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Rock Climbing in Paklenica

  15. 09. 2011.     comments: 0

You can think of this as an unofficial on-line climbing guide to Paklenica. Here you can find a short overview of the rich history of climbing in Paklenica and how it became what it is today. If you are planning a visit, you can get an idea of what to expect in terms of types and difficulties of the routes available as well as recognize how big this place actually is and why having the latest official climbing guidebook is a good idea.

Paklenica – the making of

In the late 1930's when climbing in Paklenica first began, climbers were already aiming for the biggest lines they could find. Being the highest cliff around it was of no surprise that Anića kuk was the primary interest of some of the best climbers of the time. The first climber who attempted to climb the 350 m high main wall of Anića kuk was Dragutin Brahm. Tragically, he died during his solo attempt in 1938. The first route on Anića kuk was climbed two years later by Slavko Brezovečki and Marijan Dragman following the line attempted by Brahm and named it the Brahm route. Today it is one of the easiest routes up the main wall of Anića kuk while still holding a respectable free climbing grade of F5c or YDS 5.10.

For some years to follow Croatian climbers were the ones putting great classics on the main wall of Anića kuk. The routes like Mosoraški – F5c (Boris Kambič and Boris Kulić in 1957), Velebitaški – F6a+ (Davor Ribarević, Nedjeljko Jakić and Matija Mlinac in 1961), Klin – F6c+ (Miroslav Pleško, Stanislav Gilić and Nedjeljko Jakić in 1966) and Funkcija – F6c+ (Nenad Čulić and Ivo Kaliterna in 1969) were established using primitive climbing gear and big balls. Since the routes are bolted now climbers can get away with only a set of quickdraws and much smaller balls (optional) but even so, the routes are still regarded Paklenica's greatest classics! The last of major accomplishments by Croatian climbers of the time were the routes Jenjavi – F7a+ (Marijan Čepelak and Dragan Vučidolov in 1971) and Brid klina – F7c (Borislav Aleraj and Marijan Čepelak in 1973). Needless to say all of these routes were first climbed using aid so their first free ascent belonged to the future.

Slovenian climbers played a major role in "the making of" Paklenica. The most active were climbers from Ljubljana adding their own difficult routes up Anića kuk and Debeli kuk. Routes like Vražji – F6c, Diagonalka – F6a+ and Forma viva – F6a+ waited many years for a free ascent. In the later 1970's Franc Knez first visited Paklenica and raised the game to a much higher level. He climbed some very demanding routes by aiding and free climbing at the highest grade imaginable at the time. In fact, he was accustomed to using a closed grading system (UIAA I-VI) while climbing much harder, in effect making his routes grossly under-graded. Franc Knez is the name to look for when choosing routes in any climbing guidebook.

Another notable Slovenian climber of Paklenica's late 1970's is Iztok Tomazin. He accomplished difficult first free ascents of routes like Brid za mali čekić – F6c+ and Velebitaški – F6a+, pushing the free grades in Paklenica higher than UIAA VI for the first time. With his climbing partner Matjaž Ivnik he also added beautiful new lines like Albatros – F7a and El condor pasa – F7a on the main wall of Anića kuk.

The 1980's brought even more Slovenian climbers to Paklenica. Hard new aid lines were climbed: Čarovnica (Janez Sabolek and Franc Knez in 1980) and Črni gavran (Janez Sabolek and Lidija Painkiher in 1981). A fast link-up of 6 routes on Anića kuk was made by Janez Sabolek and Janez Skok climbing Funkcija, Bukov, Ljubljanski, Velebitaški, Fanikin and Mosoraški in a day. Classical routes on Anića kuk were equipped with massive cemented rings on the belays, other difficult free climbs were established while existing aid lines were freed. Freeing aid routes like Klin, Vražji, Funkcija, Šubara, Jenjavi, El condor pasa, Rio, Cvrčev stup and even the Brid klina spelled the names of Knez, Tomazin, Škamperle, Painkiher, Kozjek, Skok, Slabe and Rehberger. But as the old aid routes were being climbed free, even harder new aid lines were established: Spomin – A2 (Silvo Karo, Janez Jeglič and Franc Knez in 1985), Rumeni strah – A4 (Silvo Karo and Pavle Kozjek in 1986), Tango vertikal – A3 (Silvo Karo and Simona Škarja in 1986) and Jogananda – A4 (Miha Praprotnik and Matjaž Ravhekar in 1989).

The late 1980's marked the beginning of sport climbing in Paklenica with one of the first short sport climbing routes, Il Maratoneta – F8b+ by Maurizio Zanolla still being the most difficult one in Paklenica. The second most difficult – Mosquito (F8b) was climbed shortly after by Gerhard Hörhager.

In 1990 the Rémy brothers, Yves and Claude came to Paklenica and climbed Rajna – F7a+ and Welcome – F7c. They equipped the routes from the ground up placing bolts on the lead with the aid of a battery-powered bolt gun.

In 1991 the war started and Paklenica was closed. Not until late 1995 did climbers return and the adventure continued. Lots of routes were re-equipped and made safer, many new routes established. Italian climbers Paolo Pezzolato, Sara Gojak, Aldo Michelini and Laura Ortolani contributed with many beautiful routes of medium difficulty. The most notable climbers of the later years were Croatian climbers Boris Čujić and Ivica Matković who acted as climbing supervisors in the National Park Paklenica and together established and bolted many difficult free climbing routes. The route Zenit  – F7b which they climbed in 2004 is regarded their crown achievement in Paklenica and one of the most beautiful routes on Anića kuk. Still today you can catch them with a smoking (bolt) gun and they recently made it clear that they are barely half way through. In 2012 they climbed another route on the main wall of Anića kuk and named it 50 and life to go  – F6c+, even made a short video about it.

In conclusion, development of climbing in Paklenica went through various stages and the bar was raised again and again. Currently there is some 200 short sport routes and even more of the longer multi-pitch ones. With the free grades ranging from 3 to F8b+ and aid up to A4 there are routes for everyone from beginners to experts. For the best of the best there are hard aid lines still waiting for free ascent, blank walls still resisting to be scaled at all. But every now and then impossible is redefined. Stay tuned.

Getting to Paklenica

Several airlines fly daily to and from Zagreb. Other airports to choose from are Rijeka, Split and Zadar with flights somewhat less frequent. On top of that there are budget flights (RyanAir, EasyJet, FlyBe...) that anyone can afford, even me. :) Once you get to Croatia you can rent a car and be in Paklenica in 2.5 hours. You can find a detailed map and addresses on the Contact tab.

Climbing season

Paklenica is governed by a Mediterranean climate with mean summer daily temperature between 24 °C and 26 °C (75–79 °F) and mean winter daily temperature around 7 °C (45 °F). These are the 24 h means so one must account for daily maximum temperatures of up to 38 °C (100 °F) in the hottest days of the year. The best time for climbing is April to October with end of July and beginning of August only good for climbing in the shade. On the other hand, temperatures on calm, sunny winter days often reach 17 °C (63 °F) but nevertheless it's not what you would call a high climbing season because those days are few.

So temperatures not being too much of a concern what about the rain? Summer is the driest season and winter is the rainiest. The good thing about Paklenica is that after the rain stops the rock dries rather quickly. After an all-night downpour slab routes are often dry by the early afternoon.

And finally a word about the winds. The most frequent wind in Paklenica (and Dalmatia in general) is the south-easterly "jugo". Blowing in autumn and winter it carries warmer and moister air from the sea to the land and can bring rain with it. "Bura" on the other hand, is a cold, dry wind blowing from the mainland in sudden gusts that sometimes reach up to 220 kmph! The erratic nature of bura can be deceiving so please be very careful if driving in such conditions. Often some critical roads will be closed at wind speeds as low as 100 kmph due to vehicles getting blown off at certain clearings. For climbing in bura and having fun at it you really have to be of a special breed. Or maybe you just want to train for your next trip to Patagonia?

Accommodation

Obviously, you can stay at our guest house where we rent rooms and apartments to climbers and other visitors as well. We can provide you with all the climbing information before you even leave home and when you get here you will find the most recent climbing guidebook at your disposal. We also provide climbing courses for beginners and more advanced lessons for those who want to take their climbing a step further. You simply get the most climber-friendly place out there, so please contact us in advance.

The area


View on Google Maps

On this interactive map you can find placemarks for all the cliffs in Paklenica that are open for climbing with some route names mentioned beside them. The approach is typically a short walk along a marked trail while descents usually require some routefinding skills and can involve easy scrambling or abseiling.

The location of our guest house apartments is shown yellow.

The routes

Below is the most up-to-date list of all the multi-pitch routes open to climbing and their official grades. Nb, in Paklenica there are many more routes established then are officially open for climbing. The closure of entire cliffs was necessary to protect the bird-life while some routes were closed out of concern for the safety of tourists and sport climbers immediately below them. This list refers only to the routes officially open for climbing, so please keep that in mind. For the routes I climbed myself and had a camera with me at the time I provided links to photo galleries and trip reports (in Croatian) but no guarantee that I actually took pictures of every single route I climbed on a particular trip.

Please note: this page is and always will be work in progress.

name of the route grade height
Veliki Vitrenik (442 m)
Oliver Dragojević 3 150 m
Krele 4c 100 m
Skalinada 3 100 m
Snoopy 3 100 m
Oprosti mi pape 4a 110 m
Greben 3 100 m
Crljenica (380 m)
Marenda kod Dinka 6b+ 100 m
Dying in the sun 7b+ 60 m
L ira di Onofrio 6a+ 40 m
Blaghers in arms 6b 70 m
Alba Chiara 6c 85 m
Kuk Tisa (350 m)
Ranozoreći 4a 200 m
Josipa Debeljaka 4a 200 m
Desna strana stupa 3 150 m
Bezazleni 4a 100 m
Izduženo rebro 4b 200 m
Zubatac 4a 250 m
Kuk od Pašćetnice (370 m)
Desno rebro 3 200 m
Kuk Nožičar (360 m)
Za naše bivše djevojke 3 160 m
Ovčji kuk (250 m)
Kajuu 3+ 50 m
Prijatelju moj 3+ 80 m
Pored žute mrlje 3+ 80 m
Cile 4b 75 m
Kukovi ispod Vlake (390 m)
Nosorog 4c 150 m
Kikos bohrer 6a 100 m
Lidijin 4c 90 m
Joe the Ripper 6a 90 m
Vesela obitelj 6a 70 m
Borna i Rok 6a 72 m
Ada i Sanjski 6a 50 m
Unter Geieren 5c 40 m
Spit Bull 5c 145 m
Regina di cuori 6a+ 50 m
Kuk od Skradelin (500 m)
Tinin 4b+ 110 m
Andy & Max 5c 70 m
Franz Hohensinn 6a+ 60 m
Faulenzer 6b+ 100 m
Dreaming the lost friends 6a+ 100 m
Brot und spiele 6b+ 80 m
Kosovo 6a+ 80 m
Armadillon 6a 115 m
Saku 6c 120 m
Ča je od Draga je od Draga 6b+ 130 m
Kameni croissant 6a 130 m
Frau Blüher 6a 120 m
Flex & Rex 5a 120 m
Doktor Frankenstiin 5b 150 m
Aigor 5b 150 m
Piksi & Diksi 5a 100 m
Cristina 5b 120 m
Anarhija 6b 150 m
Castello di Carte 6a+ 110 m
Le Ginestre 5c 110 m
Mali Ćuk (250 m)
Celjski stup 5a 150 m
Veliki Ćuk (560 m)
Stup nad Bijelom rampom 4b 140 m
Bijela rampa 3 130 m
Sjeverni greben 3+ 170 m
Sjeverno rebro 4b+ 170 m
Water song 6a+ 160 m
Izgubljena djeca 6a+ 170 m
Zimski cvijet 6a+ 210 m
Nidia 6b+ 160 m
Gyps fulvus 6b+ 160 m
Centralni kamin 5a 180 m
Barba Antin 5a 170 m
Kanjonski 3+ 300 m
Paparazzi 6b+ 300 m
Karamara sweet temptations 6a+ 110 m
Gospodari kiše 6a+ 120 m
Circus 6a 350 m
Debeli kuk (600 m) - Ljuska
É seguitemi mi sono perso 6c 55 m
Hare Krishna 6a+ 55 m
É dulcis in fundo 6b 45 m
Hugga wugga 6a 60 m
Debeli kuk (600 m) - Sindrom
Adrijanskoga mora sirena 7b+ 70 m
Kitajski sindrom 7a+ 60 m
La vita e bella 7a+ 40 m
Debeli kuk (600 m) - Stup
Karaoke 7a 200 m
Slovenski (PIPS) 6a 200 m
Sedmi kontinent 7b+ 220 m
Big Wall Speed Climbing (aka BWSC, Tinin raz) 6c+ 220 m
Diagonalka 6a+ 200 m
Zgrešeni 5b 100 m
Johnny 7a 200 m
Kalamari union 6c 80 m
Drugi program 7b 200 m
Senza Pieta 6b+ 200 m
Anića kuk (710 m) - North face
Levitacija 6c+ 60 m
Lost world 6c 70 m
Kamasutra 5b 150 m
Figurae Veneris 6a 160 m
Propeler 6b 160 m
Enigma 7b+ 190 m
50 and life to go 6c+ 190 m
Ljubljanski 6a+ 220 m
The show must go on 6c 280 m
Nema Dinka do Dinka 7b 290 m
Vila Velebita 7b+ 320 m
Mjesečina 7c+ 350 m
Amici miei 7b 150 m
Jenjavi 7a+ 350 m
Duh Kneza 7c 120 m
Sivka Usiljivka 5c, A2 190 m
Črni Panter 4c, A1 170 m
Fanikin 6a 170 m
Bukov 6a 185 m
Črni tulipan 6c 180 m
Črna zareza 6a+ 190 m
Duševni mir 6a+ 80 m
Črni gavran 7b 250 m
Čarovnica 5b, A2 250 m
Vražji 6c 270 m
Želva 6c 270 m
Rio 7a+ 150 m
Anića kuk (710 m) - Main wall
Himalajski 7b+ 120 m
Rumeni strah 7c 200 m
Albatros 7a 340 m
Velebitaški 6a+ 350 m
Bubamara 7c 350 m
Rajna 7a+ 350 m
Gaz 7b 350 m
Waterworld 7b+ 350 m
Klin 6c+ 350 m
Šubara direkt 6c+ 350 m
Nostalgija 6b 350 m
Brid Klina 7c 350 m
Zenit 7b 350 m
Spider 8a 350 m
Welcome - to hell or to paradise 7c 350 m
Ultimate fight 7a+ 350 m
Mosoraški 5c 350 m
Funkcija 6c+ 300 m
Kaurismakis mistake 7a+ 350 m
Cupido 8a 350 m
Zlatne godine 7c 350 m
Alan fjord 7c 355 m
Deserto del coure 7a+ 100 m
Kača 6a 350 m
Poseidon orig. (aka Posejdon, Posjedon) 6c+ 120 m
Infinito 7a+ 355 m
D. Brahm 5c 300 m
Passenger 7b 350 m
Black magic woman 7b+ 350 m
El Condor pasa 7a 350 m
Spomin 6a, A2 300 m
Jogananda A4 120 m
Cvrčev stup 6c+ 300 m
Srček 4c, A3 140 m
Wein weib und gestein 6c+ 300 m
Vražja simfonija 4c, A1 290 m
Lažnivka 6c 240 m
Posejdon (cont.) 6a, A2 300 m
Pod stupom 6a, A0 300 m
Tango vertikal 7a+ 110 m
Živlenje 7a 250 m
Anića kuk (710 m) - Stup
Agricantus 8a 200 m
Desna tržiška 6b 120 m
Šaleški 5a 120 m
Kava kod Dinka 6b+ 125 m
Brid za veliki čekić 5b 150 m
Raz za romantike 6c 45 m
Forma viva 6a+ 180 m
Leva tržiška 6a+ 120 m
Trik 5a 125 m
Ona ljubi rock 6c 75 m
Brid za mali čekić 6c+ 120 m
Bears on toast 6c+ 60 m
Utopija 85 6c+ 65 m
Lastovka 7a 40 m
Domžalski 6a 120 m
Karabore 5b 120 m
Švicarski 6a 50 m
Walter Wolf 6c 80 m
Pero 5c 80 m
Sonho Meu 6c+ 60 m
Utopija 6a+ 100 m
Thüringer weg 6a 110 m
Abseil pista 4b 80 m
Rebeka 6b 100 m
Danaja 5b 100 m
Forma nova 6b 100 m
Quo vadis 6a, A3 200 m
Sine Miko 5c, A1 130 m
Uringl 6a+, A1 130 m
Feferon 4c, A2 120 m
Vukov 4c 80 m
Polumjesec 5c, A1 250 m
Anića kuk (710 m) - West face
Kraški slovenski tržaški steber 6a+ 250 m
Bora 4c 65 m
Capitan Pelinkovac 6c 260 m
Catch the rainbow 5a 100 m
Juha 6a 250 m
Bračni (aka Zakonska) 5c 200 m
L'anno delle Lumache 6a+ 250 m
Akademski 4b 180 m
Maniti kuk (740 m)
Kita 5a 200 m
Popodnevni 4c 180 m
Kamniški 4b 170 m
Večernji 4c 150 m
Rak 6a+ 120 m
Polugodišnji 4c 120 m
Maniti kuk - Zub (560 m)
Istočni brid 4b+ 80 m
Zahnschmerz 6a 40 m
JZ stijena 3+ 40 m
Direktni 4c, A1 80 m

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