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Jonathan Merritt climbing the icefall Slap Peričnik in the Triglav National Park, Slovenia, January 2016
Photo by Aleš Česen archive
Jonathan Merritt climbing the icefall Slap Peričnik in the Triglav National Park, Slovenia, January 2016
Photo by Aleš Česen
Jonathan Merritt climbing the icefall Slap Peričnik in the Triglav National Park, Slovenia, January 2016
Photo by Aleš Česen

Peričnik, one of the most spectacular ice climbs in Slovenia

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World-class alpinist Aleš Česen introduces Slap Peričnik, the famous waterfall below Mt. Triglav. In winter this transforms into one of the most spectacular icefalls in Slovenia and an unforgettable experience for all ice climbers.

In recent years, ice climbing in Slovenia and other lower mountain regions has been greatly affected by milder winters, especially since the majority of waterfalls in the Julian and Kamnik Alps are located far below 2000 meters.

This winter season has been quite dry so far, but we still have plenty of things to do: as everywhere across Europe, we have had normal winter temperatures for quite a few weeks. A considerable amount of ice has therefore formed and people with sharp tools in hand and strapped to their boots can be observed below the mountains. Even some waterfalls which rarely, if ever, freeze have come into fat condition.

Slap Peričnik is a well known waterfall and a big tourist attraction in the Vrata valley within the Triglav National Park. Due to it's south-east aspect at an elevation of around 800m it very rarely offers safe ice climbing. The time frame for climbing is usually very narrow, since at the end of January the sun is too high and too warm for the ice. This year though it was finally back in the game.

Established on 11 January 1981 by Rok Kovač, Lidija Painkiher and Andrej Škafar, I first climbed Peričnik in 2002 together with my father. I’d never climbed it since, until last week. Climbing Peričnik is not exceptionally difficult nor very long. It is also not a big alpine tour, since its access and descent are trivial and short. But it is indeed a supreme experience, climbing in such a scenic environment, surrounded by thousands of icicles hanging from overhanging conglomerate rock formation. In my opinion, the climb of Peričnik is a first class experience for any alpinist or ice climber.

by Aleš Česen

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