Test your strength and reach for the sky on a climbing trip to Slovakia’s highest summit – Gerlachovský štít. Its height and splendid scenery make an ascent of Gerlach one of the most popular climbing trips the High Tatras have to offer. Muster the courage to make your dream come true and conquer the highest summit of the Tatras and the entire Carpathians.
Did you take a photo at the top? Did you take a snap of a chamois? Show it off to everyone: send us your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You have already conquered Kriváň and can run up to the summit of Rysy as fast as a chamois. But Gerlach, that’s some cool stuff!
WHY TO CLIMB SLOVAKIA’S HIGHEST SUMMIT?
- To see the marvellous landscapes from the top of Slovakia’s highest mountain
- To prove yourself you have the guts to do it
- To improve your climbing skills
- To enjoy the vistas and then share the beauty of the Tatras with your friends
- To take that once-in-a-lifetime picture
- Some men even think this is the best place to propose to the woman of their dreams
Are you convinced now, or do you have even better reasons? Please share it with us!
WHAT IS GERLACH?
Gerlachovský štít is the highest peak not only of the High Tatras, but also of the entire Carpathian Mountains. The central part of the Tatras started to form in the Palaeozoic some 210 million years ago when the territory of today’s Slovakia was still covered by the ocean.
WHY DO THEY CALL IT GERLACH?
Its official name is Gerlachovský štít (štít meaning peak in English), and the reason is very prosaic. Historically, it is part of the territory of Gerlachov, a village between the villages of Batizovce and Tatranská Polianka. However, the peak was also known by other names in the past, when:
- we lent it to emperors – štít Františka Jozefa (Francis Joseph’s Peak)
- it served as a symbol of our national sovereignty at the time of the Slovak State – Slovenský štít (Slovak Peak)
- we mobilised the troops for a war – Štít Legionárov (Legionnaires Peak)
- we wanted to appeal to the communist Russia – Stalinov štít (Stalin Peak)
Anyway, its unofficial name has always been Gerlach or Gerlachovka.
HOW HIGH IS GERLACH?
Besides its name, the height of Gerlachovský štít also changed on more than one occasion.
Gerlach was first identified as the highest summit of the High Tatras in 1838 when Ľudovít (Ludwig) Greiner, a forester from Jelšava, used trigonometric measurements to establish its height at 2,641 metres above sea level.
According to the Trieste system which measured the altitude from the mean Adriatic Sea level at the Port of Trieste, Italy, the Gerlach’s height was established at 2,633 m.
After Slovakia had switched to using the Kronstadt Gauge of the Baltic Sea, Gerlach grew to 2,654.3 m.
The most recent satellite measurements have added ten more centimetres, and Gerlachovský štít is now officially listed at 2,654.4 m.
But have no fear, you do not have to climb all those meters; the elevation difference from Sliezsky dom is just 1,100 m because you are starting your ascent at 1,670 m above sea level.
FIRST PEOPLE AT THE TOP
Gerlachovský štít is believed to be first conquered in 1834 by Ján (Johann) Still, a teacher and mountain guide from the village of Nová Lesná, accompanied by his brother-in-law Gellhof, miller Martin Urban Spitzkopf, and two unknown chamois hunters.
The first female climbers to stand on the top of Gerlach were Viennese hikers Paulina Knerr and Jospehine Fillunger who successfully climbed it on 28 July 1877.
The first ascent via Velická próba (Velická Challenge) took place in 1874, led by famous Caucasian and Himalayan mountain climber Mór Déchy.
The first documented ascent of Gerlachovský štít via Batizovská próba by Slovak climbers was made in 1875 by mountain guides from the village of Štôla, Ján Ruman-Driečny Jr and Ján Pasterňák.
First winter ascents
The first attempt at climbing Gerlachovský štít in winter was made as soon as 1902 but it was not before 15 January 1905 that an international team of climbers led by Polish alpinist Janusz Chmielowski conquered it in winter through an ascent via Krčmárov žľab (Innkeeper’s Glen).
SURPRISE AT THE TOP
When you reach the top, this is what awaits you:
- An iron cross
- A summit logbook
- Amazing views of the landscape below
- A once-in-a-lifetime experience and an opportunity to take a photo at a unique place
- You can admire the magnificent beauty of the mountains during your descend too, because you have to return safely before it gets dark
- Please send us your unique photos from your climbing trip, we will be happy to publish them in our photo gallery
About the ascent of Gerlach
WHO WILL TAKE YOU TO GERLACH?
Gerlachovský štít is closed for unguided hikers. There is no marked trail going to the top; for safety reasons you are only allowed to climb it with an UIAGM certified mountain guide.
We will make sure that a mountain guide takes a good care of you. He will assess the weather and other conditions on a day of your climb, identify dangers and eliminate most risks you may encounter during your ascent of Gerlachovský štít. He can cheer you up, help you with your climbing technique, endurance, and even with your “head”.
The mountain guides from the Mountain Pro Guiding agency have the highest attainable training and many years of experience from climbing expeditions both in Slovakia and abroad. They will gladly share their love of mountains with you. Some of them are rather laconic, others will amuse you with gripping facts about every larger rock you get to see during the trip, but they all have one thing in common: your safety is their top priority. If you are looking for something more challenging and adventurous, they can surely help. Take your friends from abroad to see Gerlach too – our guides speak English. They will make sure your trip will be a true once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of you.
In addition to getting clients safely to the grandest of the Tatras’ summits, they also regularly visit our Mountain Guides Club to talk about their adventures. Listen to their stories of adrenaline-rushing rescue operations and enjoy the most splendid summit views through their eyes. Let them amuse you with their entertaining stories and learn about things that can save your life in the mountains. Discover what the life of mountain guides in the Tatras is about.
WHEN TO VISIT GERLACH?
With a mountain guide by your side, you can climb Gerlachovský štít all year-round.
Summer ascents: Usually from June to September; the conditions are sometimes good even through October.
Winter ascents: Winter ascents are technically more demanding, but that snowy splendour is worth the effort.
Date of ascent: You can choose when to make the climb, but the weather always comes first in the Tatras. Good weather conditions are extremely important for a successful ascent. Our guides keep a sharp eye on the weather, and we will help you to plan your climb so that you have the best conditions possible.
No luck with the weather? You can rebook your accommodation up to three times for free.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO CLIMB GERLACH?
The ascent of Gerlachovský štít is a daylong hike. It takes eight to ten hours to reach Gerlach from Sliezsky dom and come safely back, depending on the route you and your guide choose. Of course, the weather and your physical shape also come into play. Hikes start early in the morning – at 6am in spring and autumn, at 5am in the summer.
Why so early? For the one thing, to make sure you return by daylight; secondly, to avoid bad weather since mornings are often beautiful in the Tatras, but clouds may gather around Gerlach by noon, obscuring the views from the top.
PHYSICAL CONDITIONS, SKILLS AND TECHNIQUE
An averagely skilled and experienced hiker can climb Gerlach without much difficulty. If you can climb Priečne sedlo or peaks like Jahňací štít, Rysy, Kriváň or Slavkovský štít within time specified on signposts or in maps, have no fear of climbing Gerlach in the company of a mountain guide. Your guide will explain and show you everything you are not familiar with.
If you are not sure whether you are in good shape or have appropriate skills, our guides are here to advise and assist you. First of all, you have to tell your guide about your health and physical conditions. Your trip to Gerlach also includes an insurance coverage in case you would need Mountain Rescue Service assistance.
SIZE OF GROUP ALLOWED PER TRIP
The maximum number of persons led by a single guide tied to a short rope is specified by the Technical Committee of NAHV SR (the Slovak National Mountain Guide Association).
In the summer, it is not more than three persons; for more demanding climbs (e.g., an ascent via the Martinka route), not more than two persons per guide are allowed. In the winter, the guide cannot lead more than two clients at a time.
CLIMBING GERLACH WITH CHILDREN
Children over 7 years of age are allowed on guided hikes, including a climb to Gerlach. So, if you have a “young chamois” at home who is even faster than you, do not fear to take them for a hike from Sliezsky dom to Gerlach.
Rules to respect when climbing with children:
- A single group (not more than three clients) can include only one child under 15
- The child should be in good physical shape. If you have managed to complete trips to such Tatra huts as Téryho chata or Zbojnícka chata within time given in maps or on signposts, your child is good to go
- We recommend that you test your child on a less demanding trip first, for example, a hike to Lomnický štít from Lomnické sedlo. The elevation difference is some 400 m only, but the hike also involves climbing sections
- The best time to climb Gerlach with a child is in the summer – from the end of June to the end of September, when conditions are ideal, with no snow cover
- Your child should have all equipment and gear necessary for a trip with a mountain guide
CLIMBING EQUIPMENT – SUMMER
What you need to take in the summer:
- high hiking footwear with firm soles
- waterproof sportswear made of Gore-Tex or other waterproof material (jacket, trousers), raincoat
- mid-layer wear, preferably made of soft-shell material
- warm underwear, warm socks
- spare thermal underwear to change into, preferably packed in a waterproof bag
- thin gloves and a cap/hat
- enough water to drink, a thermos flask
- food and sugars
- sun protection cream
- good mood
- 30 – 35 litre backpack to pack everything you need
Our guides also recommend:
- head torch
- bandana or a baseball (peaked) cap
- first aid kit
- photo camera
- cycling gloves
Climbing gear you get from us and your mountain guide:
- climbing harness (full-body/chest/sit)
- climbing helmet
- locking carabiner
A selfie-stick is available to rent from the guides.
CLIMBING EQUIPMENT – WINTER
What you need to take in the winter:
- winter hiking footwear with firm soles
- 30-35 litre backpack
- winter sportswear – two sets of thermal underwear, Gore-Tex or other waterproof outerwear (jacket, trousers), a (hooded) sweatshirt, a down vest or jacket, 2 caps/hats, two pairs of gloves, warm socks
- water bottle – thermos flask
- head torch
- snow goggles
- first aid kit
- sun protection cream
- spare shoes
Climbing gear you get from us and your mountain guide:
- ice axe
- climbing helmet
- climbing harness (full-body/chest/sit)
- locking carabiner
- avalanche kit (an avalanche transceiver + spare batteries, probe, shovel); this item is not included in the price of the trip
Ascent routes to Gerlach
There are several ascent routes to Gerlachovský štít, with various levels of difficulty.
Main ascent routes:
1. Ascent via Velická próba (Normálka)
Being relatively easy (graded I-II on the UIAA scale), Normálka is the most popular route. You head from Sliezsky dom towards Kvetnica, than you cross an exposed section – the so called Velická próba, to a saddle called Sedielko. The route traverses a kettle hole all the way under the Kotlový štít peak from where you can get a first glimpse of the summit during your ascent. The ascent continues by traversing the pillars on the side of the valley of Batizovská dolina all the way up to just below the summit. The descent route runs through a glen called Batizovský žľab and Batizovská próba back to Batizovská dolina where it joins Tatranská magistrála, a red marked hiking trail that will take you back to Sliezsky dom.
2. Ascent via Batizovská próba
This easier route (grade I on the UIAA scale) is especially used in a transitory period between summer and winter. Since the usual route via Velická próba is technically demanding during this period, both the ascent and descent are made through Batizovská próba. If the weather is good, this route is not used.
3. Ascent via Tatarkova próba – across Zadný Gerlach
A beautiful, grade II-III climbing route. You will leave the hiking trail in the valley of Velická dolina near the beautiful glacial lake called Dlhé pleso. Then you continue via Tatarkova próba – the climbing route is secured by chains and other artificial protections. Go up the right side of Tetmaierov žľab towards Gerlachovské sedlo to arrive at Zadný Gerlach. From Zadný Gerlach, cross the exposed ridge through Gerlachovské sedlo to the summit of Gerlach. The usual descent route is via Batizovská próba.
4. Martinova cesta (Martinka)
Martinka is a grade II-III climbing route. The hiking trail in Velická dolina will take you to the Dlhé pleso tarn and further to the ridge of Litvorové sedlo. From there, you continue along the ridge crossing Lučivianske veže, Litvorové veže, Lavínovú vežu, Lavínový štít and Zadný Gerlach. The route then continues as Tatarkova próba.
Our mountain guides are very popular with hikers. Read what the visitors who climbed Gerlach with them have to say.
Mountain guide Miki Knižka
Mountain guide Eduard ,,Kuro” Lipták
Mountain guide Ivan Žila
Mountain guide Tibor Hromádka
Mountain guide Igor ,,Trgi” Trgiňa
Mountain guide Ján Peťo
Mountain guide Milan Packo
Mountain guide Palo Packo
Why to start your Gerlach hike from our hotel?
Sliezsky dom is an ideal starting point for your trip to Gerlach. Located at the south-eastern side of Gerlachovský štít, our hotel is the departure point of choice for most hikers. Leave your car parked in the village of Tatranská Polianka and we will drive you to Sliezsky dom.
COMPLETE CLIMBING EQUIPMENT AND GEAR/EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO CONQUER GERLACH
You can book a date of your trip and a mountain guide with us.We will lend you a complete climbing set necessary to reach the summit safely.
REFRESHMENT FOR THE HIKE
You don’t need to pack your food two days in advance; we will take good care of your hungry stomach!
If you get soaked during the trip, a cup of hot tea with rum served in Sliezsky dom is the best way to warm you up. You can sit down and relax on our sunny terrace after your return from the exhausting ascent. A warm dinner, hot shower and sauna are waiting for you.
We won’t leave you starving after you return from Gerlach! A good dinner from our menu is included in your accommodation package.
You may get drenched to the skin on your climb to Gerlach. You may get numb with cold. Our sauna will warm you up, giving you time to relax and feast your eyes on the majestic peak you have just conquered.
A good meal is what you deserve for your memorable hike to Gerlach. Get your strength back with delicate meals typical of the Tatras prepared in an unconventional way!
Your climb to Gerlach starts at 5 a.m. If you are staying down in the valley, you will have to get up much earlier, around 3 a.m. Come to stay with us; you will get more sleep and we will make everything ready by 5 a.m. You will be fresh to enjoy the hike.
Book a hike to Gerlach
Before you set out to climb the grandest of our summits, you need to book a professional mountain guide. In the summer months when the demand is strongest, we recommend you to book the guide at least one month in advance. Information about availability of mountain guides can be obtained from the hotel reception desk.
“HIKE TO GERLACH” PACKAGE DESCRIPTION
- A climbing trip to Gerlach with a certified mountain guide
- Accommodation in a tourist room, or in a comfortable double-bed room and/or a suite
- Breakfast served as a buffet or à la carte
- Dinner served as a buffet or a 3-course menu
- Lunch package, including drinks (one per person)
- A free entry to wellness for 1 hour/day – including dry sauna, steam sauna, jacuzzi, and a relaxation room offering a unique vista of Velické pleso
- Wi-fi internet connection
- Transfer from Tatranská Polianka to the hotel on the day of arrival and transfer from the hotel to Tatranská Polianka on the day of departure
- Car parking in Tatranská Polianka
BENEFITS AND THINGS TO KNOW
- We will equip you with a complete climbing set: sit harness, climbing helmet, carabiner – plus crampons and an ice axe in the winter
- Insurance coverage for Mountain Rescue Service assistance. To get the insurance coverage, you need to provide your name, surname, date of birth and address of permanent residence
- Maximum three persons per guide are allowed in the summer, two persons per guide in the winter
“HIKE TO GERLACH” PACKAGE PRICE
The final price depends on the number of people, type of room, dates of your stay, and hotel occupancy. We will be glad to quote you a special price for children. We reserve the right to change prices. The price does not include the local accommodation tax of € 1/person/night. All prices include VAT.
tel: +421 911 882 879, +421 918 988 309 e-mail: email@example.com We will send you a quotation after we receive your booking application.
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