Low Tatras

The Low Tatras main ridge (part 1)

Nízke Tatry (Low Tatras) – Kráľovohoľské Tatry

Socializing, making friends and finding great comradery was and of course still is for me the most enjoyable aspect of any several-day outdoor adventure in a high altitude mountain area.

One such small adventure that offers just that is hiking across the Low Tatras main ridge in Slovakia, even in fine weather a challenging mountain tour that usually takes up five days.

Beside being close to a pristine nature and having a good chance to spot brown bears (medveďov) along the way – a remarkable thing in Central Europe – bivouac places, small cabins and more comfortable chalets offer every opportunity to get in touch with a broad range of outdoor enthusiasts. For example rock climbers from New Zealand, fanatics who had started their journey on the E8 long-distance trail in Poland and were already hiking for several weeks, and mere recreational hikers with surprising stamina regardless.

We hiked for four days from Telgárt lying in the very east towards Chopok (at this finishing point we descended to Demänovská Dolina and took the bus to Liptovský Mikuláš), the third-highest peak in the Low Tatras mountain range boasting 2024 meters above sea level, hence accomplishing about two thirds of the Low Tatras main ridge tour, that itself is part of an even longer tour across whole Slovakia (the aforementioned E8).

The most solitary sections are those which are comparatively remote and demanding to walk through, obviously. Here the paths between the Útulňa Andrejcová1 and the Útulňa Ramža (útulňa stands for “cozy hut” in English), the latter offering nothing but a nearby water source and a very modest shelter with barely enough space to sleep (one can sleep more comfortably in Čertovica which is about two hours farther west).

Generally speaking, water sources are rare aside from those nearby the shelters, so it is important to carry a sufficient supply depending one one’s individual need and the temperatures on a given day.

From the Čertovica mountain pass on, which lies on 1232 meters and splits the mountain range into a western and an eastern part (Ďumbierske Tatry, Kráľovohoľské Tatry), you start to encounter more fellow hikers, for the apparent reason that you’ll come across the highest peaks of the Low Tatras mountain range: which are the already mentioned Chopok, Štiavnica (2025 meters AMSL) and Ďumbier (2043 meters AMSL).

Ascending the highest mountain Ďumbier – starting point Chata M.R.Štefánika demands three hundred meters difference in altitude to negotiate – was clearly a highlight and the reward after a three days ordeal through sweltering heat, though we had luck with the weather and were spared from thunderstorms (búrka) and heavy rainfall (dážď).

End of part 1 – part 2.

Photo gallery

June 18 ’23 (Telgárt – Útulňa Andrejcová)

June 19 ’23 (Útulňa Andrejcová – Čertovica)

June 20 ’23 (Čertovica – Ďumbier)

June 21 ’23 (Chata M.R.Štefánika – Chopok)

1 as of June ’23, the price for sleeping in a borrowed tent is ten Euro, and for sleeping in the hut seven Euro; in either case, you need a sleeping bag; special note: this hut used to be without a keeper not long ago, but offers limited service now