Category: mountains

mountains

Bucegi Glacial Gardens of Summer

I have been lazy lately with my writing, that’s for sure. Here I am, back in business, to share a few words with you from our trip in Bucegi.

The Bucegi massif is one of the most important places for climbing and mountaineering in Romanian Carpathians. With spectacular rock faces dropping into the Prahova Valley, the Bucegi have witnessed the birth of Romanian rock climbing. In the 1930s, their walls were the first to bear climbers and pitons, culminating with the first technical big-wall route, in 1935.

Their proximity to Bucharest makes the Bucegi mountains a great destination for the weekend, and, for me, is one of the most visited during the year. However, I never get tired of them and I find the Bucegi to be one of the most fascinating places I’ve even seen!

A month ago, me and Adelina found ourselves at the foot of the mountain, looking for some hot summer hiking trip. I finally convinced her to try an alpine hiking trail, of which I was telling her stories for years. We are finally going to climb together the Moraru Valley, a long glacial valley stretching all the way from the base to the highest peak, Omu.

After leaving behind a large group of tourists from a local club, we are alone in nature. We can breathe the forest, the birds and the whole mountain. Soon, we enter the valley, littered with boulders and rocks, erratics carried by the glaciers thousands of years ago. Raising our sight, we witness one of the most breathtaking alpine scenery in Bucegi: the North face of Moraru mountain. Near vertical canyons drop for almost 400 meters, separated by towering cliffs and rocks. It is a place where man seldom wanders. It’s the realm of the elegant and acrobatic chamois, the sole conqueror of this harsh, yet beautiful, environment. Above all, the Moraru Needles stand like a grand crown. Four rock pillars, tens of meters high, raise up like jagged teeth from the mountain. It’s magnificent ridge and an icon for Bucegi.

Acele Morarului (“The Moraru Needles”) are four rock formations that form a jagged alpine ridge. Visible from high distances, they are like teeth or aiguilles and it’s easy to understand why they have become a symbol of Bucegi and one of the most desired places to be by mountaineers and climbers. Traversing the needles is a classical route in Bucegi, graded 2A in the Romanian system, PD in the French. Each needle offers a unique perspective and challenges and, needless to say, the view from their top is amazing. A story about climbing this iconic ridge will come soon!

For today, we remain below these rock giants. We follow the valley uphill, using the old pastoral trail, which detours most of the obstacles along the way. Of course, one could climb the valley straight up (like I did in 2013, leading one of my first groups of people), but it’s not what we seek for now. We just want to enjoy the views, the flowers and the mountain. Thus, we slowly make our way uphill. Soon, we are in the uppermost glacial cirque, where a fierce wind blasts us. It was cloudy until now, but here, at the top of the mountain, fog and wind reign supremely.

We have a short break at Omu chalet, on the highest peak in the massif. Far from me to like this place in summer, being very crowded and noisy, but a warm bowl of soup is good for our bellies. After lunch, we slowly make our way to Scara peak and downwards to the Țigănești saddle, where is the tourist shelter we are going to spend the night in. Somehow, I am feeling unusually tired on this section and drag my ass to bed.

There are people at the shelter. A lot of tourist-like baboons, noisy, drunk and ill mannered. I am very patient and try to ignore their presence, or else there could be violence. We do find some friendly faces, though, and spend the evening talking memories with Alexandra and Adrian. At sundown, the cloud ceiling gets spectacularly low, and the sunrays are filtered through beautifully. It was a nice moment.

Despite the drunk ape snoring symphony, we slept well. In the morning, after a bit of lazying on the grass, sunbathing and talking to a shy sheepdog. He had beautiful, sincere eyes. You know, the kind no human has. Joined by Răzvan, a guy we met last night, we go down the Ciubotea valley, another glacial feature of Bucegi.

Today feels like summer indeed. It’s very hot and dry. We arrive in Bran at noon, a very noisy and busy place, with lots and lots of people around, drawn by all that commercial Dracula crap. Fortunately for us, the bus for Brașov is here quickly and we’re on our way home.

No matter how many times I visit them, the Bucegi are always fascinating and surprisingly amazing!

More images from the Moraru and Ciubotea glacial valleys can be seen here. Also, make sure you browse the Adventures section; you will find great inspiration on outdoor weekend retreats.

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