Triglav is the highest mountain in what used to be Yugoslavia. Now it
crowns the new country of Slovenia, the most stable, western-oriented, and
peaceful of the former Yugoslav republics. Lying only 15 miles from either
the Austrian or Italian borders in the Julian Alps, this fine peak is nowhere far away from the sites of the Balkan bloodshed of the 1990s.
Triglav is one great big huge hunk of dolomite. No trees, plants, soil, or even boulders are to be found on the peak's slopes--just expanses of
glistening white limestone. The technical rock climbing on the peak is
superb, and the "trails" are all very steep.
Triglav is also the only major mountain in the world depicted on a national flag. A stylized view of the mountain's three summits in a shield is in the center of the flag of Slovenia.
The standard route on Triglav starts at a hut called Alyazhev Dom, reached at the end of a road from Mojstrana. A heavily-used trail runs up the sheer sides of the dolomite, frequently using ladders, cables, and metal spikes drilled into the rock--although these aids make the ascent not difficult for confident hikers, those afraid of heights and exposure should stay back down at the giant carabiner sculpture near the hut.
After the initial ascent the path winds about on a stark, rolling limestone landscape devoid of plants, talus, or soil. After passing the Triglavski Dom high mountain hut, the path climbs up with the help of more ladders and cables over a false summit and on to the very top. When I was there the summit was a zoo--enterprising vendors had hauled up ice-chests full of cold soda and beer, there was a line for the outhouse, and you could even get a special stamp on a document of your choice attesting to your accomplishement.
There are many other more difficult routes on the mountain, including many that attack the sheer face that overlooks the Alyazhev Dom. For a taste of adventure, one might try ascending the Plemence ridge from the col to the west of the summit--it's very steep and difficult, and the cables on the route are frayed and look like they haven't seen maintenance since the time of Tito, but strong climbers should find the exposure exhilalarating. Other hikers may enjoy strolling around the extensive and bizarre dolomite moonscape in the vicinity of the summit instead.