Climbing the highest peak of Slovakia – Gerlachovský stit in High Tatras
We start at 7:30 a.m. from the mountain hotel Sliezsky dom. It is early September. We could wake up earlier and start the trip, but our mountain guide advices us to wait until ice will melt a bit, so that the path is not too slippery.
Under the Batizovska proba (proba means pass or try-out) we – three tourist and one mountain guide – take rope and fasten each other, so we continue walking in a line. First one and the last one wears crampons on boots. The ascent is easy in the beginning. From time to time we slip a bit, but the ground is not that icy as it was probably earlier in the morning.
We reach the part of the route with iron ladders and cramps. Here starts technically more complicated and slower progress. Sometimes I have to stop and think about which feet and which hand to put in the right place so that I move forward. In one situation it takes me fairly long and my friends on the route must wait for me. After a while a get organized and I understand how to go on. After that it is simpler. The weather is good. From time to time even the sun is visible behind clouds.
Through a steep pass we continue to the top. The slope is really steep so we concentrate intensively on each step. The pass bows to the left. At the end of the pass we finally see the top of Gerlach. It is eleven o’clock. We shake hands with my Magyar friend Balázs, who persuaded me to undertake this adventure.
On the way back we have slight problem with the coordination of the walking speed because of the rope we are fastened at. When we manage the most difficult parts we are happy that we can unfasten each other, we can move freely and do not have to adjust the pace according to the group. So we did it. Photos taken by Balázs are also nice.
Ascent of Gerlach is not difficult, each tourist with normal abilities can manage. That does not mean however that preparation and good equipment is not important. The obligation to use service of a professional mountain guide is also correct. The weather may change in a minute and fog or storm can cause major complications not only because of difficult orientation but also because of technically more demanding movement. In such a situation is a good guide the only help.