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Ascent of Swinica on 2012-08-19

Climber: Martin Richardson

Date:Sunday, August 19, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Swinica
    Location:Poland
    Elevation:2300 m / 7549 ft

Ascent Trip Report

I had made a late start so I did contemplate getting the ski-chairlift from Kuznice to Kasprowy Wierch (1987m). However, when I saw the length of the queue, I realised that it would be as quick to walk rather than the probable three hour wait. Again, it was a long trek through forest to the Schronisko Murowaniec refuge, past some tarns and then zigzags up to the main ridge at Swinicka Przelecz (Pig saddle). There was a fine scramble along the ridge with chains nearer the summit of Svinica (2301m/P351).

From here to the saddle at Zawrat the route was a series of chains that dropped down and up dramatically - not particularly difficult to follow but tiring. Waiting for someone to come the opposite way gave a welcome chance to have a break, but slowed down progress.
At Zawrat I did consider carrying on the Orla Perc (Eagle's perch) to Kosy Wierch but decided against it as already late afternoon and I would end up descending in the dark.
The blue route from Zawrat was interesting enough in itself - at the beginning it was quite steep, with plenty of chains. On the way down I came across a small herd of wild kosica/mountain goats who did not seem to be troubled by human presence.
After the kosica the path just became the standard rough bouldery stumble that I am getting used to. It was quite pleasant to circumnavigate the Czarny Staw Gasienicowy tarn with good retrospective views back up the hill. And then it was a long trek past the Schronisko Murowaniec where there was a chance to have a cup of tea.
As I was approaching the Przelecz miedzy Kopami saddle in the late evening daylight I could see a group of people sat down on each side of the track as if they were waiting for a bus. This, foolishly, raised my hopes that there may be such a service. I just could not figure what they were waiting for. As I turned the corner it became clear why. It was so good that I realised when they all looked at me that I must have said 'wow' out loud and not just thought it. The sun was low down and about to set in the gap between Kresanica and the distant Babia Gora.
I have been in this situation before, whereby if you sit and watch the sunset whilst still high up on a hill it means that inevitably you are going to end up walking down in the dark. So, the final kilometres were a bit of a stumble in the dark and I was glad to finally reach the road at Kuznice. From there the last couple of kilometres back to the campsite was a doddle despite feeling tired and by now, hungry. But I was by no means the last to get back - I had left behind all the other sunset worshippers and overtaken several other people on the way.

For pictures and context, see my blog 'Went up a hill and came down' at:
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