Mieguszewieckie Szczyty, Cubryna i Mnich - view from Morskie Oko, Tatra Mountains, Poland. Credit: Mariusz G,  Shot on 2013-09-03 Photo taken in Poland.Licensed under: Public Domain.
Mieguszewieckie Szczyty, Cubryna i Mnich - view from Morskie Oko, Tatra Mountains, Poland. Credit: Mariusz G, Shot on 2013-09-03 Photo taken in Poland.Licensed under: Public Domain.

General

About Tatra

The Tatras are located on Polish-Slovak border form the central, highest and most beautiful section of the Carpathian mountain range. Tatras is a small rugged massif, with the main Tatra ridge extending 51,5km from east to west and 15km from north to south. The high peaks of the Tatras, called "Smallest High Range in the World", are rugged rock peaks with a dramatic jagged crestline. They rise in a sudden cluster like an island of peaks in the surrounding valleys. The highest peak of the range is Gerlach in Slovakia (2655m) and there are dozens of other rising to over 2000m, and crags often fall over 600m into deep cirques. There are both summer and winter climbing. Skiing and especially off piste skiing in the high valleys is also popular.

As regards type of landscape, geological structure and type of rock, the Tatras may be divided into three parts: the Western Tatras (Tatry Zachodnie), the High Tatras (Tatry Wysokie) and the Bielskie Tatras (Tatry Bielskie).

  • Western Tatra (Slovak: Západné Tatry, Polish: Tatry Zachodnie). Western Tatras are the second highest mountain range in Slovakia; its highest peak is Bystrá at 2248m. Other notable mountains include Jakubiná (2194m), Baranec (2184m), Baníkov (2178m), Tri kopy (2136m), Plačlivé (21251 m), Ostrý Roháč (2087m), Volovec (Polish: Wołowiec; 2064m), Kasprowy Wierch (Slovak: Kasprov vrch; 1987m) and Giewont (1894m). In Slovakia, they are partially located in the traditional regions of Liptov and Orava. The highest point in Poland is Starorobociański Wierch (2176m).
  • Eastern Tatra (Východné Tatry, Tatry Wschodnie). The Eastern Tatras are part of the Tatra Mountains, which are part of the Inner Western Carpathians. It consists of:
    • High Tatra (Vysoké Tatry, Tatry Wysokie). The tallest and most frequented part of this range are the High Tatras. The sharp, stony peaks owe their shape to glaciers, which shaped the High Tatras many thousands of years ago. Nowadays there are no glaciers but there are permanent snow fields. The mountain borders on Belianske Tatras to the east, Podtatranská kotlina to the south and Western Tatras to the west. The major part and all the highest peaks of the mountains are situated in Slovakia. The highest peak is Gerlachovský štít (2655m). Most important areas for climbing are Gerlach, Dolina Zelenho plesa and Javorov Valley in Slovakia and Morskie Oko in Poland.
      • Vel'ká kopa
      • Krivan group
      • Swinica
      • Mięguszowiecki
      • Rysy
      • Gerlach
      • Slavkovskiy Stit
      • Javorovy
      • Lomnicky
    • Belianske Tatra (Belianske Tatry, Tatry Bielskie). A range in the Eastern Tatras in North Central Slovakia. Highest peak rises to 2151m.
  • Low Tatras Located south of the Tatras proper.

Climbing in Tatra

The Tatras mountainous climate is cold due to high altitude, with much precipitation. Fierce rainstorms or snowstorms all of a sudden are common. For summer climbing, late June and early August provide good conditions as there are heavy storms in late summer. Earlier than this there's much snow. Early to mid October just before the snow arrives may have the best conditions. Heavy snowfalls can occur as early as October and excellent winter climbing can extend till the end of April. Snow lingers in gullies all year round.

The High Tatra is truly an alpine rock climbers paradise since there are no nasty glaciers about and the snow is mostly gone by June, though it may linger in some of the shaded valleys until late August. There are literally hundreds of alpine rock and face climbs. Most importaly the rock quality (granite and gneiss) is on a par with Yosemite and the routes are well established and protected.

In winter Tatras have plenty of ice and mixed climbing. The mountain granite is often very blocky, not dissimilar in form and texture to that found in the Cairngorms of Scotland. It can also be quite vegetated turf). Faces on the Polish side of the range tend to be short on drainage, giving predominantly mixed climbing, but in contrast the Slovakian valleys hold noticeably much more ice. Tatra can often experience a fast freeze-thaw build up of conditions, especially later in the season. Combined with typically fierce cold northerly winds from Poland, this can produce very hard snow.

The whole Polish Tatras area now constitutes the Tatra National Park TPN), whose equivalent on the Slovak side is the Tatransky narodny park (TANAP). They are covered by special regulations governing the behavior of tourist in order to preserve the original fauna and flora of the Tatras (as well as the business of local guides. This also affects climbing, so be sure to check the current restrictions.

The area is easily accessible with trails and several mountain huts. The second highest peak in the range, Lomnicky Stit (2634m), well-known to climbers for its classic rock routes on the sheer wall of the West Face, has a cablecar to the summit. Best known convenient centers are Zakopane in Poland and Poprad in Slovakia.

References

Both summer and winter routes are given a traditional UIAA numerical grading. There is no real winter grading system in the High Tatra at present, though climbers who have traveled outside Slovakia in recent years are now able to relate to French ice grades and are using them on new routes. A route graded UIAA V or V+ in winter (the grade usually reflects the technical grade of the hardest pitch) will generally equate to Scottish 6, or more.

Valleys

Polish Tatra

Dolina Gasienicowa

Hala Gasienicowa located in Dolina Gasienicowa, to the west of Morskie Oko and to the east of the city of Zakopane is a popular climbing base in Polish Tatra. It is easily accessible from Kuznice (bus from Zakopane). There's a large hut "Murowanice" (1500m). Main peaks of the area are Swinica (2301m) and Koscielec (2155m).

  • Świnica
  • Koscielec

Morskie Oko

The most popular climbing base on Polish side is Morskie Oko Lake located to the east of Dolina Gasienicowa. The area has plenty of hard climbing, both during the summer and winter. 500m high overhanging north face of Kazalnica Mieguszowiecka Wall (The Pulpit, 2438m) is probably the most demanding in the Polish Tatra. The lower (2499m) of the two peaks of Rusy (2503m) is the highest point in Poland, and therefore the mountain is climbed by a lot of people from the Polish side (UIAA I). It is a very steep uphill, but does not require technical climbing. Separate climbing routes are some of the best in the country. The slopes on the Slovakian side are a lot gentler. Other climbing attractions include steep pinnacle of Mnich.

  • World Mountaineering pp.36-9
  • Mnich
  • Mięguszowiecki Szczyt
  • Kazalnica
  • Rusy

Slovakian Tatra

Mengusovská Dolina (Gerlach)

The highest peak of Slovakia is Gerlach (Gerlachovsky, 2655). Gerlach is located in the southeastern part of Tatra in large Mengusovská valley (with side valleys Zlomisková Dolina, Velická Dolina and Batizovská Dolina). Its also possible to climb Rusy from the same valley.

  • Gerlach

Dolina Ke marskej Bielej Vody

Slovakian valley Dolina Kezmarskej Bielej Vody and its side valleys Dolina Zeleného plesa and Skalnatá Dolina in the Southeast part if High Tatra is one of the main climbing destinations in Tatra. Highest peak of the area is Lomnicky Stit (2634m, the second highest in Tatra). Despite the fact that there's a lift to the summit, there are plenty of climbing routes. Most impressive feature of the area is however Maly Kiezmarski (2514m) with 1000m high north face, that has host of routes from traditional classic routes to modern extreme routes.

  • Lomnicky Stit
  • Maly Kiezmarski

Javorov Valley

Javorov valley of Slovakia is located in the northeastern part of High Tatra, to the NW of Dolina Ke marskej Bielej Vody and separated from it by the main ridge. It is one of the finest and most reliable areas for winter climbing in the Slovakian High Tatra. The extensive 400m high rock walls that extend west from the 2307m Ostry Stit over the various Javorovy peaks (Velky Javorovy, the Maple Peak: 2417m) and Javorov peaks give a fantastic collection of ice and mixed climbing, while elsewhere lie fine, steep but shorter icefalls.

At the head of the Javorov Valley and just northeast of the 2372m Sedielko Pass stands Mala Ladova Stit (2602m: Little Icy Peak). Mala Ladova Veza, North Face "The Chimney of the Vertigos", One of the most difficult ice routes in the region, First ascent by Marian Marek in 1981.

Mountains

Tatra

Western Tatra

Giewont

Giewont (Wielki Giewont)49.25055619.9338891894
1830-01-01
Giewont, ,
First ascent
Franciszek Herbich, Aleksander Zawadzki

High Tatra

Gerlach

Gerlachovský štít (Gerlach, Gierlach)49.163820.13392655
Highest peak in Tatra and whole Carpathian range. West Face is 400m high, has good rock and several rock routes. East face has several mixed winter routes (grades V-VI).
1834-01-01
Gerlachovský štít, ,
First ascent
Ján Still
1895-08-08
Gerlachovský štít, ,
First ascent
: Janusz Chmielowski & Jerzy Wala Jr
1899-07-22
Gerlachovský štít, Karczmarca couloir,
First ascent
Karczmarca couloir: L. Darmstaedter, A. Otto & H. Stabeler
1905-01-01
Gerlachovský štít, Martinovka,
First ascent
Martinovka: Alfred Martin
NE ridge
From Polský hreben, Velický stit, Litvorovy stit and Zadny Gerlahovský to the summit.
Martinovka (Martin's Route). Ridge, II-III (sections); 1900m ridge length. 1905-01-01First ascentAlfred Martin, 1905.
Classic. One the most classic ridge-routes in High Tatras. The original route leads sometimes through the ridge and sometimes traverses the east walls of Zadny Gerlach. The ridge can be climbed direct at uiaa IV.
East face above Velická dolina has several mixed winter routes (grades V-VI)
Karczmarca couloir (Krčmárov žľab, Standard East Couloir). Winter, Sco IV/50°, II-III; 500m, 7h. 1899-07-22First ascentL. Darmstaedter, A. Otto & H. Stabeler, 1899-07-22.
Classic. 500m high couloir (length 800m) on the east face followed by a traverse north over the summit.
Velický zlab (Velicka Proba). I (sort of ferrata); 4,5h.
Normal route. From south side.
West Face is 400m high, has good rock and several rock routes
Batizovsky zlab (Batizovska Proba). PD; I-II (sort of ferrata); 500m, 3,5h.
Normal route. From south side.
Wala's Couloir. I/II, 40°.
Gerlachovská veža49.16320.13392642
1905-08-05
Gerlachovská veža, ,
First ascent
G. Horváth, Johann Hunsdorfer sr
Zadný Gerlach49.1663920.131392616
1895-01-01
Zadný Gerlach, ,
First ascent
Janusz Chmielowski, J. Wala
Lavínový štít (Lawinowy Szczyt)49.1672220.13062606
1904-01-01
Lavínový štít, ,
First ascent
J. Chmielowski, K. Bachleda, S. Stopka
Kotlový štít49.16166720.1358332601
1834-01-01
Kotlový štít, ,
First ascent
Ján Still, M. Urban Spitzkopf, Gellhof, two guides
Lavínová veža49.1672220.130282600
1904-01-01
Lavínová veža, ,
First ascent
Janusz Chmielowski, Klemens Bachleda, Stanisław Stopka
Veľká Litvorová veža49.167520.13062581
1905-01-01
Veľká Litvorová veža, ,
First ascent
G. Horváth, Johann Hunsdorfer
Popradsky Ladovy Stit49.16583320.1155562395
1890-01-01
Popradsky Ladovy Stit, ,
First ascent
Party from

Lomnicky

Lomnicky
Lomnický štít (Lomnicky, Łomnica)49.19583320.2127782633
The second highest mountain in Tatra. There are several climbing routes. Normal route is NW snow field. West face has best rock quality.
1790-01-01
Lomnický štít, ,
First ascent
Štefan Fábry
uiaa II.
Ladovy massif
Ľadový štít (Ladovy Stit, Eistaler Spitze)49.19888920.1822222627
1843-01-01
Ľadový štít, ,
First ascent
John Ball, Wilhelm Richter, Carl Ritter, a Polish philologist, a Hungarian landscape painter and three Polish mountain guides
uiaa I.
Malý Ľadový štít (Ľadová kopa)49.1958320.18252602
1835-01-01
Malý Ľadový štít, ,
First ascent
Johann Heinrich Blasius, Simon Fischer, Gustav Hartlaub, Alexander Keyserling
Pysny Stit
Pyšný štít (Pysny Stit, Durny Szczyt)49.197520.20752623
1877-01-01
Pyšný štít, ,
First ascent
Ödön Téry, Martin Spitzkopf
uiaa II.
Malý Pyšný štít49.1988920.206672591
1901-01-01
Malý Pyšný štít, ,
First ascent
G. Déri
Strapatá veža49.197220.20752565
1904-01-01
Strapatá veža, ,
First ascent
Janusz Chmielowski, Tadeusz Radliński, Klemens Bachleda, Jan Bachleda Tajber
Kezmarsky
Kežmarský štít (Kieżmarski Szczyt)49.199320.22012556
1615-01-01
Kežmarský štít, ,
First ascent
David Frölich
Maly Kiezmarski (Malý Kežmarský štít)49.20080620.2206942514
1900-01-01
Maly Kiezmarski, ,
Event
Michal & Miroslav Coubal Pavol Pochyly & Josef Zrust 13.-19.03.1967
1900-01-01
Maly Kiezmarski, ,
Event
Chwascinski, Stanislawski & Ostrowski to the Nemecky Rebrik (diagonal ramp in the midway) 12.-13.07.1932 Stanislawski & Vogel Karel German & Arno Puskas 19.-20.03.1953
1950-01-01
Maly Kiezmarski, ,
First ascent
Karel Bocek, L.Hofirek & R.Kusova
1950-01-01
Maly Kiezmarski, Bocel's Waterfall,
First ascent
Bocel's Waterfall: Karel Bocek, L.Hofirek & R.Kusova
North face
1000m high North Face is the biggest wall in the Slovakian High Tatra. There are tens of routes on the face from traditional classic routes to modern extreme routes.
  • Superdirectissima A2/3 or f7b/UIAA VIII/VIII+ 13 pitches Michal & Miroslav Coubal Pavol Pochyly & Josef Zrust 13.-19.03.1967
  • Stanislawski Chimney Classic, propably the best-known route on the wall IV (summer) VI,6 (winter) 850m Chwascinski, Stanislawski & Ostrowski to the Nemecky Rebrik (diagonal ramp in the midway) 12.-13.07.1932 Stanislawski & Vogel Karel German & Arno Puskas 19.-20.03.1953
  • Bocel's Waterfall III WI5/5+ Karel Bocek, L.Hofirek & R.Kusova
Baranie rohy (Baranie Rogi)49.12120.19712526
1867-09-17
Baranie rohy, ,
First ascent
Józef Stolarczyk, Ambrozy Trausyl

Rysy

Vysoká (Wysoka)49.1727220.094382547
1874-01-01
Vysoká, ,
First ascent
Mor Dechy, Ján Ruman Driečny, Martin Spitzkopf
Ťažký štít (Ciężki Szczyt, Cesky stit)49.1745220.089872520
1904-07-07
Ťažký štít, ,
First ascent
Ernst Dubke, Johann Franz sr
Rysy (Meeraugspitze)49.17944420.0880562503
  • NW summit (2499m)
  • Middle summit (2503m49.17944420.088056)
  • SE summit (2473m)
Rysy is the highest peak of Tatras accessible by marked route what explains its great popularity during summer season. It is also the highest peak in Poland. Can be ascended from both Polish and Slovak side.
1840-07-20
Rysy, ,
First ascent
Ede Blásy, Ján Ruman-Driečny, Sr
Batizovský štít (Batyżowiecki Szczyt)49.16527820.1238892448
1900-01-01
Batizovský štít, ,
First ascent
Karol Jurzyca, Józef Galko-Rusnak
Malé Rysy (Niżnie Rysy, Denesspitze)49.18336120.0880282430
1905-07-18
Malé Rysy, ,
First ascent
Janusz Chmielowski, Adam Kroebl, Jakub Bachleda

Krivan

Kriváň (Krywan, Krivan)49.16277819.9997222494
called Slovakia's 'most beautiful mountain'
1773-01-01
Kriváň, ,
First ascent
Andreas Jonas Czirbes

Slavkovskiy Stit

Slavkovský štít (Slawkowski Szczyt, Schlagendorfer Spitze)49.16620.18482452
1664-01-01
Slavkovský štít, ,
First ascent
Juraj Buchholtz

Mięguszowiecki

Veľký Mengusovský štít (Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Wielki)49.18722220.062438
1877-07-28
Veľký Mengusovský štít, ,
First ascent
Ludwik Chalubinski, Wojciech Roj, Maciej Sieczka
North face
North Face is 500m high, vertical to overhanging, probably the most demanding in the Polish Tatra. More known for winter climbing.
  • Morskie Oko
East face
350m face with routes from V to VII (none have bolts). Of course, you don't need pitons on classics like Świerz and Surdel, but some routes will not go without them.
Východný Mengusovský štít (Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Czarny)49.1826520.067452410
1898-01-01
Východný Mengusovský štít, ,
First ascent
Antonina Englisch, Karol Englisch, Johann Hunsdorfer
Prostredný Mengusovský štít (Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Pośredni)49.184420.06272393
1903-01-01
Prostredný Mengusovský štít, ,
First ascent
W. Boldireff, S. Porębskiv
Čubrina (Cubryna)49.187620.05342376
1884-01-01
Čubrina, ,
First ascent
Karol Potkański, Kazimierz Bednarz, Jan Fedra
Kazalnica49.18472220.0708332159
The top of Kazalnica can be reached by a tourist trail that starts at Morskie Oko shelter. 350m wide and 400-450m high NE face is one of the more popular climbing attractions in Morskie Oko basin due to a short approach and excellent rock.
1900-01-01
Kazalnica, ,
Event
E. Chrobak, A. Heinrich, J. Kurczab & K Zditowiecki
1942-01-01
Kazalnica, ,
First ascent
C. Lapinski & K. Paszucha
1942-01-01
Kazalnica, Lapinski-Paszucha,
First ascent
Lapinski-Paszucha: C. Lapinski & K. Paszucha
1955-01-01
Kazalnica, Lewa Kazalnica,
First ascent
Lewa Kazalnica: J. Dlugosz & C. Momatiuk
1958-01-01
Kazalnica, Dlugosz-Popko,
First ascent
Dlugosz-Popko: J. Dlugosz & M. Popko
1961-01-01
Kazalnica, Sprźyna,
First ascent
Sprźyna: R. Berbeka & M. Gruczynski
1973-01-01
Kazalnica, Superściek,
First ascent
Superściek: Wojciech Kurtyka, Piotr Jasiński, Krzysztof Pankiewicz & Zbigniew Wach
1977-01-01
Kazalnica, Schody do Nieba,
First ascent
Schody do Nieba: Z. Czyźewski & M. Aderek
    NE face (Kazalnica-Mieguszowiecka Wall)
    350m wide and 400-450m high NE face is one of the more popular climbing attractions in Morskie Oko basin due to a short approach and excellent rock. The easiest route on the face is 'Korosadowicz' chimney which is graded III, usually climbed in a winter because of rotten and usually wet rock. The second easy route is 'Lapinski' chimney graded VI-, which is one of the most popular routes both in summer and winter conditions. The best routes lie in the central part of the wall - graded from VI+ up to IX+. Some of the routes are bolted, some not. There is also a few hard aid-climbs (up to A3).
    Dlugosz-Popko. Winter, VI,A1; 230m, 4-6h. 1958-01-01First ascentJ. Dlugosz & M. Popko, 1958.
    • World Mountaineering pp.36-9 #11
    Sprźyna (The Spring). VI,A0; 4-10h. 1961-01-01First ascentR. Berbeka & M. Gruczynski, 1961.
    Popular both during the summer and winter.
    • World Mountaineering pp.36-9 #12
    Superściek (The Super Sewer). Winter, V,A2, 90°; 210m, 10-15h. 1973-01-01First ascentWojciech Kurtyka, Piotr Jasiński, Krzysztof Pankiewicz & Zbigniew Wach, 1973.
    • World Mountaineering pp.36-9 #13
    Lewa Kazalnica (Dlugosz-Momatiuk). Winter, VI,A1/VIII; 12h. 1955-01-01First ascentJ. Dlugosz & C. Momatiuk, 1955.
    • World Mountaineering pp.36-9 #14
    The Pillar. VI,A2/3/IX+; 370m. 1962-01-01First ascentE. Chrobak, A. Heinrich, J. Kurczab & K Zditowiecki, 1962.
    • World Mountaineering pp.36-9 #15
    Lapinski-Paszucha. Winter, V+,A0; 560m. 1942-01-01First ascentC. Lapinski & K. Paszucha, 1942.
    One of the most popular routes both in summer and winter conditions.
    • World Mountaineering pp.36-9 #16
    Schody do Nieba (Steps to Heaven). Summer, VI/VI+; 560m. 1977-01-01First ascentZ. Czyźewski & M. Aderek, 1977.
    • World Mountaineering pp.36-9 #17
    Korosadowicz. III.
    Normal route. Usually climbed in a winter because of rotten and usually wet rock.
Mnich49.192520.0552068
Mnich Peak (Monk) is one of the best-known peaks in the Tatras and easily recognized by its pyramidal shape, a bit like a little brother of Petit Dru. The most interesting aspect is its East face above Mnichowy Zleb couloir. The wall is 250m tall, and offers huge exposure and excellent compact granite in its upper 110 meters. A lot of climbing routes are found on the peak ranging from moderate to very difficult. Classic route 4 pitches and grade IC (polish, UK S-HS).
1880-01-01
Mnich, ,
First ascent
Jan Gwalbert Pawlikowski, Maciej Sieczka
uiaa I.

Swinica

Svinica (Świnica, Swinica)49.21944420.0091672301
  • Świnica (2301m49.21944420.009167)
  • Świnicka Szczerbina Niżnia (2278m)
  • Świnicka Kopa (2291m)
Świnica (Polish) or Svinica (Slovak) is a mountain in the main crest of the High Tatras, on the Polish-Slovak border. All marked official trails to ascend it are located on the Polish side. Several rock routes on excellent granite. cable car to Kasparowy Wierch (1950m), on the Tatra main ridge, towards NW of Swinica.
1867-01-01
Svinica, ,
First ascent
Maciej Sieczka
West side
PD+; 50; 300/1500m, 11h.
NW face
Most prominent face rising more than 700m from the valley.
Zamarła Turnia49.2220.0247222179
1904-01-01
Zamarła Turnia, ,
First ascent
Józef Bajer, Ignacy Król, Ludwik Pręgowski
Kościelec49.22527820.0144442162
  • North summit (2155m)
  • Koscielcowa Pass (2115m)
  • South summit (Zadi Koscielec) (2162m49.22527820.014444)
There's marked hiking path to the summit, but also several climbing routes.
1805-01-01
Kościelec, ,
First ascent
Antoni Hoborski