Don't forget an extra pair of dry socks

Yes, you’ve read it in the title of this activation report, that’s my tip of the day for a successful SOTA activation :slight_smile:

Maybe you know this awkward feeling, if you must, early in the morning, put on your one and only pair of wet and cold socks and even worse, if you additionally have to slip into almost as drenched and freezing cold boots :frowning:

In such a case, at least for me, the whole day is already ruined before it really has started. And this almost happened to me, during my last weekends SOTA activation.

My plan was to visit the Julian Alps, more precisely the Triglav National Park, a very beautiful mountain range in Slovenia. Its highest summit, Triglav with a height of more than 2800m ASL, is a frequently visited destination. The reason for this is an old habit, that every Slovenian should, at least once in his lifetime, place his foot on top of the Triglav summit.

Therefore I thought, it would be a good idea to realise my SOTA tour not during the main mountaineering season, but in the off-season, in order to avoid the overcrowded trails.

The main disadvantage of my idea was, that all mountain huts have been already officially closed since beginning of October. Only the “Triglavski dom na Kredarici” hut, which is also the highest weather station of Slovenia, is serviced by two meteorologists during the off-season.

In order to get to the Triglavski dom na Kredarici, I started my tour in the beautiful Vrata Valley, near the Aljazev dom v Vratih, at a height of abt. 1000m ASL. My arrival to the car park took me more than one hour longer than initially planned, therefore I was in a rush and I just took my rucksack out of my car, without controlling that all necessary equipment is packed inside :frowning:

While hiking along the beautiful Vrata Valley I had all the time the 1500m high north face of the Triglav in front of me:

From a higher viewpoint of my trail, I had a nice view down to this valley:

I chose the route Cez Prag, one of the easier hiking tours from the Vrata Valley up to the Triglav, but nevertheless a bit challenging. The tour was nicely marked by bright red sign-posts:

And I also passed this interesting monument:

Soon the trail got steeper and it was a interesting alternation between hiking sections:

and some more steeper scrambling sections

Nevertheless this part of the tour was fortunately dry and therefore a pleasure to climb up.

Along the complete trail stunning views to the other mountains of the Triglav National Park appeared:

At a height of abt. 2000m ASL the conditions changed and ice and snow covered the trail and made the final short climb up to the hut quite challenging:

After a little bit less than 4 hours hiking, due to the bad trail conditions at the end, I finally arrived at 03:00 PM at the Triglavski dom hut. I was really glad to arrive at the hut so early in the afternoon, because daylight is already very short and sunset was already before 05:00PM.
A glance to the top of the Triglav showed that still climbers were descending from the summit.

The hut was already completely in the shadow and temperature outside wasn’t very comfortable. Therefore I entered the hut and asked whether I could stay over night. And, what a luxury, I even got a complete room for my own. This looked very promising for a good night’s sleep.

But than the drama began, during the last part of the trail, with its snowy conditions my boots and my socks got wet and cold, but I was sure I had packed an extra pair of dry socks into my rucksack, and I just have to change my socks…
Guess what, the extra pair of socks remained still in the car, when I hastily left the car park :frowning:
As the guest room wasn’t very warm, that brought me a couple of hours with cold feet and I was not very confident that my socks and boots would dry until the next morning.

Additionally some climbers that just descended from the summit, partly equipped with safety gears, crampons and ice axes, reported that the conditions up to the summit were rather challenging because ice and snow partially covered the via-ferrata.

Consequently my mood wasn’t the best when I went to bed :frowning:

Everything changed, when I woke up the next morning.

A fantastic sunrise arose at the horizon:

and the Triglavski dom appeared in an rather unrealistic light:

Even the summit of Triglav, that looked so cold and inaccessible the day before, appeared now in the warm light of the rising sun:

The peak at the front is the Mali Triglav, a summit that is abt. 130m lower then the top of the Triglav, which can be seen in the background. The climbing route is located nearly all the time along the edge up to the Mali Triglav. The lower part is in the shadow region, while the upper part is already in the sun.

Since even my socks and boots dried during the night, nothing could prevent me from trying to climb up the Triglav.

As expected the climb up to the Mali Triglav was icy and snowy, which made the climbing conditions rather tricky. But soon I stood on top of the Mali Triglav having a nice view to the ridge up to the main summit:

Having passed this ridge, a fantastic view back to the Mali Triglav and down to the Triglavski dom appeared:

Still a scrambling section had to be passed …

before the last steps in the snow …

revealed the famous Aljazev stolp (or Triglav Tower) on top of the Triglav:

Of course the trip would not be complete with a very rewarding view to the adjacent mountain range:

The following SOTA activation of S5/JA-001, a rather rare one on the 20m HF band, brought a total number of 40 contacts in CW and 32 contacts in SSB.
And it was a pleasure for me, that even a couple of S5 chasers were able to call me on the 20m band here on the Triglav.

Thank you very much for calling me and also for spotting me on SOTAwatch!

73 Stephan, DM1LE


Fantastic report and photos Stephan - thanks!

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Thanks Stephan for a wonderful report, as usual!!
Glad that you got your socks dry. We want you to walk a lot more summits !

VY 73

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Fantastic report Stephan.
I’ve visited Slovenia twice some years ago and liked it very much.
These pictures just confirm the beauty of this territory, the beauty of rocky mountains.
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF

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Excellent report and stunning photos.
I always take a dry tee-shirt as well to change in to when I reach the summit - I sweat even thinking about the hike.

Thanks, keep up the good work.

73 Neil

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Stephan thank you for nice report of Triglav S5/JA-001, 2864m a.s.l., SOTA activation. I am very happy that I was one of the few S5 amateurs who worked you. Thanks again for the QSO and see you on the air!

73, Milos S57D

Excellent report and pictures, Stephan. Very glad to contact you on 20 m. Your signal was real S9 here in Ljubljana on 65 km distance from Triglav. I felt free to put a link to your report on summit page resources for S5/JA-001. Hope to meet you many more times from other summits and s2s!
73, Mirko S52CU

Good idea, thank you! When I wrote this activation report, I didn’t had in my mind to give a detailed and objective description of the ascent to the Triglav. I just wanted to share my rather subjective impressions during my trip through this very beautiful landscape. Hopefully, somebody will benefit from the given information or photos, when he plans to activate this fascinating summit.

When I’m on a SOTA activation in a foreign country I’m always glad to get into contact with the national chasers. It isn’t always easy, because I’m working exclusively on the HF bands and there mostly on 20m and sometimes on 30m. So it was really a pleasure that I got into contact with you and all the other S5 chasers. Thank you all.
Looking at the high number of activations of the Triglav, I’m really impressed, that so many Slovenian activators accepted the challenge to climb up this mountain.

73 Stephan, DM1LE