Ascent of Kriváň on 2012-08-23

Climber: Martin Richardson

Date:Thursday, August 23, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:8182 ft / 2493 m

Ascent Trip Report

I left Strbske Pleso on the red marked track that goes north-west skirting the pleso/lake itself and then through the forested area - or what is left of the forest after the February 2004 Tatranska Bora (katabatic wind) and the subsequent bark beetle infection. Large areas of the forest were devastated in a period of two hours as the wind smashed its way through.
Near the Jamske pleso a blue marked track heads north and this is where the uphill climb starts, initially through forest, then dwarf pine and then on open ground that becomes increasingly steeper and bouldery.
By the time the track reaches Krivan's southern ridge there are a number of sections of scrambling. I was surprised to find that none of these sections had chains as found elsewhere in the Tatry in similar situations - there were a handful of people who were clearly struggling to get up or down in places. It was also the first mountain in the Tatry where there was evidence that people use a variety of different routes to the one that is marked out - presumably in a vain attempt to find an easier way.
Being Slovakia's national mountain I expected it to be more crowded than it was. That could be partly because it is is of less interest to the Poles and partly because I had set out quite late.
The view from the summit was great. The only problem was that I realised that my water bottle was empty and I was thirsty.
I used the ascent route as my route of descent. At least this meant I knew how far I had to go before I would reach a water source - which was almost down by the Jamske pleso. After drinking the stream dry, I realised I had 50 minutes to the next cog train which only runs once an hour. The sign said 75 minutes to Strbske Pleso. Despite pushing a pace that was short of actually running I missed the train by three minutes - for once, the timing on the sign was not as generous as others.
Most of the bars/restaurants in the resort close at 7.00 pm, so it was a bit of a struggle to find one that was still open and have a beer.
The 8.00 pm train was full - full of tired, sunburned, sweaty but happy walkers of all ages - a few I recognised as having met earlier in the day and on previous days.

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