My trip to Croatia, as told in a series of photos…
Tried not to repeat photos already posted, but I’m certain it happened, anyways.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
What to do during our last day in Croatia was a topic of considerable debate. Should we go for something big and hard, or would we be too tired to make it safely to the airport early the next morning? Taking it easy posed the risk of squandering what very likely would be out last opportunity to climb in Paklenica. Ah, the tough problems of traveling climbers.
In the end, we decided on a compromise- we would climb a long, classic but easy route. That way we wouldn’t be trashed, could move quickly in order to have the afternoon dedicated to packing and traveling toward Zagreb (where we both had flights out the next morning) but still could feel like we parted with Paklenica in a meaningful way.
On that last day, the weather was beautiful as we made our way for the last time up the cobblestone path toward Anića kuk Kuk. Thirty minutes later we were getting ready below the legendary huge carabiner which marks Paklenica’s most popular route-Mosoraški(6a+, 10c.)
“You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves.”
More often than not, in my personal experience, if one were to analyze my feelings while climbing a multi-pitch route on a moment-by-moment basis I’m probably not exactly having “fun.” In fact, I may actually be miserable. Sometimes you are cold at a belay station, shivering and dreading leading the next pitch with frozen fingers, other times your skin just hurts and sometimes you have quite a few rappels to go while you are baking on the side of a rock in the summer heat. (I really can’t complain, I haven’t done anything very extreme and don’t mean to make it sound like i have, but I certainly have done my fair share of complaining and what’s the fun of having a blog if you can’t complain a little bit!)
But, the satisfaction of executing a beautiful move well or of topping-out always seems to dull these longer, often drawn out feelings of discomfort and even suffering during which you are vowing to yourself to never climb again so long as you can get yourself out of this situation safely and back to the warm comfort of normal life. (or maybe that’s just me…)
Reflecting on the longer multi-pitch routes that we did in Paklenica is a bit of a biased exercise; I remember the suffering ,but what I really value are those “golden” moments when it is all worth it.
Those “golden” moments stand out most on the routes “50 and life to go” , “Big Wall Speed Climbing” , “Diagonalka” and “Mosoraski”, all of which are classic climbs in Paklenica and on which I had moments of dread and doubt overshadowed by moments of satisfaction, accomplishment and utter joy. Here is the story of one of those routes.
“Danas penji, sutra stenji – Climbing today, suffering tomorrow”- climbing quote which originated in Paklenica National Park
While visiting family, drinking an excess amount of bosanska kafa and traveling the countryside with my Dad was plenty fulfilling and entertaining, thoughts of my next destination were lingering in my mind, feeding off of my growing excitement…
I was itching to head to Paklenica National Park in Croatia to go climbing on the massive limestone walls that up to this point I had only seen in pictures.
Now I have some pictures (and stories) of my own to share…