It’s 4am and Jani and I are off for an alpine start for a close to home summit. Today, our goal is to be back from Storžič by noon. This is our third hike/climb together, but we’re hoping it’s our first with good weather. We pick up his brother, Gorazd, and make our way through the dark and empty streets of Slovenia’s fourth-largest city, Kranj.
I’m unfamilliar with the trailhead and how to exactly get there, but I am semi-familiar with the mountain we’re headed to. I’ve been staring at Storžič every day of our trip as it towers over Kranj. I’ve studied our route via Google Earth and I am mentally prepared for the “never ending story” of the forest hike to the Kališče Hut.
Storžič is the fifth highest mountain in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps at 2132m (6,995ft).
Slovenians are known for their toughness, especially as it is required of their extremely steep mountains. Today, Gorazd is breaking in new Alpina boots on a nearly ~1500m (~5000ft) elevation day.
We make our way onto a bumpy dirt road, and after a few 4am yawns, we are at the trailhead. With a full moon a few days prior, it was only necessary to use our headlamps in the darkest parts of the forest.
As we crest to the Kališče Hut, sunrise is just beginning. I’m glad we’ve made good timing and are out of the forest, as the clouds and mountains make for a beautiful dawn. I’m still surprised by how green the nature is, even in August. My hiking partners remark that I’m not the first to mention Slovenia’s green. This hut and subsequent hike draws many locals that return each and every weekend. Even in the winter, the trailhead close to town allows hikers to escape the inversions that the valleys are accustom to.
After leaving the hut, we can nearly see the entire route to the top of Storžič. From here, we see slivers of people on the summit and I think, perhaps they didn’t sleep?
A Pile of Poop
Nearing the summit was a familiar smell. With a few hikes and climbs in Slovenia under my belt, I’m used to sheep poop on the trail, although this was a different story. I’ve never seen anything like it. The entire summit was …poop. Fresh and smelly. My shoes were covered. Not only did you have to watch your step not to fall down a mountain, but also to avoid the freshest piles. This wasn’t a problem, just not quite expected.
From the summit of Storžič we could see a few other Slovenian peaks we’ve either accomplished or are on our list – Triglav to the East, Begunjščica to the North East, and Grintovec to the West. Grintovec, seemingly always covered in a single cloud, would have to wait for another time.
Back to Kališče
After a quick break, a summit short one, we began to head back for lunch at the hut. We enjoyed sandwiches and the Slovenian mountain hut specialty, Ričet. Our descent was uneventful – just another draw droppingly gorgeous day in the Slovenian mountains.