have a few meters more to get back to Sublime Escapes.

You can also come back down the same way after the Voje Mountain Hut and once you cross back over Devils Bridge there is a path on the right hand side which is a slight deviation and leads you along the watercourse popping out again downstream. A right hand turn takes you back to 1st bridge and bear left back to Sublime Escapes. A very satisfying way to enjoy the beauty of nature right from the doorstep of the apartments, while getting a dose of fresh air, exercise and most importantly some local cake treats!

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