High Tatras

Back in Slovakia (part 2): High Tatras (Východná Vysoká, Obrovský vodopád)

Here you can find part 1 (Ascent to Slavkovský štít and Veľká Svišťovka).

High Tatras

I hiked in the central part of the High Tatras still and departed from the train station in Poprad early in the morning by using the inexpensive meter-gauge railway connection (Tatranské Elektrické Železnice).

Starý Smokovec train station
Starý Smokovec train station

Východná Vysoká, August 15

Ascending Východná Vysoká (not to be confused with Vysoká which is also a mountain in the High Tatras) was by far the most demanding tour during my week in the High Tatras.

I started hiking on the green marked path next to the train station in Tatranská Polianka on this day, a village that is located three kilometers westwards of Starý Smokovec at 1005 meters AMSL.

Excluding breaks, it took me four hours to climb Východná Vysoká (2429 meters AMSL) and to enjoy the breathtaking view from the “Eastern Peak”.

Near Tatranská Polianka (Start)
Near Na Velickom moste, and near the starting point of my tour (Tatranská Polianka)

Velická dolina, which one has to cross for the climb, is one of the most visited and easiest accessible valleys in the High Tatras.

At the valley entrance in the proximity of the Sliezsky Dom Hotel (“Silesian House”, the hotel is situated next to the trail and the Velické pleso mountain lake on 1670 meters) there exist several unmarked paths to Gerlachovský štít, the highest mountain in the High Tatras (2655 meters AMSL) and in the whole Carpathian mountain range.

However, the summit is not accessible for normal visitors without a certified mountain guide due to the grade of difficulty and due to nature protection laws.

Near sedlo Poľský hrebeň (2200 meters), view westwards (Zamrznuté pleso)
Near sedlo Poľský hrebeň (2200 meters), view westwards onto Zamrznuté pleso (“Frozen mountain lake”)

From sedlo Poľský hrebeň (you can translate it roughly with “High Polish crest”) at 2200 meters, the difficult remainder of the climb to Východná Vysoká has to be completed although the path is no via ferrata. It is the steepness and the bizarre boulders loose lying all over the place what makes it difficult to hike.

After a short break on the peak I descended on the same way I had been climbing up (the green marked path), but from Velická poľana on I followed the yellow marks to the train station in Nový Smokovec.

Obrovský vodopád, August 16

After three exhausting days of hiking I decided to make a comparatively short hiking tour to some of the noteworthy cascades in the vicinity of Hrebienok, a well-known spa (1285 meters AMSL).

Starting point was the train station in Tatranská Lesná two kilometers westwards of Tatranská Lomnica, finishing point was again Starý Smokovec.

The trail I had chosen is popular, easily accessible, and not overly difficult to hike (at first yellow, later green marked path). The first part of the way leads one alongside the stream Studený potok (“Cold stream”).

Cascade near Rainerova chata (vodopády studeného potoka)
Cascade near Rainerova chata (vodopády studeného potoka)

The bridges and small view points at the cascades seem to be very crowded throughout the whole summer months, so one should be prepared to wait a few minutes before he can pass them or catch a good spot for taking a photo.

One must not miss the Rainerova chata near the Obrovský vodopád (voda: water, pád: fall) cascade, a refuge (or cabin) built in 1863.

Aside from buying food and beverage supplies one can take a look at a small exposition of ancient hiking and skiing equipment here inside this tiny but comfortable cabin.

Bridge at Obrovský vodopád
Wooden bridge at Obrovský vodopád (“Huge cascade”) – usually crowded during the summer months

Photos by Agata Dukalska

Here are a couple of photos from fellow hikers I met in the refuge Chata pri Zelenom plese. Thanks for sharing them with me.

High Tatras panorama view, Malá Studená dolina ("Small Cold valley")
High Tatras panorama view, Malá Studená dolina (“Small Cold valley”)
Téryho chata (2015 meters) and the Malá Studená dolina
Téryho chata (2015 meters AMSL) and the Malá Studená dolina

Bratislava, August 17

I spent the weekend in the capital of Slovakia, relaxing, and meeting some of my Slovak friends.

Unfortunately one and a half days is by far not enough to do all the activities I would like to do.

So I look forward to my next vacation in Slovakia, where the western parts of the High Tatras (the famous Kriváň, for example) and the Fatra mountains are also on my To-Do list.

Featured image: Malá Studená dolina