A wonderful weekend in Piatra Craiului

Posted: January 11, 2012 in Piatra Craiului
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After the holidays I was eager to do something in nature… running, biking, hiking, anything.Because of some nasty cold I couldn’t do anything in the last 2,5weeks, so I didn’t want to waste this week-end again.

What to do?… well Saturday I’ve plan to run through Zarnesti Gorge / Prapastiile Zarnestiului and to see/feel how is the winter running. I’ve never run long distances on snow so I was really looking forward to this. And Sunday? … let’s try the main ridge πŸ˜€ because the forecast looks promising. So that was pretty much the plan.

Saturday

I’ve woke up in the morning, had some tea, some honey and drive to Gura Raului. The weather was quite cold and I was planning to run with a wind jacket, a sweater and a technical long sleeve shirt. After the first few hundred meters I’ve gave up the sweater πŸ™‚

This is the route profile thanks to mapmyrun.com

In the first few km the road was very icy and slipper, but with the help of my shoes it was quite pleasant to run on this kind of terrain. One year ago I’ve bought some gore-tex snickers from the second-hand market :D. They were like new and I was wondering back than why the seller asked for such a small amount of money. When I wanted to run with them on asphalt I’ve realized that they have some sort of crampons. I’ve took a closer look back than and I realized they were designed for golf :(. I was really disappointed because they are quite uncomfortable on even ground, but this Saturday I was really happy that I could use them to run on snow/ice :D.

Some pics…

After the barrier, the snow was quite big and I was running harder and harder … but it was wonderful. I was feeling great, close to nature in a beautiful gorge. Although mapmyrun says its 4,5 km, i would approximate more to 5 km. The height difference was 302 m according to my altimeter, very close to the route profile.

To my surprise a lot of people was walking through the gorge, some of them carrying their skies. The snow was just great, and after 35 minutes I’ve reached the highest point of the run. I had a short 2 minutes break for catching my breath and for a photo and started to descend. I was really enjoying the dumping effect of the snow powder and shortly…

…I’ve reached back Gura Raului. In total 1h and 3 minutes of pure winter joy. Although it was only one hour, my batteries were recharged and my thought was flying to the next day.

Sunday

For the Sunday trip I’ve talked with Tudor who was also interest to feel the mountains in the winter. We wanted to start early, to go up on the main ridge on Lehman route, go to Ascutit peak and them climb down through Padinile Frumoase. That was the plan… however due to some watch problems :), we were at Botorg at 9:30.

The snow was quite generous in size and we were climbing slowly through the woods. In Zanoaga it was still cloudy but I was hoping we will be above the clouds on the ridge.

This is the new mascot of Curmatura hut … its just gorgeous

As we’ve started to gain height on Lehmann route the ground was very slippery. Below the fresh snow it was a layer of frozen ground and ice and it was quite hard to advance in some portions. However we were climbing hard and constant and soon my wish came true… we were above the clouds.

The snow was quite big and, as we were approaching the ridge, the sun was warming us … it was quite nice to feel the warmth of the sun after the foggy and chili portion in Zanoaga. On the ridge the view was again surreal.

As we’ve reached the half of the way between Lehmann route end point and Ascutit peak we’ve realized that time was catching up … there was not enough time to reach Ascutit and climb down on day light. So we’ve decided to turn back. On the ridge there were no tracks, and we lost a lot of time passing thorough the small trees. Anyway it was a good decision because in less than 15 minutes the ridge was covered in clouds. We arrived at Curmatura, drink a hot tea and get back to Botorog. It was really a wonderful week-end for me. It had everything I wanted: nature, running, hiking, snow, good weather, outstanding views… what more can I wish for? πŸ˜€

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