Ascent of Gerlachovský štít on 2016-07-30

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Lee Newton
Adrian Rayner
Pete Ellis
Date:Saturday, July 30, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Gerlachovský štít
    Elevation:8707 ft / 2653 m

Ascent Trip Report

A fine rocky peak with lots of scrambling but no hard moves on the normal route, but an abseil is required on the normal descent route. A local guide is recommended by the authorities but not mandatory. In poor visibility the route would be hard to follow even with a GPS track. 8 hour round trip with a few parties faster and several slower than us.

After our Friday afternoon ascent of Dumbier, we make the 1 hour drive to Vysoke Tatry for Gerlach, where we have booked into Slieszky Dom hotel for 2 nights half board, in one of the cheaper rooms with bunks, good value. We've paid for the privilege of driving the narrow winding potholed road to the hotel which is at 1600m. It's at the foot of Gerlach in seriously rugged mountain setting.

Dinner is served between 6 and 9pm, buffet style and by 7.30 the selection is already a little limited but we eat well. The forecast looks good for tomorrow (best day of the weekend) so we get organised for an early start, asking the hotel for breakfast packs as there's no early breakfast.

Saturday we're hiking at 5 a.m. with quite a few parties before and after us, mostly guided. We're unguided but have no issues, no-one asks us for club membership cards, guides are friendly. Just one encounter with a park ranger as mentioned below.

The route crosses a river footbridge at the hotel car park entrance then a good path ascends the R side of the lake and up beside a waterfall. When the path arrives at the small river above the waterfall and bends R, boulder hop across the river and look for a smaller but clear path climbing R towards cliffs. It's shown on openstreetmap and there are several GPS tracks on and elsewhere.

The path follows the foot of the cliffs to the foot of an obvious large gully where the route is up to the R, protected by ironwork - this is the hardest part of the ascent on the normal route, but not a hard scramble. Most groups roped up here: our rope stayed in the backpack all day. The route keeps above the R side of the gully all the way to a notch in the ridge. From there it heads R, initially descending a little then making a traverse, always keeping west of the ridge, with a couple of descents of about 10 metres, and plenty of scrambling mostly easy.

The summit (N49.16405° E20.13401°, 2649m) is an outcrop by a cross, with a small metal object which may or may not be a trig point. Plenty of other parties up here enjoying the sunshine and great situation and view.

We are up in 3h30, spend 40mins on top then descend in three hours. The standard descent follows a gully which has an abseil (of 100m one of the guides said). There's a lot of loose stone and in view of the number of people we decide to go back down the up route. This isn't really recommended but there are very few people still coming up and we wait for any we meet to let them pass. The last part of the descent is in cloud.

The final descent to the base of the gully is pretty steep and we're certainly glad of the iron steps. As we cross the river to rejoin the main trail we are intercepted by a park ranger who doesn't seem too pleased to see us. However he has no English and the only German he can come up with is 'verboten' but we don't know exactly what our transgression was (being guideless and/or off the main trail we assume).

Leisurely afternoon at the hut with a few beers to celebrate a fine ascent of one of Europe's better ultras.

Gerlach photo album
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
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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