/ High Tatras hut-to-hut walking

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Kate Smith - on 06 Mar 2018


I am looking at planning a hut-to-hut trek through the high Tatras, starting in Poland and finishing in Slovakia, in late September. Would appreciate tips from those who know:

- is there any problem crossing the border? Guidebook says fine to cross at Rysy but just want to make sure that's still the case.

- how tricky is the scrambling on e.g. Orla Perc? UK comparators appreciated. We'd enjoy tricky moves OR exposure but probably not both at the same time, especially given we'd have biggish multiday packs. Crib Goch-Forcan Ridge level for stretches would be fine, much harder than that might be pushing it. There seem to be plenty of alternative routes if necessary, and it sounds like route-finding shouldn't be difficult with chains and polish to show the way.

- any recommendations for particularly stunning routes or good places to stay would be great. We'll do about 10-12 days walking - I've been poring over the map and I'm thinking something of starting in the west of the Polish part (Wolowiec) then progressing hut-to-hut basically along the border ridge, crossing at Rysy (would probably take 4-5 days the Polish bit) then down to Strbske Pleso for supplies and along to Zdiar staying as high as possible including going up Vychodna Vysoka and via the high looking pass at Priecne sedlo then picking up the Magistrala Tatrzanska route for the rest of the way. Please excuse my Polish/Slovak mis-spellings.

- is it possible to pick up supplies at huts etc or do we need to get down into towns to get the mountain essentials of cheese, sausage and bread? Are meals in huts nice?

Thanks very much!


BobtheBagger on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Kate Smith:

Not a recent report, but when I went to try to do something similar about 15 years ago it was a nightmare. Beautiful area, lovely helpful people, but trying independently without speaking any Polish, to book huts in advance or on the day was nigh on impossible.

One hut we tried to book in advance, we were offered a date 2 months away.

One hut we turned up at on a very cold wet day about 3:30, we couldn't even try to check in until 5pm, by which time there was a queue/scrum of about 150 other cold wet walkers. A helpful guy in the queue near us who spoke a little English helped us check in eventually, we then had to queue again to try to get a blanket or two, there were far, far more people than beds so huge numbers were sleeping on floors, on tables, every corner of the corridor so it was almost impossible to move in there or use the facilities. Food was great if you like tripe soup, we didn't, and queuing to eat with so many people and so little room was another challenge.

Hopefully things have improved, in that it is now possible for an independent to book a hut in advance, and unless you speak Polish, hopefully more people will now be speaking English over there.  If so you'll have a great time, it is a lovely area.

ps. I am a very experienced hut user in many countries around the world, just in case I came across as anti-hut or a bit of a wimp!

mrphilipoldham - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to BobtheBagger:

I booked the Morskie Oko hut by telephone a couple of years ago, their English was far from perfect but my reservation was waiting on my arrival - much to my relief!

BobtheBagger on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

That's good, I thought things must have improved out there after 15 years. I still hate tripe soup though.....

redsonja - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Kate Smith:

Most people will speak at least a bit of English nowadays, and sign language is always helpful! There is no problem crossing the border at all, over Rysy or elsewhere.

Orla Perc is absolutely fantastic. We did the full ridge and I think it took about 9 hrs, though there are places you can descend to make it shorter.  There are chains on much of the route but its not like via ferrata, where you can attach yourself, you just hang on to them. There is some loose rock aswell and some parts are exposed but nothing too scary. It's well worth doing.

The food is good in the few huts I have stayed in and cheap too. 

I haven't been on the Magistrala but believe it's fab. Slavkovsky Stit and Jahnaci Stit are great mountains with quite easy routes, though they are more of a days climb than on a multi day route.

Hope you enjoy the Tatras. I think they are amazing and under rated by a lot of people



Doug on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Kate Smith:

I visited a Slovak hut in the High Tatra a few years at lunch time a couple of years ago & had no problem ordering lunch although my Slovak is close to non-existent

BMG100 - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Kate Smith:

Cant help at all with the long distance route planning..sorry. However have hiking around Zakapane for the last two years - the mountain huts are pretty good and selection of food is good in my opinion. Hearty Polish food and very good value. Most people in the huts speak english and/or there will be plenty of people around who will speak both, so there will be no issues there.  From what I could figure out re hut booking is that you can call in advance before you start or call ahead to the next hut (from the current hut). Its something I would love to do - I'm sure you will have a great time. 

GRUMPY MONKEY - on 06 Mar 2018
In reply to Kate Smith:

Sorry too lazy to go and look at my guidebook but.....I went about 15 years ago. Yes there was a problem with bed spaces in the huts in September, but it was part of the fun. If you can book beds if not, just approach the trip with a fun attitude. They didn't turn anyone away. We must have been able to get food for lunch at the huts as we didn't carry any food. Started in zakopane. No issue at the boarder. Loads of young eastern Europeans and they speak english. Food not gourmet ......asked for veggie food, got spaghetti with Heinz sauce ???? . Due to being limestone probably slippy when wet. Scrambling, huts, scenery better than the Julian alps and the corsica. Go pair pants on, one pair drying on rucksack

Kate Smith - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Kate Smith:

Thanks everyone, that is all very helpful and appetite-whetting... Except for the tripe soup (bleurgh). Jahnaci Stit fits in great as an up-and-back from a hut where we can leave bags and float up unencumbered.

I think a plan is taking shape, just need to add up the times and make sure I've not scheduled any 15 hour days by accident. Maps very helpfully have the route timings marked. Probably best to reserve huts well in advance - fortunately most now have pretty decent websites, the Polish ones mainly seem to be in English too although the Slovak ones not so much... We're quite keen on languages so hopefully we'll get somewhere with communication, and no doubt the level of English spoken will have improved in recent years.

I will try to remember to report back!

Rob Parsons on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Kate Smith:

I can't help with your detailed questions but I was in the area twenty odd years ago and would like to return. So my question to you is: what guidebook(s) / maps / other resources are you using? Thanks.

Post edited at 08:13
redsonja - on 07 Mar 2018
In reply to Kate Smith:

Re the route timings on maps. I think it's a really good idea and just out of interest we find we go at more or less the time indicated, or just slightly faster. so it's a really good guide when you are planning your day.

Kate Smith - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I have the Cicerone book (Walking in the High Tatras) and two maps: Tatry Zachodnie (Western Tatras) and Tatry Wysokie (High Tatras) which I got from Stanfords, £6.99 each. The maps seem very good quality. There is quite a bit of overlap between them - I only have the Western one because I fancied going to Chocholowska and the border ridge near there. I'm not particularly inspired by the guidebook at this point but will see how useful it turns out to be.

Post edited at 07:31
Rob Parsons on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to Kate Smith:

Ok, thanks for the info.

Kate Smith - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to redsonja:

I suspect we'll be slower, due to our fondness for lounging on an outcrop eating cheese. But we're used to factoring that in

proandras - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to GRUMPY MONKEY:

The dreaded and notorious Tatra spaghetti with ketchup... The huts high in mountains (Rysy, Teryho, Zbojnicka) are supplied traditionally by porters. They cook only one kind of meal to dinner, and are unprepared to any particular request.

The High-Tatras is not limestone but coarse-grain granite. One of the best climbing rock, because it is not slippery in rain at all. Although the lichen thriving on the rock does turn a very slippery slime when it gets wet.

redsonja - on 10 Mar 2018
In reply to Kate Smith:

I don't know if you have read anything about it, but if you are crossing the border over Rysy and descending to Slovakia, you will pass the symbolic cemetery. It's a really powerful place to visit and only a few minutes off the main path.

Kate Smith - on 12 Mar 2018
In reply to redsonja:

I have just looked it up - no mention in the guidebook. Like I said, not very inspiring. We will look out for that.

matus - on 12 Mar 2018

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