The best way to make your birthday unforgettable, for both you and your friends, is to invite them for a mellow hiking weekend and then take them to the top of Slovenia. It is anyways too hot in the city or on the coast and I’ve never been to Triglav. Plus my snowboarding buddy Urška is taking care of the Stanič hut under Triglav this summer so why not. It took us about 1 minute to make a plan and by the end of that day the whole 9 members crew confirmed. Mateja, Conny, Babsi and Sigi are coming from Austria, Mirjana and her dad Drago are starting from Čakovec and Igor, Mance and I from Zagreb. Since I’m clueless about hiking routes, Drago chose Valley Kot as our starting point and he chose well. The description in slovenian said it was a very difficult route and since my german sucks I just told girls it would be "geile weg am berg und viel spass machen zusamen so we were all happy".
Crew Kolac, from Čakovec, was at the Valley Kot 9am sharp like real nerds and the rest of us arrived ‘early in the morning’ around 11am. We let two of them go alone while we waited for Austrians. The girls got stuck somewhere in the traffic jam with the rest of the tourists (that traffic jam was just a warmup for what was about to happen) so Igor, Mance and I filled up the time with eating a sandwich and then another one and another one and then chocolate and then our backpacks got lighter and food supply for tomorrow questionable. It’s not even noon and we’re ‘already’ hiking up to the hut, mostly wearing short pants and t-shirts. Although everybody told me it was going to be cold up there I couldn’t honestly imagine it. I took a jacket just in case. Anyhow, if it gets really cold I can always pull out ‘it’s my birthday’ card and make somebody lend me theirs.
The steep trail soon gets out of the woods and becomes a rocky path surrounded by Rjavina and Vrbanove Špice. The weather report predicted there would be no rain and there was none…at last in Dalmatia. To us rain came in fast and heavy. I used the absence of a raincoat to wash my hair and take a proper shower. Urška prepared me there was no luxury of that kind in the hut so I thankfully seized the opportunity. The black cloud was soon blown away by the wind and we’re again walking in the sun surrounded by the gang of mountain goats. About 20 of them, all chilled out sitting on the rocks without a care in the world. I suppose Mirjana and her dad, who were on the peaks above us, could see a random stupid situation where 7 of us idiots are taking all the gopros, lomos, phones and cameras out just to take 100 similar goat photos. But then again, you don’t have a chance to hang out with so many goats that often…not unless you spend time in Hvar where they are all over the place walking in high heels on the rough cobbled floor.
We separated into two groups on the crossing for Stanič hut and Vrbanove Špice. Team ‘wussies’ took the easy way and went straight to the hut and team ‘brave’ chose a via feratta option. As an experienced mountaineer I was obviously in the group number two, mostly because I had no idea what feratta was and would look like. The rock hit my head pretty much right away and I was happy it hit the helmet and not the display of the brand new Canon I was carefully holding in my hands. But soon after climbing the first peak I realised how awesome this was and where we really were. The peaks in front of us are protruding like sharp fingers and we are climbing and descending them like a Super Mario game. Every negligent step could be fatal so all sorts of scenarios are going through my head. I wouldn’t wanna be that fool dying on her birthday. But considering the fact that being in balance was my job so far I ignore the drops on both sides and keep on going. We’re are amused by the technical routes and feeling sorry we couldn’t share this moment with the ‘wuss’ team. Although they’re now probably elegantly tipsy with Urška and are not feeling like missing anything.
And just when you think you’ve seen everything we climbed the last peak and there was this dreamy meadow. Stupid random situation number 2 this day was Conny laying in the grass having a german monolog, Igor doing handstands and me performing the third decade winning dance. When the drugs stopped working we descended to the hut and the reckless party started. Austrians took out all the, painfully carried, alcohol (around 3 dl all together), Mirjana had cookies, Mance chocolate, Urška and Petra made me a cake out of the last apple and banana and was slightly proud my friends are so nicely retarded. The party went on till 21:30. We trashed the place! There were male strippers and heavy drugs as usual.
The alarm was set for 5am and the idea was to start hiking at 5:15am to be among the first. We, classically, miss both and arrive to Kredarica, starting point of the last Triglav ascent, with everyone else. About hundred people can already be seen on the ridge moving like little ants and hundred more are putting the safety gear on and getting ready to start. Not exactly the scenario I had in mind but what’s new. I imagine flowers and butterflies even if going to Greenland.
Mountain photos are definitely in and highly liked on Facebook and Instagram so people of all shapes and sizes were determined to take one today. In case of old people this peak might have been a bucket list thing. Maybe the last one on it. There was so many people as if the helicopter rescue ride was free of charge. We’re climbing through the rock and trying to overtake all the Olgas, Heinzes, Tomazses and Jovankas but the terrain is sketchy and it doesn’t allow much manoeuvring so we end up getting stuck in a traffic jam every few minutes. The wind is picking up. Temperature feels like below zero. My face iz cold and my nose is red. I’m grateful Mirjana gave me hew gloves but my hands are still frozen and I’m not feeling so comfortable holding the steel cables. We’re quietly making our way over the impressive ridge and right when we reach the last ascent to the top we get stuck in another #liveauthentic jam. It reminded me of people sleeping in front of the store, waiting for the new iPhone to come out. We read each other minds, immediately turn around and start walking back. We ably go around, more determined, hikers and descent fast like sliding the toboggans in the water park. What a birthday expedition failure. The day we almost climbed Triglav. The stain I’ll never be able to clean off my name.
Urška fed us with a delicious soup at the hut in exchange for few civilisation goodies. A cookie, jelly candy, headband, new edition of Playgirl…all those things are much valued on 2332 m where only helicopter can bring necessities every 2 weeks. Our way down to the valley aka mad rolling went on for a while and turned out to be physically most demanding part of this adventure. Even the healthiest knees got wobbly and we looked like a beginner swing lessons. Mad props to dad Drago for handling it all like a young man. Now I know where Mirjana got the crazy genes.
Conclusion after the almost Triglav ascent:
My birthday was epic. To me at least. That’s what’s important anyways.
Austrians are still my friends but they don’t answer my phone lately. I guess something is wrong with the network.
Mateja (almost Slovenian living in Austria) is still not a real Slovenian failing to conquer Triglav and she’s not that happy about it.
Mance’s new love is alpinism and the rumor says it she’ll switch daily climbs to Sljeme for Triglav ascents. She’s also suing me for emotional damage this weekend brought her.
Urška and Petra are still on the mountain, still with dirty hair but clean lungs.
Crew Kolac had a blast cos they always do and everything is wonderful and safe and funny.
Igor survived 2 days with the girls and even occasionally smiled to them. Soon we’ll have to much of this up and coming bundle of joy.