Montenegro: most difficult icefall climbed in Tara canyon

A mixed team of climbers from Montenegro and Serbia, comprised of Nikola Đurić, Dušan Branković, Dušan Starinac, Danilo Pot and Ivan Laković, recently climbed the two highest frozen waterfalls in Montenegro: Strast (WI5+, 150m) and Mali zec (WI4, 150m) in the Tara canyon close to Dobrilovina. Laković provides the report.
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Climbing Strast (WI5+, 150m) and Mali zec (WI 4, 150m) in Tara Canyon, the two most difficult icefalls in Montenegro
Ilija Perić

Despite being a Mediterranean country, Montenegro’s mountains provide almost every aspect of the alpine climbing. Playing with the frozen waterfalls became an integral part of local climbing scene only some fifteen years ago.

The ice climbs that form most regularly and which are consequently the most popular are located in the Komarnica valley and in the surroundings of Boan, a small village close to Šavnik, as well as in the Morača and Tara canyons.

Unfortunately, these icefalls last very little due to their proximity to the seaside and sudden arrival of the warm air fronts, but when the right conditions prevail, some of these climbs would be considered significant outings even at the most prestigious ice climbing venues.

December 2016 and January 2017 brought with it a prolonged period of stabile and freezing-cold weather, enabling many classic winter lines to form. Furthermore, some long-awaited first ascents and repeats have taken place.

A mixed team from Podgorica and Belgrade – Nikola Đurić, Dušan Branković, Dušan Starinac, Danilo Pot and Ivan Laković – climbed the two biggest frozen waterfalls in Montenegro on Saturday, January 28th. Both icefalls are located near Dobrilovina, a small village in Tara canyon, close to the road that leads to Lake Zabojsko.

Nikola and myself made the first ascent of Strast (Passion) WI 5+, 150m on the left, while the two Dušans and Danilo repeated Mali zec (Little rabbit), WI 4, 150m on the right . The latter had been climbed for the first time only three weeks earlier by Srđan Lečić and myself. Weather conditions were almost ideal, with temperatures ranging between -12/-5⁰C.

Strast is currently the most difficult ice climb in the country, and we climbed it in four pitches (P1:WI4, 50m; P2:WI5, 50m; P3:WI5, 30m; P4:WI5+, 20m). It received its second ascent two days later, when fellow climbers Mićan Cerović and Đorđije Vujičić climbed the route and confirmed the grades. A crew from team recorded these ascents with photos and video.

by Ivan Laković

Climbers: Nikola Đurić, Dušan Branković, Dušan Starinac, Danilo Pot, Ivan Laković
Video: Saša Vujanović, Bojan Gnjidić, Ilija Perić

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