Ascent of Solunska Glava on 2016-09-17

Climber: Rob Woodall

Date:Saturday, September 17, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Solunska Glava
    Location:North Macedonia
    Elevation:8333 ft / 2539 m

Ascent Trip Report

Good trail, timings are 1h30 Ceples hut, 1h50 summit moving pretty quickly, 1h10 Ceples hut, 1h30 trailhead; 6h total but signposted times imply maybe 9h.

After our Korab ascent we take the quick(ish) route via Kosovo into Macedonia and find a motel (the Lovija) in Petrovec a few mins from the airport. Next morning we drive via Veles and Bogomila. The Ceples hut can be reached either via Nezhilovo (fork R at xxxx; apparently has a fish restaurant) as described in Petter Bjorstad's 2013 report or Papradiste which has a car park xxxx where we and a few local hikers park (Nezhilovo was the plan).

Route from Papradiste starts up a concrete road then soon a wooden Ceples sign points R up rutted track. After half km the hiking trail forks R, we keep L on mule track which is a little further but easier walking and probably similar duration; we take an obvious R turn at xxxx and are soon at the hut. Quite large with a few folk sitting outside who have driven up from Nezhilovo in a minibus, road not too bad at present it seems.

From Ceples hut a trail heads straight up between buildings, turns L then a R fork but always the obvious uphill trail. Into beechwood, well marked with red and white paint all the way up (ignore a green and white trail L). Trail crosses a small meadow, sharp L signed turn with very welcome water fountain. Steeply up, then zigzags up onto high pasture, then a level section which I run part of as time short and wind cold. Large flock of sheep just below path near summit, I keep as far away as I can, no dogs in evidence. They're gone when I descend.

Summit seems deserted, guard dog inside takes only a passing interest as I follow outside of fence to its highest point, a few metres lower than highest point which is out of bounds inside military fence. V tempting to sneak inside but razor wire although low, looks tricky and summit building could be manned.

Jog down to rejoin Richard and Karen. We use the more direct hikers path below Ceples hut. Quite a few youngsters descending, good to see the Macedonians enjoying their mountains, not something we saw in Albania. Trails to Nezhilovo L and Papradiste R diverge at xxxx - be sure to check signpost as we nearly went wrong; noticed and took R turn. Trail a little obscure in places, also a few stinging nettles!

Back to Petrovec, its one motel is more expensive than we're used to here but v convenient for Richard and Karen's early flight from SKP.

I have a leisurely morning finessing the car rental (decide to keep the 4x4, getting the missing headlight fixed by the friendly Sixt agent; sort out multiple cross bordering arrangements, quite easy, seemingly nowhere we can't go!), getting in a few food supplies before meeting Pete Ellis off the lunchtime flight. A poor weather forecast suggests Bulgaria for a couple of days so we drive to Botev during the afternoon.
Summary Total Data
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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