Ascent of Korab on 2016-09-16
|Date:||Friday, September 16, 2016|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Location:||Albania/North Macedonia|
| Elevation:||9068 ft / 2763 m|
Ascent Trip ReportAfter our not quite successful attempt on Nemercka, next day we leave Tepelena and drive up to Kukes, on good roads, the latter partly on an excellent new motorway through spectacular scenery, which links the capital cities Tirana and Pristina. From Kukes a nice mountain road heads for Peshkopi, tarmac all the way it seems; at least as far as xxxx where we fork L on an unpaved road, a little rough but the locals manage it in standard 2wd cars without apparent difficulty. We park outside a bar xxxx at the mountain village of Radomire, where the road ends. We go inside for a coffee and to get the ok to leave the car. Some locals tell us it's possible to turn L a little further back, opposite the mosque, and drive higher. We investigate but it's very rocky and would involve a much more rugged 4wd than our Grand Vitara, and probably no faster than walking. Friendly folk in the village; many of them seem to be construction workers in London.
We leave the bar trailhead at 1730, with another hiker Martin who's native Albanian but has spent time working in the USA, now back home working. A good mule trail leads up, crossing a creek a couple of times (bridge on L immediately we leave the trailhead) and passing through beautiful alpine meadows with the impressive limestone ramparts of Korab ahead. After an hour we make camp above the stream and have a meal while watching the sun set.
Next morning we pack up camp and hide everything - our new Albanian friend Martin says this is advisable. We're away at 0645, following the mule track upwards, bending R with Korab up to L. Martin soon falls behind and we wonder if our hidden gear will be there when we get back down (it is).
Our trail follows a ridge then passes a grassy bowl on our L; suddenly there are sheep, with dogs barking at us. However our path skirts R of the flock and the shepherds are around, and we don't feel particularly threatened. Following small tracks we reach a higher grassy valley with mules grazing. We climb steeply L mostly on grass, gaining the skyline R of Korab then turn L on the ridge following a good paint marked trail (which has come up from the Macedonian side) which soon reaches the summit, marked by a very battered concrete trig pillar.
We meet a group of 5 who have come up from Macedonia and camped at the summit. They include two accomplished mountaineers, one of whom has summitted Everest with Tim Mosedale from Keswick, UK! They are keen to state that KORAB DOESN'T REQUIRE A PERMIT from the Macedonian side, not for the last 8 years. They are working on a Balkan Peaks project, telling us there is info online.
We head back down, finding the sheep have moved higher up, requiring a diversion right; no dogs evident. Further down we pass R of another flock; dogs barking but no problems. Back at camp our gear is intact. No sign of our friend Martin since early morning. Nice easy hike down, back at the bar about 1300 (3h30 up, 3h down with a camp en route). A cold beer then we drive back to Kukes for food then (having checked with Sixt) via Kosovo into Macedonia (mostly motorway), hoping to climb Solunska Glava the following day to complete our set of 3 Macedonian ultras.
Korab photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202140196383875.1073742013.1757312418&type=1&l=05b63e9375
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|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
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Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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