Rock Climbing in Polish Tatra Mountains

Despite relatively low altitude (the highest peak, Gerlach, has 2655 m a.s.l.) Tatra Mountains (in Polish Tatry) have alpine character and offer good climbing in beautiful setting.

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General information

Location: border between Poland and Slovakia (the information below is focused on the Polish side).

Season: ice climbing during winter, rock climbing from around late June to early October; patches of snow remain summer time.

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↑Photo taken in early July of 2017

Climbing type: granite, alpine, typical length is 4 pitches, the longest ones have over 10 pitches.5

Protection: “standard” set (cams 0.3–3‘’, nuts), slings, half ropes; not many fixed anchors, there may be pitons but you need to judge their quality yourself; it is advised to bring a hammer and a few pitons.

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Approach: approach could take 1–4 hours one way; weather can change dramatically and unexpectedly, bring rain protection and always plan retreat; it may be significantly colder on the rock than in shelter a few hundreds meters below, make sure to have long sleeves.

Info: Guidebooks and posters with climbing routes (topo) shall be bought in outdoor stores before getting to the park; routes use UIAA grading scale.

Getting there

Unless you have a car, get a minivan(bus) from Zakopane to Tatra National Park. Once in the park itʼs 9km easy hike to the nearest shelter Eye of the Sea shelter (Morskie Oko in Polish), take a horse cart if lazy.

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Accomodation

There are a few shelters within Tatry National Park offering cheap accommodation (~$10+ USD per bed per night), hot showers, hot food (~$3–5) and cold beers (~$1.5); see prices for Eye of the Sea shelter (Morskie Oko).

It is close to impossible to make a reservation for summer time unless you do it a year ahead. A few of the shelters, however, let you sleep on floor and use their facilities (toilet, hot shower, dryer) if there are no available beds, for free or for around $5 per night.

The Old Hut of Eye of the Sea shelter (it is a separate building) has a kitchen with cooking facilities.

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↑Sleeping on the floor of a dining room in The Valley of Fives Lakes Shelter

 

Regulations

- It is not legal to camp inside the National Park.

- Before leaving shelter climbing you are supposed to write your destination and expected return time in a book, remember to sign off your return – a rescue team will be sent otherwise.

 

Article / photos: Michal Lu

Editing: Ya-te Chen

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