BALKAN ROAD TRIP
The most famous Slovenian village is definitely Osp. Every climber knows it since it’s on a climbing map of the best areas already since the beginning of our sport in the ’80s. There are three main sectors in Osp, which are situated just above the village and offer amazing routes for every climbing level. “Za vasjo” like the name suggests (behind village) is a shaded by trees sector with some crimpy technical routes. Grades here go all the way up to 8c, but the best ones are in hard 6th and easy to medium 7 (6c-7c). Above it, 10 minutes hike up is Babna. No shade here so climbing on hot days is possible only early morning or late afternoon. The best time to visit is on colder or cloudy days. The easiest routes here are graded 3 and are perfect for climbing without hands. The hardest ones are power endurance 8bs and everything in between is a top-quality routes where everyone can find something for himself. 3rd sector of Osp is a big cave called “Pajkova streha” (Spiders roof). Here you will find hard staff, mostly bolted by Klemen Bečan, who will be happy guide you around and explain you the easiest way over this 55 meter long monster roofs full of huge stalactites. On the left side of the cave there are beautiful 7a-7c routes, all full of tufas, jugs and cool moves. Perfect for learning knee baring, heel and toe hooks. Above the cave there is still some 100 meters of overhanging wall with multipitches and below in the river some boulders. But who needs boulders in a place like this :).
Just 500m from Osp there is another mega crag called MišjaPeč (Mouse own). Its horseshoe shape allows you to climb all year long. Sun hits first the left side and slowly moves to the right. You can chase the shade or the sun, depending on the temperature and how obsessed you are with friction. Like in Osp, everyone can climb here. The easiest route is graded 4a and the hardest one 9a+. The left side is shorter and more powerful (20m), central long endurance challenges are up to 40 meters high and on the right is another cave with some hard stuff (Adam Ondras 1st 9a is there).
Črni Kal is a small village a few kilometers above Osp. Climbing here started as training for alpinists many many years ago. Now it offers perfect “easy” crag with lots of routes in the 6th grade. 20-25 meter wall is perfect for most humans and belayer is always in the shade from the trees. Also climber most of the time, at least 1st half of the route. The approach is short, only 5 minutes and the base of the wall is perfect for kids to play under when others are climbing. No wonder this is Slovenians top “family crag”.
Just across the border from Slovenia, half an hour drive from Osp is Istria. Istria is a big peninsula with lots of climbing to do. The first stop is Buzet. Here you will find areas like Kompanj, Pandora, Kamena vrata, HC, Kanjon Mirne, Aleluja cave and many more. Limestone routes of all shapes and sizes and each sector offers a different experience. HC (Hard Core) has vertical short powerful hard routes. Pandora offers big overhangs filled with stalactites and blobs for 3D climbing, and if you are lucky, you will have also a waterfall coming out from the middle of the wall. There are some easier lines here, but to fully enjoy the place I recommend mastering at least 7c grade. Good for sightseeing though J. Kompanj is the biggest sector here and it will amaze every climber with the beauty of its routes. Mirna Canyon has 5 different sectors facing all the orientations. North facing Befana has long endurance problems, Pengari same, but on the sun in the afternoon, Đoser next to it offers some funny lines and south facing Zimski sector (winter sector) is obviously good only for cold winter days.
There is not just Buzet in Istria. There are other places like Pazin in the center and seaside cliffs like Rovinj, Limski kanal, Vinkuran, Pazin, Brseč which are definitely worth a visit, but we want to continue traveling down south to real Balkan.
The most famous place in Croatia is definitely Paklenica. Humans climbed in Paklenica even before it got popular because of the movie Winnetou which was filmed in this beautiful canyon. Now the canyon is a big tourist attraction, visited by many tourists, but luckily they stay on the main path, so climbing is possible without much interference. Main attraction here are multi pitch routes which are up to 350m high and difficulty up to 8c. Most of them are friendly bolted and just calling for a full day expedition. Besides long routes, there is many nice, easy and hard normal lines to choose from.
Brand new, few years old place next to the sea is Čikola canyon. Since it’s so fresh, routes are still new and not polished like in some old school sectors around the world. Still, there is many sectors to choose from, orientated in all directions.
Split has many good crags for sport climbing, and there is also the possibility of deep water solo in Čiovo. Walls are best accessed with a sailing boat which is not hard to arrange. Local climbers will take you there and show you all the hidden treasures above the water. Not far from Split is another gorgeous place called Omiš. If you are interested in long and hard multi pitches, Drašnice is just a bit more south and you can try yourself with amazing Roctrip, 250m long 8c+.
Mostar, čevapčiči, coffe, bridge jumping and great climbing. Pecka is one of the places where you can climb in conglomerate wall. Mostly there are easier stuff, but you can also find some hard projects. Like in any other Balkan country, there are many walls still to be discovered, and potential is limitless. There are many more places already developed and there is still much more to do.
Interesting country with rocks everywhere. High mountain of Durmitor is better suited for adventure climbers and driving on beautiful landscape but best sport sectors are around Podgorica. There are two canyouns from rivers Morača and Cievna. Just 5km from the capital Podgorica in Morača canyon there is Smokovac. Dinosaur shaped tufas everywhere, super solid rock and enjoyable climbing with perfect flat base of the wall. Besides “Smoki” there is still 17km of a canyon of walls on both sides of the river. Few are developed, many still waiting to be explored. Same is with Cievna canyon, there are walls everywhere. Few routes here (around 40 top quality lines), and it has the potential to become the next climbing hotspot. There are also some other places which were developed by Austrian climbers and I’m sure soon there will be many more.
The hardest route is located in Brar, and it is just 20 minutes drive from Tirana. It has the grade 9b and the wall is so good that attracted even Adam Ondra to make the 1st ascent of it. Although the easiest route is 6a it is recommended to climb hard in 7th or 8th grade to fully enjoy those tufa monsters. Bovilla is another nice place not far from Tirana near lake Bovilla. There are two sectors named “Lake sector” and “Tufa sector”. I think the name says it all and you can expect grades raging from 5a to 8b. If you need to rest, there is a super cool beach on the south which just in case, you change your mind and get bored of swimming in crystal clear water, you can do some deep water solo or climb in a canyon 5 minutes’ walk from the beach. (Some routes above the water have rusted bolts, so be careful what you clip. If it looks too rusty remember it is better to be alive pussy than dead cat, and go down before it’s too late!). There is more climbing in Albania, including 1000m walls so I’m sure we will hear about this country a lot in the future.
There is a big canyon close to Niš where Staša Gejo, a famous Serbian climber was born. Her father was developing climbing around his home and there are already lots of things to do. On my trip to Niš we developed a completely new sector with 20 routes ranging from 6a-8b+ which they used later for national competition. The quality of the wall was amazing and we were always looking across the river where many more possibilities for climbing was. A few years later, Charlote Dufiff went there, crossed the river and started bolting, and finished some really impressive lines in a huge cave. Besides climbing there you can eat really good pleskavice, drink rakia and enjoy the company of friendly people.
Just for a bit of change and rest from limestone, there is Prilep which offers lots of granite boulders, just outside the town. Bouldering spot found and mostly developed by Slovenian climbers will make sure you will lose all your skin on your fingers and you will feel happy about it. For rope climbing addicts there is Maurovo, up in the mountain gorge with a huge cave and other cool sectors worth a visit. In a big cave, you can climb routes from 5a and all the way to 9a+ (if your fingers let you ;). Other areas worth a visit are also Demir Kapija with almost 500 routes, Kadine (which I recommend not visiting when it’s raining or you will get the wrong impression), Metka Canyon and others. Climbing in Macedonia is developing fast, so expect to find much more routes and sectors to be done there soon.
Most impressive wall is definitely Karlukovo cave. It’s a huge tunnel with two “windows” in a roof which are called gods eyes. There is around 100 30 to meters long routes here from 5a and up. Climbing is technical, vertical, slabby and of course, there are also overhangs. Shade is all day long and it’s also possible to climb in rain. Be careful not to park in the entrance of the cave in heavy rain. You might have to swim with your van out. Vratsa are old Bulgarian climbing area which offers lots of climbing in limestone walls. Here you will find everything from single to multipitch, equipped and also many trad routes. Three hours south of Sofia you can find Rila. Granite bouldering paradise and lots on alpinistical mountain routes. All this in a beautiful mountain environment with wildp animals and more than 200 glacial lakes, perfect for swim after a “hard” day/route/boulder.
Yes, Kalymnos… But that’s far in the middle of the sea and it’s impossible to get there since there are so many other climbing areas on the way and one is better than another. Meteora has huge conglomerate towers with monasteries on the top. Leonidio is becoming a favorite winter spot for climbers with good weather conditions, good local food, and friendly and welcoming people, and of course, more routes that you can climb in your lifetime. Kyparissy is just one hour drive away and is developing fast. A small “tranquilo” village next to the sea is perfect for relaxing and climbing. Watermill is probably one of the top 3 sectors in the world and Babala goes in the top 2. It is definitely worth hiking up 1h to climb 800m almost directly above the Aegean Sea. At the moment there are not many easy routes there, but once you start attacking 8th grade I guarantee you will not want to leave this place. Climbing here is possible until May and then it gets too hot so it’s best to move to another less known area Lagada above Sparti. It is just one more of those canyons with huge potential with top-quality routes that just wait to developed. Here they are climbing also in the summer and close to it is a nice refreshing river for swimming.
Balkan Rock Climbing Trip is organized in cooperation with Rockbusters. Check out their page for more info about this or any other trips they offer!
4. November - 4 December 2021
You can join us for one week or full trip
8 climbers (2 minimum)
Climbing for young and adults with confidence leading from 6a, for everyone who wants to climb a lot and push themselves to a higher level. Get more confidence and improve their climbing, for those who want to have fun and learn something new from the best coaches.
For more info, please contact us.
Included in the price:
- Individualized coaching
- Climbing safety equipment & gear
- Local transportation
- Accommodation (basic shared accommodation)
Not in the price:
- Transportation to the pick-up destination
- Travel & climbing insurance
- Food & drinks (group dinner can be purchased for €15 per meal)
What do you need to bring?
reasonalby tight climbing shoes / harness / helmet / belay device / 2 screw gate carabiners / 60cm sling
We provide most of the gear, but you will need to bring your own climbing shoes and harness. We have belay devices, slings, and helmets, but you might prefer to bring your own you use to. We strongly suggest bringing a down jacket, a hat, a rain jacket, a pair of comfortable approach shoes, a headlamp, a sleeping bag, and a backpack big enough for carrying lunch and gear to the crag.
Day 1: Getting to destination, settle down and start enjoying your climbing holidays.
Day 2: Having an easy start with lots of easy routes for warming up the body and getting used to tufa climbing. While you will be enjoying climbing I will access your strengths and weaknesses so we can decide what we will be working on during the following week. In the evening we will be discussing your goals for this week and your climbing future.
Day 3: Climbing on overhanging routes. Concentrating more on on-sight climbing technique and mental training – discuss how to approach for on sight: visualization, preparation, analysis, learning where to clip and rest, learn commitment, and reading the route.
Day 4: Climbing on overhang routes with tufas and stalactites, learning overhang technique.We will put more focus on technique - ˝tufa climbing” with kneebars, no hand rest, heel or toe hook and focus on redpoint climbing with mental training.
Day 5: Rest is part of training so we might take one as well. Not necessary for having a full rest day, we might still do some running and yoga sessions in the morning and swimming or easy climbing in the afternoon. It also depends on the group and their needs and wishes. One of the rest day activities is ONE HAND climbing and climbing WITHOUT HANDS, toprope of course. These skills are great to learn how to be efficient and improve your climbing technique for harder routes, and also having FUN as well.
Day 6: “A Vista” or On Sight. Get as high as possible on harder routes and send some cool lines. Learning how to read the crux when totally pumped and get the most out of it.
Day 7: Climbing A Muerte - harder routes or fixing problems we had in onsight attempts. Learning to do one more move that we think we can do! Working progress in projects and mental training-visualization, breathing technique and posture and learning relaxing on the wall.
Day 8: If there is still some power and time left we can simply go climbing and put into use what we learned in the last week. Or maybe do another try in your new project, up to you