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Ascent of Chopok on 2012-08-30

Climber: Martin Richardson

Date:Thursday, August 30, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Chopok
    Location:Slovakia
    Elevation:2023 m / 6640 ft

Ascent Trip Report

Started south of Chopok at Sredisko (1213m) which I discovered by chance as I did not have a map. This had a nice cool covered car park underneath the chair skilift. I did not use the ski lifts, and there was a new one being built higher up to take you near to the summit of Chopok. There is already a lift that goes all the way on the north side.
Used tiny and sketchy map on a skilift leaflet, which at times was not over-helpful . Directions on the signposts for Dumbier itself only appeared quite near the summit - highest point in Niske Tatry (2043m P1143)..
From the ski-centre I took the yellow marked track which zigzagged through the trees to the left of the ski run and came out in the middle of the building work. There was some vague attempt to divert the path around the works – however, the British HSE would have had a fit. At one point, I had to walk through ankle high very loose earth whilst JCB driver temporarily stopped long enough for me to get by. I then followed a blue marked path that traversed the hill eastwards for quite a while to Razcestie na Krupovo sedlo where there was a curious junction with a red marked path that doubled back sharply. Initially I thought it was just a variant of the path that I was already on. This takes you up to the saddle just below Dumbier and where the first sign for Dumbier appeared. It was 20 minutes from there to the summit, that sports another of the Slovakian double crosses, plus a range of other markers. There were a few other people there, but not a lot. Most people seem to be content with just going to Chopok which is the second highest point on the ridge.
I followed the ridge back westwards on a paved track to the Kamenna Chata refuge which is just below the summit of Chopok (2024m). After bagging the very crowded summit I went in the even more crowded refuge for a large cup of sweet tea and potato cakes.
To the west is another top, Derese (2003m). Very few people bother with it and, in fact, the path bypasses it. I was one of the few – although the large number of silly looking small cairns built all around it showed that there are enough visitors to spoil things.
From Derese I doubled back to an unsignposted yellow marked track that descended the hill. It soon became apparent why it was not signposted as it was quite unlike any other path I have used in Czech R/Poland/Slovakia – there has been no attempt to smooth it out in terms of direction or terrain. It changed direction dramatically without apparent reason, it sometimes went back uphill and it was narrow with dwarf pines lining the sides much of the way and it was deeply grooved with plenty of roots and rocks to trip you up. In other words, it would have been a pleasure to do if not already tired by a long walk. It was also lined at times by bushes full of bilberries and redcurrants – delicious.
Eventually I found the blue marked traverse path that took me back to the head of the ski-run, where I ignored all the keep out signs and descended steeply and directly to the ski-centre for a welcome cup of tea.

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