Updated: Aug 5
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