Zelenica protected climbing route
Near Zelenica Mountain Hostel (1536 m) there is a highly challenging protected climbing route - a "via ferrata" - up the south wall of the mountain Spodnji Plot. It leads up a vertical rock wall to a height of 90 m. It consists of two parts: "Instructional protected climbing route" (113 m, D), which is of moderate difficulty and is very suitable for training, and the upper right section "Sport extremely difficult via ferrata" (75m, E), which is currently the most challenging via ferrata in Slovenia.
- 1 / 8 Zelenica protected climbing route
- 2 / 8 foto: Dejan Ogrinec
- 3 / 8 Foto: Uroš Švigelj
- 4 / 8 foto: Dejan Ogrinec
- 5 / 8 Sign
The protected climbing route was put up in 2015 by members of the Tržič Mountaineering Club. The route is equipped with steel cables for protection and progress along the whole of the route. Other aids and forms of protection (steps, rungs) have not been fixed into the wall, and to advance along the route climbers can in addition to the cable use natural fissures, holds, and steps in the rock.
From Zelenica Mountain Hostel go 100 m north (towards the Triangel ski lift), after the first ascent, turn off into the forest to the right where it levels and cross below the wall along the footpath to the start of the ferrata (15 minutes from the hostel).
Both legs of the ferrata end near the summit of Spodnji Plot. The descent follows an easy footpath from the summit on the northwestern side and then across a pasture to Zelenica Hostel (20 minutes).
Route description and difficulty
The protected climbing route has the shape of the letter Y:
• lower part: D (8 m), the rest A/B
• upper left-hand part: C, mostly B and B/C
• upper right-hand part: E, with short somewhat easier sections (D, B/C)
The beginning is easy, with relatively short sections of grade A/B and B of 30 metres in length. This section is also suitable for younger visitors and the less experienced, as well as for introductory instructions and training for climbing on protected routes. At the end of this section (at the first tree next to the steel cable) there is also the possibility of exiting (emergency) from the ferrata - to the right to a shed and a descent along a footpath (careful, it's exposed!) back to the start.
In the middle of the lower part is the key to the instructional protected climbing route – an 8-metre high vertical tower, where the difficulty is grade D - here the climber needs some upper-body and arm strength, and even more important is the correct placement of the feet when advancing, as this is the only way to conserve strength and ascend successfully and enjoyably through the ferrata.
Above this part, the protected climbing route splits into two upper parts:
Upper left-hand part:
THE INSTRUCTIONAL PROTECTED CLIMBING ROUTE is of moderate difficulty (grades B, B/C and C) and is intended primarily for training and learning: the steel cable leads along natural passages in the wall (chimneys, shelves, slabs, cracks), the climber can make use of natural footholds and handholds, and no additional aids for climbing (apart from the steel cable) are placed.
The fork is followed by a chimney, which is climbed with legs apart and with the help of a steel cable. Continue with a picturesque traverse to the left along smooth slabs using friction-climbing techniques (climbing shoes with suitably grippy soles essential!) and making use of small footholds. The next section of the ferrata is of moderate difficulty and ascends straight up and past the tree to just below the crack in the upper part. Climb the crack (B/C) using a number of natural footholds and handholds, and climb to the right along a gravelly ramp (easier terrain, B) to the end of the route. This section of the climbing route ends with an exit 15 m west of the top of Spodnji Plot.
Upper right-hand part:
THE SPORT EXTREMELY DIFFICULT VIA FERRATA is a considerably more difficult, sport, exposed and scenic part of the ferrata, intended for only the most experienced, skilled, and fit climbers (those who are less skilled should attempt it only if accompanied by a guide).
After the fork to the right in the lower part of the wall, ascend via vertical, partially overhanging smooth slabs (E) to slightly flatter faces just below the slanting crack under the chimney. Continue from the chimney to the left through nice passages with natural footholds (D) back to a vertical section (D/E) and through the overhang (very difficult E) to the upper part of the wall. Here the route turns to the right (east), and in an easier traverse (B/C) you can breathe a little easier (but be careful, the rock is friable!), only to have your breath taken away by the sheer drop and the spectacular view to the south and east - towards Ljubelj, Veliki Vrh, Korošica, Košutica - and of Zelenica Mountain Hostel on the west side. Traverse along a shelf to the right, descend from the ridge tower (2 metres) along the steel cable and continue the traverse above a 150-metre-high precipice to reach the penultimate section of the route, the tower (10 m, B/C). In this part, visitors and spectators can already observe you from the saddle east of the top of Spodnji Plot (easy path from the NW side). Catch your breath and climb over the overhanging slab (10 m, E) and reach the end of the route only a few metres east of the summit.
The extremely difficult via ferrata runs along the south wall of Spodnji Plot in the immediate vicinity of the mountain hostel on Zelenica. The via ferrata has the shape of the letter Y. After the first 35 metres it forks into two variants: the easier left-hand one – the "instructional protected climbing route", and the more difficult right-hand one – the "sport extremely difficult via ferrata", with both routes ending near the summit of Spodnji Plot at 1682 m. The elevation difference from start to finish is 90 m, and the total length of the route (both legs) is more than 180 metres.
This is currently the most difficult via ferrata in Slovenia (length 75 m, with three long sections of difficulty E).
The route is administered and maintained by the Zelenica Climbing Instruction Centre (GUC Zelenica) of the Tržič Mountaineering Club.
The protected climbing route is intended primarily for activities carried out within GUC Zelenica; however, other visitors also have unrestricted access to and free use of the route. Vistors should take note of the following:
- before an ascent check the difficulty of the climbing route and make a realistic assessment of your abilities and experience;
- have appropriate safety equipment for the ascent and know how to use it;
- mandatory equipment: helmet, climbing harness, appropriate mountaineering footwear;
- for the right-hand, more difficult part of the via ferrata we recommend the use of an additional short cord, rock climbing shoes, and additional rope protection as needed.
GUC Zelenica offers rental of climbing equipment (in the hostel on Zelenica), information, and guiding for ascents along the protected climbing route.
Use of the via ferrata is at your own risk.