Ascent of Dinara on 2019-08-11

Climber: Peter Stone

Others in Party:Jill Stone
David Stone
Ceri Stone
Patrick Stone
Date:Sunday, August 11, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
    Elevation:6007 ft / 1830 m

Ascent Trip Report

Dinara (aka Sinjal) at 1831 metres is the highest mountain in Croatia. The limestone massif is 20 km long and 10 km wide and rises above the city of Knin.

Its hazards include horned vipers, stray dogs, bees, landmines and the sun. It is otherwise a straightforward mountain to climb. However, we didn't see any snakes, just lizards (about which I was rather disappointed having read the various trip reports). The only stray dog was a friendly beagle-cross at the Drago Grubać shelter who was reluctant to leave the shade let alone follow us to the top. A cloud of bees swarmed onto my wide-brimmed hat on the summit but were dispatched by a deft doffing. The minefields as marked on the latest (2016) HGSS Dinara 1:25,000 map are just over the border in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most challenging of all was the cloudless sky with temperatures of 40º C in the valley and 32º at the top (moral: don't climb here in August unless you start very early and carry 2-3 litres of water per person - indeed we saw only 2 other hikers all day).

We stayed the night before and after in Knin at the excellent guesthouse Slatki Snovi (Sweet Dreams in Croatian) who also lent us the above map. For meals I recommend both Šime & Joso and Restoran Tvrdava.

The trailhead is easy to find as the road to Glavaš is signposted (Glavaš, Uništa, Dinara) off the D1 main road in Kijevo. Once at Glavaš turn left by a painted bus shelter up a short road, which becomes unpaved, to a blue climbers’ hut with plenty of parking. There is also a dubious water source here but as there's essentially no reliable water on the route it’s best to bring and carry all your own.

Route finding is never a problem as the tracks are well worn, albeit over highly varied and occasionally rocky terrain. There is a plethora of trail signs and red circles with white centres painted on the rocks plus red and silver striped poles to guide at frequent intervals. However some of the timings on the signs were a little out; on one occasion we'd walked another 30 minutes up the trail and the stated time to summit hadn't changed, and in descent we'd walked an extra 10 minutes and the time back to the trailhead was now an additional 30 minutes. Timings painted on rocks seemed more accurate.

We ascended via a more westerly route (via Pl. sklonište Drago Grubać, path not marked on the map), but descended by a more easterly route (in the direction of Pl. sklonište Martinova košara, the path described in McKeating & Crolla's Europe’s High Points book and which is marked on the 1:25,000 map). The two routes have equal timings but the choice we made gave a little more shade on the way down.

The summit sports a long-established concrete pillar to mark the top of Croatia but is now home to a bright red hexagonal metal shelter, large enough to contain 6 or so walkers with a log-book in a metal container. The new structure (‘27/7/19’ written in the concrete base) is somewhat comparable to the structure atop Triglav but with a Croatian flag fluttering above it. A large white cross is prominent on the nearby NNE subsidiary summit only a couple of metres lower.

The karst landscape is reminiscent of the Yorkshire Dales in England, though with significant climatic and agricultural differences, perhaps more like Montagne Sainte-Victoire in Provence, but even that is much more frequented.

We rounded off the day with a quick detour to the nearby Croatia-Bosnia and Herzegovina border, crossing it on foot to claim a visit to an extra country.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The top of Croatia with its brand new summit hut (2019-08-11). Photo by Peter Stone.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5418 ft / 1651 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5418 ft / 1651 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11.2 mi / 18 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4761 ft / 1451 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4104 ft / 1250 m; Extra: 657 ft / 200m
    Loss on way in:657 ft / 200 m
    Distance:5.6 mi / 9 km
    Route:via Pl. sklonište Drago Grubać
    Start Trailhead:Glavaš  1903 ft / 580 m
    Time:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4761 ft / 1451 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4104 ft / 1250 m; Extra: 657 ft / 200m
    Gain on way out:657 ft / 200 m
    Distance:5.6 mi / 9 km
    Route:via Pl. sklonište Martinova košara
    End Trailhead:Glavaš  1903 ft / 580 m
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes

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