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jspitzer

[TR] Croatia (adventure sport climbing) - Paklenica National Park 9/31/2014

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Trip: Croatia (adventure sport climbing) - Paklenica National Park

 

Date: 9/31/2014

 

Trip Report:

I typically don't post much about our trips, but our recent trip to Croatia was amazing and I highly recommend it! Probably one of the best places i've sport climbed around the world with routes from single pitch to grade IV and V big wall sport climbs ranging from 5.6-5.13

 

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My wife wrote a trip report with more info and pictures on her blog. Rachel's Blog

 

We found it hard to find much information about logistics and climbing there so wanted to share it with rest of the community.

 

We began our trip by checking out the island of Hvar. The island is located off the southern coast of Croatia and it is a beautiful two-hour ferry ride from the port of Split. The next day we walked along the ocean side trail for about 20 minutes to the crag called Cliffbase. It is a private crag and there is a small fee to climb there. We enjoyed 35 - 40 m bolted climbs right out of the water. Every route we climbed was great and the views of the rocky Mediterranean coastline were beautiful. Swimming around the rocky limestone boulders was also a highlight. We spent two days climbing there and then packed up and headed a bit north to Paklenica National Park.

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As one of eight national parks in Croatia, Paklenica is home a variety of large and small limestone formations with over 400 routes from grade 3 to 8b+ from single pitch to multi-pitch. The park is uniquely beautiful consisting of two broad limestone valleys (climbing is only allowed in one of them) and filled in with pine and beech forests. As you climb higher above the valley floor, views of the Adriatic Sea begin to peak out in the distance. The park is well maintained and there is one wide walking path that leads to the majority of the climbing. We rented a small apartment in the little town of Starigrad at the base of the park for 30 Euro/night. We spent our first few days dodging rain showers and sampling some of the cragging in the Klanci area and some of the shorter routes on the nearby formations. On my birthday we climbed the 4 pitch 6a+ Karamara Sweet Temptations on Veliki Cuk and then cragged at Crljenica high above the clear, blue Mediterranean Sea.

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When the weather got nicer, we sampled some of the routes on the bigger formations. First up was the 4 pitch, 120 m Domzalski on the Stup of Anica kuk. At 6a, it was some of the best limestone slab and edging climbing we had done. After lunch, we checked the unique Bears on Toast (6c+) climb which ascended the very distinct water runnel formations up the limestone face, typical of the karstic limestone commonly found in Paklenica. While the bolts were big and new, we were finding that the bolting was a bit sporty forcing you to climb at the grade. It definitely kept things exciting!

 

The next day, we climbed on the famous Anica Kuk formation. This 350 meter limestone wall is the jewel of the area. There are hundreds of routes on the formation raging from 6a to 8a. We started up the classic Klin route. The climbing was fun despite being a little wet. After I lead up the crux pitch, we somehow managed to get ourselves off route and begin climbing up a very steep route up the center of the wall. After getting worked on what was supposed to be a 5c traverse, we started to think that maybe we had traversed onto the 7b Zenith. We continued up wildly exposed terrain to the top and had a good laugh about our poor route finding skills on the summit.

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After a rest day checking out the historical city of Zadar, we spent our final day climbing up numerous formations in the park. We first checked out the 200 m Senza Pieta (6b+) on Debeli kuk. It was a fantastic route up the sunny face with some really fun slabs, edges and over-hanging terrain. After finishing up that route, we decided to run up the mellow Sjeverno Rebro on Veliki Cuk's West ridge (4b+, 170m). Still not quite tired out, we cragged a few more pitches at Klanci for a total of 450 m of climbing and 14 pitches.

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We would highly recommend a trip to Croatia. Logistics were easy, most people spoke English and it was not overly expensive. The food was good, the scenery was beautiful and the people were accommodating. Life was simple and easy. Sleep, eat and climb. That's what I call a good vacation!

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Nice. Thanks for the report. Sounds like an awesome trip to an interesting place. Also enjoyed the blog post about climbing in Italy.

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Sweet. I figured Croatia had limestone climbing and have wanted to check it out for a long time. Also figured it might be less well known and busy than other places in the area.

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