Updated: Jan 8, 2020
Despite an early dump of snow prior to Christmas which had us all thinking Winter had finally arrived in the valley, the weather has been unseasonably mild of late and my ski pass continues to gather dust on the kitchen counter awaiting its first outing of the season. The absence of snow however, has provided great conditions for Winter hiking so after a long stretch of grey, wet weather in November we have been rewarded with a steady supply of crisp clear Winter days with blue skies and relatively mild temps.
In recent weeks this "weather window" has allowed us to get out and explore a variety of areas and while movement is certainly slower than it is in Summer and the days noticeably shorter, we have been rewarded with some sweeping views and near perfect conditions. I started this series of walks with a solo hike on Christmas day, which took me up Komarča, a steep route at the western end of the lake then around Črno Jezero (Black Lake) and up towards Dom na Komni before heading out to Bogatin (1977m) which is clearly visible high about the lake to the west of the valley. Unfortunately, fresh snow on the Komna plateau made the going slower than expected and with just a few hours of daylight left I opted to turn around at the foot of the saddle below Bogatin. On my return trip I made a short stop at Dom na Komni for a Xmas beer and the mandatory Nutela crepes then descended to the car park arriving at the truck just on last light.
A few days later I joined my neighbors Danny and Izzy for an early morning assault on Viševnik (2050m) with the idea of taking in the sunrise from atop Bohinj's nearest two-thousander. The day started in the dark as we left the village around 4.45am enroute to Rudno polje. Leaving the truck at 5.30am we walked along the icy road through the forest in complete darkness and commenced the steep climb up the ski hill to the ridge above. Once on the ridge we were treated to a marvelous view to the south as the dawn light started to reveal itself on the horizon. The final push to the summit was a little blustery but our efforts were rewarded with spectacular views of Triglav and the surrounding mountains, bathed in morning sunlight.
Possibly the most impressive sight on this particular morning was the skiers who arrived on the summit just after us, enjoying a quick shot of slivo from a hip flask before disappearing off the backside of the mountain and into the steep abyss below... it was an impressive sight to watch. Our own descent was a little more orderly and did not involve intoxicants, however we did manage to descend the lower slopes at speed thanks to Danny's inclusion of three small plastic sledges.
By 30 December my favorite hiking/adventure partner in crime had arrived back from Christmas in Scotland and with the good weather holding we set off on two epic days in the mountains. The first saw us climb out of the valley via Vogar and then ascend to Planini Viševnik via Planini pri Jezeru and finally up to Pršivec where we were treated to the some incredible views of the valley. The second had us depart from just below Uskovnica with the plan to climb Tošc, however arriving in the meadow below the mountain after a fairly arduous ascent out of the valley below using ice axe and crampons we decided the icy face looked a little inhospitable so we opted to take the snowy traverse over to the foot of Veliki Draški vrh where we could see several groups moving along the ridge line above.
Once again limited daylight was our enemy with the narrow traverse taking a little longer than anticipated and while we managed to make a start on the climb we opted to turn back a few hundred meters below the summit as the afternoon light was beginning to fade. We descended to the saddle and then down into the valley below, eventually making it back to the Koca in Uskovnica just on last light where we enjoyed a cold beer and strudl while taking in a spectacular "pink sky" sunset. So as you can see the lack of snow hasn't stopped us from getting out and making the most of everything the valley has to offer. That said we are both definitely looking forward to getting out for a few turns when the snow finally arrives.