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Ascent of Vârful Pietrosu on 2014-09-27

Climber: Rob Woodall

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, September 27, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Vârful Pietrosu
    Location:Romania
    Elevation:7556 ft / 2303 m

Ascent Trip Report

After my morning ascent of Bihor, a 6 hour drive gets me to the Pietrosul trailhead well before dark. Nice journey: long scenic river valley, yellowing autumn trees; contrasting lowland scenery; quite alpine scenery far north with high meadows.

Another observation on Romanian roads: The road north to Dej has a main lane in each direction plus a hard shoulder each side. This hard shoulder serves for parking, walking, cycling, horses and carts - and also for motorists to get out the way of overtaking vehicles on their side or oncoming! Clearly plenty of scope for conflict, and a lot of things to consider before overtaking. Horses and carts seem much more prevalent here in the north, as do women's head scarves.

At Petter's turnoff N47.65385 E24.66853 there's a sign indicating Varful Pietrosul. I use his trailhead N47.62752 E24.65982, 938m.

It rains overnight but the new day is cloudless. I start at 0650, the peak visible from the trailhead, with a dusting of snow and soon tinged pink by the rising sun.

The 4x4 road has a barrrier across it at N47.61813 E24.64910, 1200m. Where it ends, a trail continues, passing R of the Met cabin (the met officer is already up and about his Stevenson's screen). It's in danger of getting swamped by scrub pine but is well marked with blue and white paint. It passes L of the small corrie lake (in which the summit is beautifully reflected) then swings L, back R then zigzags up to meet the ridge, then turning L. The final ascent via a flight of steps! There are also the remains of an old iron handrail.

The summit is a slabby outcrop (N47.59715 E24.63409, 2300m) beside a Romanian flag and a rather dilapidated summit refuge. All looks very picturesque in the hoar frost,and the views are pretty good. I don't see a trig pillar although there are two metal stanchions sticking out of a rock slab which might have been the reinforcement for one.

It's chilly on top so after photos and GPS reading I trot back down. There's a refuge near the Met: locked at present although the loft is evidently accessible for sleeping. I meet several parties on their way up to the Met cabin. I'm back at the trailhead soon after 11: 2h25 up, 15 mins at summit, 1h30 down.

During the last two days my SatNav (Claire as Duane Gilliland dubbed it during our recent Chile trip) has been barely functional. I coax her into life, write down the key cities and use road signs for the long journey back south to Bucaresti. The first leg is southeast to Vatra Dornei. The scenery is very attractive, a wooded river valley, but the state of the road is appalling. For one stretch of several miles, all the potholes have been cut out square ready for repairs, and just left like that - worse than the original potholes. But the rough road, the horses and carts, and the swaying snails pace timber truck I somehow get past; these have now been normalised, 6 days into the trip.

From Vatra Dornei I'm on primary roads. These are excellently surfaced. I speculate that these have recently been provided with EU assistance. If so I hope they are not allowed to fall into the same level of disrepair as the remainder of the network. Next day I'm to catch an early afternoon flight back to the UK.

The roads not withstanding, I've enjoyed my Romanian adventure: good peaks: good memories.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4469 ft / 1362 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11.2 mi / 18 km
    Trailhead:3087 ft / 940 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 1
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 25 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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