A need of rest in the cold Chamonix Winter season… A wish of sun, good rock, climbing and chilling days … So I’ve called Ena Vrbek, my favorite Croatian mountain rescuer to know about the climbing conditions in eastern europe :
“Hey, you know what ? we could go to Paklenica. It’s a national Park located in the south, 2h driving from Zagreb. It’s a lovely place, close to the sea. Here we can find nice multipitches routes on a perfect limestone.”
So the trip begins by 8h driving from Chamonix, traversing all northem Italia, a bit of Slovenia to end in the beautiful capital city of “Hrvatska Republika”.
On the first days in Paklenica, weather was a bit cold with strong north wind called “Bure”. So we decided to climb on “Crljenica” aera.
Here are nice 100 m multipiched routes and a perfect sportclimbing spot. We’ve chosen “Alba chiara” : 6c-5c-6a-5a. A good way to familiarize with the local climb and in the same time be sheltered from the cold wind.
Next day, a bit more serious, we‘ve been climbing to “Debeli kuk” through a route called “Slovenski”.
A nice 200m limestone monolith with moderate climbing : no more than 6a (If you don’t get lost J) : 5a-5c-5b-6a-5b-5c-6a.
Once on top, the view of “Anika kuk” is like a strong magnet for climbers… So we decided to go there on the following day.
We’ve chosen the route “Albatros” partly because the climbing book says it’s one of the most beautiful in the range.
But climbing is a bit more serious than days before. For this 350m route grades are : 7a-5a-5a-5c-6b-5c-5a-4c, and it’s good not to over-estimate yourself too much. “Albatros” is a classic one, very well equipped and you don’t need any camalots or nuts.
But for me grades are more like : 7a-5c-5c-6a-6b-6a-5c-5c. Else the first pitch which climbs on a finger crack is an alram clock sports !
Anyway it’s taken us 5h to arrive on summit of “Anika kuk” (712m). A little moment taking eyeful of seaview and the nice mountains around, a little moment enjoying this amazing day and we‘ve gone down walking.
Paklenica is often compared to “Les callanques” our national treasure. A wonderful seaview, very good limestone, hundreds of sportclimbing pitches, thousands of multipitches from quite easy to very hard (Spider, next project ??)…
So if you are looking for good climbing holidays, whatever your level between 4b and 8b, don’t hesitate to discover this attractive national park… but be careful, it’s not so hard to fall in love with this cute little part of croatia ☺