Our mounteneering experience on the Lomnicky Stit in the High Tatras ends up in the clouds.
Using Levoca as a base, we spend the day scaling the second highest peak in the High Tatras, Slovakia’s most important mountain range. Lomnicky Stit is 2634 m high, and we are coming from 880 m. Usually one would need specialist equipment, as well as special skills and a significant dose of stamina, not to speak of mountaineering experience, but in the case of Lomnicky Stit a cable car ticket suffices. From a distance we had admired the mountain, and also assessed that, although halfway there were some clouds, the top was bathing in bright sun light.
In fact, you go up in three stages, with gondolas to 1100 m, and then to 1750 m, to the lake of Skalnate Pleso – and to a whole range of potential activities, from walks and hikes to enjoying a panoramic restaurant. Unfortunately, this was the level were the clouds had accumulated, so there wasn’t much of a panoramic view from the restaurant, and how much fun is hiking in the mist, or just walking? After half-an-hour struggling over rocky paths, we had lunch, without a view, as our time slot for the final ascend was still a little over an hour away – the last part of the run to the top is tightly managed, with a single cable car going every 15 minutes, or so, and this is a very popular route (much more popular than climbing with all that equipment).
By the time we had reached the top – you guessed it – the clouds had reached there, too. And we didn’t see a thing. Yet, you have 50 minutes, like it or not – the return is equally tightly managed, with no more than eight people in the funicular. And let me tell you, 50 minutes in the clouds, that’s quite long: summits are not places where you can easily go for a long walk. So one is left admiring the engineering achievement: right on the summit, they have built quite a structure – there are even rooms where you can spend the night, apparently one of the highest hotel in Europe. The obligatory restaurant, with panoramic terrace (in better times), and a metal walkway, perhaps 50 meters long. And there is a certain quality in looking into the mist. And finally seeing that cable car appear again, out of nothing, that will take you back down.
Where it was, of course, a bright sunny day. Had been like that, all day long.
Next: the Spis region