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A guide to reaching the summit of every country in Europe - driving, walking and climbing routes to the tops of 50 countries in Europe. Detailed route descriptions, sketch maps - advice on transport, seasons, grading and gear. From afternoon strolls in Malta to three-day mountaineering ascents on classic Alpine routes such as Mont Blanc.
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Heading to the highest point of any European country is an experience not to be missed. Europe offers the hiker a wealth of adventure and a huge variety of dazzling scenery and each of our 50 countries celebrates its national high point in a different way. Now this unique guide brings together clear and detailed route descriptions of how to reach the summits of countries from Liechtenstein to Latvia, across the continent.
Whether you are attempting to climb a selection of individual high points or collect the set, you will find these routes lead you to some of the most striking landscapes and exciting terrain that Europe has to offer, with all the information you need about each country to get there – along with interesting but incidental information that you don’t!
Stretching from the frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle to the arid plains of the Sierra Nevada, this book contains something for everyone – from afternoon strolls in Malta and Moldova to three-day mountaineering ascents on classic Alpine routes such as Mont Blanc and Dufourspitze.
Don’t cross the Channel without it!
Montenegro - Zla Kolata -
Concerted efforts by development agencies and conservationists have ensured the Prokletije is a fairly fluid mountain area; facilities and access have improved in recent years. Our route in EHP is different from that recently waymarked and described in a guidebook “PROKLETIJE MOUNTAINS OF PLAV AND GUSINJE 40 MOUNTAIN TRAILS” by Rifat Mulic and locally available. This new route is marked on new 50,000 Prokletije maps as route 520.
Maps - various 50,000, 60,000 are now available, many subsidised by the German/EU development agency.
The new way-marked route starts beside the mosque in Vusanje with a new signpost to Zla Kolata. It may well be that the army barracks in Vusanje is being used for another purpose, reflecting a decrease in military tension in the area - although this is not confirmed by the authors. The new route heads up to the col between Dobra and Zla Kolata.
[Authors' addendum: For Montenegro we strongly recommend that a visit to the summit of Dobra Kolata (2528m) as well as Zla Kolata (2534m) be taken in (peaks such as these with only a few metres separating their heights occasionally fall prey to renewed surveying; although we are confident that Maja Rosit, 2525m is certainly lower than Zla Kolata). Some new sources suggest Zla Kolata is 2528m, Dobra 2527m and Rosit 2522m - though the extent to which these heights reflect a reliable modern survey is debatable and as such they are not confirmed. Dobra Kolata, a wonderful summit in its own right, can be accessed easily from the Col between the itself and Zla Kolata should the new route be taken. Of note, the description below places the Preslopit Pass in a different place to the maps and sources we used in 2005 - which included the local shepherds on the mountain, so bear this in mind. In EHP, the Preslopit pass is a pass NNE of Dobra Kolata that connects the valley of Vusanje in Montenegro with that of Cerem in Albania, and marked on one map at least as the Borit Pass (we marked this as the Lower Preslopit Pass on our basic map). However, we have seen one new map at least which places Preslopit W-NW of Zla Kolata. The power over naming will always reside with map-makers, so bear this in mind regarding 'Preslopit Pass'. Confusingly, it may well prove that multiple passes bear the Presolpit name, with minor appellation differences such as upper/lower/great and so on. Additionally, local shepherds know Kolata as - phonetically spelt - 'Kolach'.]
Serbia - Midzor
Available Maps - Serbian Geokarta 50,000 map Stara Planina, Bulgarian Domino 50,000 Stara Planina 3
The access road for the Ski development near Babin Zub appears to have been improved: at the end follow the sign to Babin Zub hotel up a side road and ignore a sign to Falkenstein hotel on the new main road.The area is apparently no longer a controlled area, it is now a Nature Park, with signposted routes.
Since publication in 2009, the situation has vastly improved for those climbing Korab from Macedonia. The restrictions on climbing the mountain have been lifted as political tensions have eased in the area. It is now possible to climb the mountain at any time of year, although the mass ascent at the beginning of September is still popular.
The military and police presence in the area is now more low key and the guard dogs and razor wire at the Pobeda watchtower in Strezimir are thankfully long gone. It is still advisable to stop at the police checkpoint on the bumpy road up the Radika valley and report your presence and your plans if hiking without a guide.
Since publication a small tourist office has opened in Mavrovi Hanovi. Guides for the ascent can be arranged from here (firstname.lastname@example.org). There is still no decent map of the area. The old Soviet maps available to download on the internet are just as vague as the 1:70,000 map available at the tourist office. The route described in the guide is the 'normal' route shown in blue on this map: www.makpetrol.com.mk/planinari/Maps/GolemKorab.jpg
Route notes: The border town of ‘Durbar’ is more commonly ‘Debar’. After climbing the grassy slopes of Nistrovski Korab, the path traverses westwards across the south flanks of the Kepi Bard ridge, overlooking the large grassy area of Kobilino Pole (Mare's Field). There is some confusion about Mal Korab. The 2344m height attributed to this on the map should not be referred to as Mal Korab. Mal Korab (2683m) is a sizeable upthrust of limestone cliff at the head of the valley and is not visited on the walk, although it is in view ahead of you as you traverse under Kepi Bard. (Confusingly, Mal Korab also used to be known as Kepi Bard. This is not the same as the Kepi Bard under which the main path traverses!)
In spite of these access improvements, the Mavrovo area is still a truly adventurous destination. In addition to our comments about bears, we have also heard reports of wolves in the region.
There is no change in our advice to not attempt to summit from the Albanian side of the mountain.
It has also been suggested that while in the area, a great site is the Jovan Bigorski or John the Baptist monastery near Rotushe (www.bigorski.org.mk).
The Belarus high point seems to have seen an increase in visitor numbers (possibly in part due to Europe's High Points). It is now clearly signposted from the road and the area around the carved stone is now a landscaped garden. It is possible to reach the high point quite easily by bus from Minsk. This leaves 2-4 times a day to Volma/Волма, times available from http://ticketbus.by/ allowing 40 minutes to visit the high point before returning back by the same bus. Departure is from Southwestern (юго-западный) bus station or Krasnaya Gorka metro. After leaving Minsk, the bus takes the P65 towards Dzerzhinsk, then turns off right to Skirmantovo/Скирмантово. Get off at stop Скирмантово-1, which is located 3.5 km after a turn. You should request a stop when you see three poles next to a house on your right hand side. Alternatively get off at the next stop in Скирмантово village and walk back along the road until you see the sign for the high point.
The large red tower at Gaizinkalns was demolished in 2012. It was built to rival the white tower at Suur Munamagi in Estonia but was never completed. It was knocked down due to safety concerns (it was definitely in an unsafe dilapidated state when one of the authors climbed it in 2005!). The commemorative stone at the summit still remains.
Due to safety concerns, instability and previous terrorist attacks perpetrated in the Elbrus area it is essential to check with the FCO www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice before making plans to travel to the region. The mountain was the scene of the high profile shooting of three tourists and bombing of a ski lift in 2011 which led to Russian forces carrying out air strikes in the area in the hunt for Islamic militants.
The cable car is now known as the Yastrebetz gondola.
A Eurovision for mountains
Why this Guide?
Using this Guide
The Geography of Europe
Plants and Wildlife
When To Go
How to Get There
Health and Safety Issues
What is Europe?
1 Andorra – Pic de Coma Pedrosa 2942m
2 Austria – Grossglockner 3798m
3 Belarus – Dzyarzhynskaya 345m
4 Belgium – Signal de Botrange 694m
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina – Maglic 2387m
6 Bulgaria – Musala 2925m
7 Croatia – Dinara 1831m
8 Cyprus – Mount Olympus (Chionistra) 1951m
9 Czech Republic – Snezka 1602m
10 Denmark – Møllehøj 170m
11 England – Scafell Pike 978m
12 Estonia – Suur Munamagi 318m
13 Finland – Halti 1325–28m
14 France and Italy – Mont Blanc/Monte Bianco 4808m
15 Germany – Zugspitze 2962m
16 Greece – Mount Olympus 2917m
17 Hungary – Kékes 1014m
18 Iceland – Hvannadalshnukur 2111m
19 Ireland – Carrauntoohil 1041m
20 Kosovo – Djeravica 2656m
21 Latvia – Gaizinkalns 312m
22 Liechtenstein – Grauspitz 2599m
23 Lithuania – Aukstojas/Juozapine Kalnas 294m
24 Luxembourg – Buurgplatz/Kneiff 559m
25 Macedonia and Albania – Mount Korab 2764m
26 Malta – Ta’ Dmejrek/Dingli Cliffs 253m
27 Moldova – Mount Balanesti 430m
28 Monaco – Chemin des Revoires 162m
29 Montenegro – Maja Kolata 2534m
30 The Netherlands – Vaalserberg 321m
31 Northern Ireland – Slieve Donard 852m
32 Norway – Galdhopiggen 2469m
33 Poland – Rysy 2500m/2503m
34 Portugal – La Torre 1993m
35 Romania – Moldoveanu 2544m
36 Russia – Mount Elbrus 5642m
37 San Marino – Monte Titano 739m
38 Scotland – Ben Nevis 1343m
39 Serbia – Midzor 2169m
40 Slovakia – Gerlachovsky stit 2654m
41 Slovenia – Triglav 2864m
42 Spain – Mulhacén 3478m
43 Sweden – Kebnekaise 2111m
44 Switzerland – Dufourspitze 4634m
45 Turkey – Mahya Dagi 1030m
46 Ukraine – Goverla 2061m
47 Vatican City – St Peter’s Dome 132m
48 Wales – Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa 1085m
Some Disputed High Points
Azores – Mount Pico 2351m
Canary Islands – Mount Teide 3718m
Faeroe Islands – Slaettaratindur 882m
Italy – Gran Paradiso 4061m; Mont Blanc de Courmayeur 4748m; Nordend (Monte Rosa) 4609m
Turkey – Mount Ararat 5137m
Appendix 1 Countries of Europe Fact Table
Appendix 2 Mountain Routes Graded by Difficulty
Appendix 3 Table of Mountain Heights
Appendix 4 Glossary of Mountaineering Terms
Appendix 5 Further Reading
Appendix 6 Cicerone guides to Europe’s high points
The Handbook of Climbing (BMC) Alan Fyffe and Iain Peter (Pelham Books, 1997)
The Hillwalker’s Guide to Mountaineering Terry Adby and Stuart Johnston (Cicerone, 2007)
Map and Compass: The Art of Navigation Pete Hawkins (Cicerone, 2008)
A Coast to Coast Walk Alfred J Wainwright (Frances Lincoln, 2007)
A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book 4: The Southern Fells Alfred J Wainwright (Michael Joseph, 1992)
Ben Nevis Simon Richardson (Scottish Mountaineering Club, 2002)
Classic Climbs in the Caucasus Friedrich Bender (Diadem Books, 1991)
Eastern Alps: The Classic Routes on the Highest Peaks Dieter Siebert (Diadem Books, 1992)
Eastern Europe 1939–2000 Mark Pittaway (Hodder Arnold, 2004)
Easy Ascents in the Mont Blanc Range Francois Burnier and Dominique Potard (Vamos, 2002)
Lake District Rock: Selected Rock Climbs in the Lake District (Fell and Rock Climbing Club, 2003)
Lake District Winter Climbs Brian Davison (Fell and Rock Climbing Club and Cicerone, 2006)
Mont Blanc Massif Volume 1 Lindsey Griffin (Alpine Club, 1996)
Mont Blanc Massif Volume 2 Lindsey Griffin (Alpine Club, 1991)
Rock Climbing in Snowdonia Paul Williams (Constable, 2004)
Scafell, Wasdale and Eskdale A. Phizacklea (Fell and Rock Climbing Club, 1996)
The Alpine 4000m Peaks Richard Goedeke (Baton Wicks, 2006)
The Collapse of Yugoslavia 1991–1999 Alastair Finlan (Osprey, 2004)
The High Tatras Colin Saunders and Renata Narozna (Cicerone, 2006)
The Mountains of Montenegro – A Mountaineering Guide Daniel Vincek, Ratko Popovic and Mijo Kovacevic (Podgorica Books, 2004)
Walking in Norway Connie Roos (Cicerone, 2006)
Winter Climbing: Ben Nevis and Glencoe Alan Kimber (Cicerone, 2003)
Birds of Britain and Europe Jurgen Nicolai, Singer, and K Wothe (Harper Collins, 1994)
Wild Animals of Britain and Europe Helga Hoffman (Harper Collins, 1995)
Wild Flowers of Britain and Europe Bob Gibbons and Peter Brough (Bounty Books, 1998)