Tales of The Tatras Peaks VI - Footprints on the Ridge

28. 1. 2013, 19:49

White spots on the maps fascinated people for ages. We can still search for them in ourselves. Because of this you need to raise your eyes to climb higher and push your frontiers. To conquer the main ridge of the whole Tatras in the winter is a big challenge of technique, physical and psychical conditions. The only one who managed it was Pavol Pochylý in 1978. For the last 35 years, nobody was able to repeat his achievement without any support...

Tales of the Tatras Peaks VI


In the last sixth part of our documentary, we try to catch not only the difficulty of this project but also the fascinating scenery. To go through a ridge means to live the unique story of human courage, strong will, endurance and pushing once own frontiers. It's only from the ridge we can catch the atmosphere and the beauty of the whole Tatras, to look from above into the deep valleys and feel the way climbers do.

The mountaineers start in the west Hutianske saddle, go through the whole west Tatras and follow their sharp ridge. We track them the other peaks mentioned in the last fifth part of the documentary and so create an imaginary map, a mosaic of historical stories about discovering the Tatras. The mountaineers finish in east Ždiarske Saddle in the Belianske Tatras. Climbing up their ridge we take a look into a strictly protected area considered to be the most beautiful of the Tatras region.

These three parts of the ridge measure all together almost 75 km. To overcome it means a serious mountaineering happening, especially in winter. Vlado Plulík, who climbed himself the winter ridge of the High Tatras, in 1997, appreciates this achievement more than his Everest ascent. Why do the mountaineers repeat the unique mountaineering happening especially in the winter?

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Records and Attractions


- Krzysztof Źurek is the transition speed record holder who crossed the whole Tatras in summer 1975. With the help of a valley group, that helped him to built two bivouacs and carried food for him, he managed to climb the ridge on his own in 3 days (70 hours)! His backpack was 3 kg heavy.

- The fastest on the High Tatras ridge still remains Vlado Plulík. In summer 1997 his nonstop solo crossing took him 27 hours!

- The very first transition of the whole ridge in winter and without support was realized by Pavol Pochylý, in 1978. Less known is his transition of the winter Tatras in 1970, when he was the head of the expedition. The transition lasted for 32 days. At the beginning there was 85 cm of snow and an average temperature of -15 °C.

- First transition of the main Tatras ridge was realized in summer 1955. The Polish climbers passed the whole ridge without support in 11 days. They climbed 12 hours each day, passed 6 peaks without support. In the end of the transition they had to starve. For this achievement, they received bronze medals.

- First winter transition of the ridge in 1959. It was realized without support but with food recourses. There exist no details about this achievement of the Poles, because of climbing restrictions due to previous tragedies there.

- The most followed was the collective winter transition of the High Tatras, in 1955, organized by Arno Puškáš.

- In the summer of 1954 three Slovak climbers climbed the High Tatras in completely new Vimbram shoes. During the transition they wore them down to sole. Their sleeping bags were all soaked in with water.

- In winter 1975, nine German climbers set an artificial fire on the Kriváň Peak, as a sign of their High Tatras transition.

- The last five of the mountain goats from Hohenlohe's deer land met the Slovaks during their transition through the Belianske Tatras, in 1952.

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