Today dawned fine enough for us to realise that we could see the mountains from the balcony of our room – it had been too misty on earlier days. The mountain tops are definitely showing more snow, which made me suspect that we wouldn’t succeed in our plan to climb Mt Giewont, the main mountain in this area.
Guidebooks and maps say it is a difficult tourist climb, taking about 7 hours total, but we don’t have proper winter climbing gear, so the snow would make it difficult.
We start early and make reasonable progress through the lower hills. The paths are well-marked and all paved in stone – not actual flat paving stones, but stones placed roughly together to form steps, many having sharp edges sticking up, so not incredibly easy to walk on.
After about 90 minutes we break out onto a ridge into sunshine and wonderful views of the mountains up close. Further walking takes us to the snow line – first small drifts beside the path, then a few on the path. We had intended to turn back at this point, but we’re feeling OK and confident so we continue. Gradually we hit areas of full snow, good firm compact snow, easy to walk in – which is fortunate as we are going up a fairly steep hill. There’s a lot of people around us at this point – the first stage had been quiet, but up here there are people passing us coming down, and plenty of others going up.
We make it to another ridge before giving up – I guess we could have gone further, but without proper boots it didn’t seem like a good idea. Most other climbers had sticks as well, so we felt a bit underprepared. It was a great walk though, moderately challenging for our levels of ability.
We returned to Zakopane and ate an early meal at one of the generic restaurants in town. Again, portions were huge and hearty and mostly unexceptional. Home early to rest up.