Ascent of Maja e Jezercës on 2016-09-21

Climber: Rob Woodall

Date:Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Maja e Jezercës
    Elevation:2694 m / 8839 ft

Ascent Trip Report

25km round trip, 2000m ascent, fairly long day hike from Thethi, on trail or following cairns. High clearance 4wd highly advisable on last 17km of drive in from Shkroder direction. Impressive limestone scenery reminiscent of Italian Dolomites.

After morning ascent of Vihren, 10hr drive via Macedonia and Kosovo into Albania, brief stop at
NBT Oil services on A1 motorway for surprisingly good trad Albanian food, cafeteria style, friendly staff, also useful food store. Road to Thethi trailhead paved except for last 15km; car park at start of unpaved section. We drive short way beyond, then decide to leave remainder til morning.

Last 17km of road down to Thethi is pretty rough, taking an hour in our Suzuki Grand Vitara. Might be possible but worrying in standard 2wd, just saw one down there, even the locals use 4wd.

We pass Martin Richardson's high level trailhead xxxx (bold drive in camper van?) and find farm / guesthouse mentioned by Petter Bjorstad - possibly being refurbished, we are waved on down to the village. Crossing the bridge we park 300m up stony road just beyond another guesthouse. Could have parked 2km further up road as mentioned by Petter: 2 guesthouses here at far end of village, would shorten hike a little.

Cloud a little low as we set off at 0745, but very impressive scenery. Several tracks leading up the stony valley bottom with main hiking trail fairly well marked with red and white flashes. Smaller trail thru small pines then spectacular zigzag ascent finding a gap in the 500m cliffs which hem in the valley head. Fork R at top and contour above deep grassy bowl (sink hole) with stone built sheepfold far below. Main trail descends a little and crosses to far L side of a shallower grassy bowl. However we keep high, on a trail which contours round above (R of) the upper bowl then we contour in reasonable grassy terrain before joining main route and climbing to a rocky bowl which turns R and becomes a narrow stony reentrant. At top of this, route turns sharp L, crosses some fascinating limestone formations with deep crevices, almost crevasses. Route marked with small cairns, not too easy to spot, but route generally keeps to L edge of deep rocky bowl (R edge of huge rough spur), then climbs R across scree to foot of cliffs, continuing R beneath them. At xxxx cairned trail climbs a few m (YDS3 scramble), however it's easier to continue below them until they run out then easy climb (YDS2+) straight up, rejoining main cairned route, to col on broad ridge, then ascending R a short way. Easiest route then traverses L to join a paint marked route which ascends from L (from N, Montenegro). Short level section of ridge leads to summit cross.

4 people already at summit, Polish, pleased to find we know route to Thethi, they came up from Montenegro, and have a pretty useless military map. Weather poor with little visibility, starts to snow so we head down, them following until down the first awkward section. Rains intermittently for much of descent. Reaching the grassy bowl we follow the more standard route which crosses it, instead of our contouring route. Either is ok. Further down we see a large group of hikers coming from the Montenegro side (quite a popular route I think). Pity weather wasn't better but very glad to have been able to climb this fine peak.

Back at car at 1715, able to get back to the paved road before dark, find food and hotel in Shkroder, planning to head south for Cikes tomorrow.

Jezerkes photos:
Summary Total Data
    Distance:25 km / 15.5 mi
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Distance:25 km / 15.5 mi
Descent Statistics
    Distance:0 km / 0 mi
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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