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Ascent of Gora Goverla on 2005-09-06

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Svitlana
Mykailo
Volodymyr and guide Mykailo
Date:Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Gora Goverla
    Location:Ukraine
    Elevation:2061 m / 6762 ft

Ascent Trip Report

UKRAINE'S HIGHEST POINT
In order to better appreciate this day, I want to provide the reader w a little background of events.
My wife Rose and I came to this area to visit long distant relatives, never before met. We stayed in Semakivtsy at the home of Mykhailo and his wife Svitlana, Rose's 1st cousin twice removed (younger than our 3 children). They were our hosts for the whole 4 night stay - room and board, drove us to the different relatives, visited cemetaries and gave us a tour of the area. Truly warm people. Mykhailo and Svitlana live in his fathers old farm house (who is living in Poland) together w his son and grandmother, Mariya.
Semakivtsy is a small farm community outside of the town Horodenka, in the region of Ivano-Frankivska. Which is at the west end of Ukraine and home to the CARPATHIAN MOUNTAIN RANGE AND GORA GOVERLA, UKRAINE'S HIGHEST POINT (about 150 km from Semakivtsy). I had told them prior to coming here that I was going to climb Gora Goverla. Without asking, Mykhailo had made all of the necessary arrangements for our trip to the mountain - taxi, picnic lunch and guide. Those going besides Rose and I, Mykhailo and Svitlana, his good friend Volodymyr and wife Helena, interpreter Nadiya, an english teacher from Horodenka, plus a guide once we get to the mountain.

4h00 hrs - WE LEAVE FOR GORA GOVERLA (south west direction thru the main town of Yaremcha). The taxi left the house after breakfast, picking up Volodymyr and Helena a few streets away, and Nadiya in Horodenka. As we neared the mountain we missed a turn, and ended up in a huge new ski resort w a lot of construction in progress. We walked around a bit before doubling back to the road to Gora Goverla. In the village 0f Vorokhta we picked up the guide, also named Mykhailo, a 67 yr old who has been on Gora Goverla over 400 times and is part of the local rescue team. After about 15km we went thru the parks main entrance gate, to the TH at the top end of the valley - a ski resort area among tall pine trees. Svitlana put out a huge picnic lunch.

10h45 hrs - WE LEAVE THE TRAIL HEAD for the summit - guide, Mykailo and Svitlana, Volodymyr and myself, the rest stayed back. After about 1/2 hour we were above tree line, with beautifull open views all the way to the top, overcast day with some sun. The trail easy to moderate on a main ridge, a few steep sections, not difficult. A guide is not really required.
WE REACHED THE SUMMIT after 2 hours of climbing. About 12 others on the huge round open summit, came up from different directions, 360 degree panorama. A huge cross w a few small monuments plus religious offerings. After the usual photo-op we descended the same way.

14h30 hrs - Back to the TH for SVITLANA'S HUGE UKRAINIAN PICNIC c/w open fire, roasted sausages, drinks and music. I have never experienced a party of this kind after a hike, and I told them so. It was really nice.
On the drive back we dropped off the guide, before visiting a fish farm and a popular water fall. It was getting dark and we could still see people working in the fields, when we dropped off Nadiya at her house in
Horodenka. It was pitch black as we pulled into Semakivtsy, they don't have street lights. We picked up Volodymyr's mom, walking home on the black streets, after a day in the fields.

21hoo hrs - BACK HOME AFTER A 17 HR DAY, full of new knowledge and experiences. Svitlana thanked me for taking her along and said "If it wasn't for you I probably would have never gone to the top". All of Rose's relatives are hard working, humble, country people. They were great hosts, especially Mykailo and Svitlana. We can't say enough about these 2 beautifull, special, young people. We hope that one day they'll come to our country.

Two days later we would leave Semakivtsy, by train, for Poland and MY NEXT CLIMB, MT RYSY, POLAND'S HIGHEST POINT.

"THE REWARD OF A THING WELL DONE IS TO HAVE DONE IT"
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:477 m / 1562 ft
    Distance:5.6 km / 3.5 mi
    Route:TH top of valley, above vorokhta/past park gate
    Trailhead:vorokhta  1584 m / 5200 ft
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail



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