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Ascent of Sněžka on 1993-07-27

Climber: Greg Slayden

Date:Tuesday, July 27, 1993
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Sněžka
    Location:Czech Republic/Poland
    Elevation:1602 m / 5256 ft

Ascent Trip Report

I left Prague at 10 AM and started driving northwest towards the mountains, since I wanted to restart my peak-bagging after a hiatus by ascending Snezhka, the world's newest country high-point--highest in the Czech Republic for almost eight months now. I drove straight from Prague to Pec Pod Snezkou, a resort village at the base of the Krkonose Range of the Carpathians--my only stop was when a German guy motioned for me to pull over so he could point out a loose cable underneath my car which wasn't really anything. Also, since I had bought a cassette tape in Prague, I could listen to Guns'n'Roses without having to worry about bad reception.

At crowded Pec I was motioned to go and park in distant lot number 4, at the far end of a road, and, even though it was now 2 PM, I decided to go and try to climb Snezhka, since it looked like an easy hike. It was, but first I couldn't find the right trail, finally bought a good topographic map from a roadside kiosk, and had to hike down the road I was on and then uphill to the north. Soon I found the wide, easy, crowded hiking trail leading to the peak. However, the weather was terrible, especially up above timberline, where it was totally fogged in, raining hard, and awfully windy.

The main crest of the range marked the Czech-Polish border, so when I reached the hut in the col just west of Snezhka I entered Poland for the first time. The last section of path was paved with stones and gained the summit from the Polish side in really, really bad white-out conditions. The summit area of Snezhka--1602 meters (5255 feet)--was a typical rocky mountaintop with several buildings (none open), cairns, border markers, and a fair amount of hikers despite the weather. I took some dumb pictures and talked to a few people in my badly broken Russian and getting assurances that this indeed now as the highest point in the Czech Republic now that Slovakia had seceded--one was a young, bored Polish soldier guarding the border.

I retreated from the summit quickly, glad there was a wide, paved trail down as the wind and rain ripped across the mountain. After a rest at the hut, I hiked the 2000-odd vertical feet down to Pec easily in the rain, got to my car by 6:30 PM, and drove south. My plan for lodging tonight was to pull over at one of the numerous houses along the roads advertising "Zimmer Frei", "room available" in German.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:878 m / 2878 ft
    Extra Gain:35 m / 115 ft
    Distance:16.7 km / 10.4 mi
    Route:Obri dul
    Trailhead:Pec pod Snezhkou  794 m / 2608 ft
    Grade/Class:1
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Raining, Cool, Windy, White-out
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:2 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 45 Minutes



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