At 2864 meters high, Triglav is the highest peak in Slovenia and the Julian Alps, and it is said that you only become a real Slovene after having climbed it at least once. Triglav is also one of our national symbols and a central part of the coat of arms. Its name means “three-headed”, and could come from its three-peaked form seen from the south, or from the Slavic god of the same name.
Triglav yesterday and today
The first documented ascent of Triglav was accomplished in 1778. Bohinj’s “four brave men” headed to its then-still-present glacier and traversed the sharp ridge to the summit. The ascent lasted three days, from August 24 to 26.
100 years later, as the Slovenian people struggled to establish their national identity within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Slovenian priest Jakob Aljaž purchased land on top of Triglav. There he built a turret that characterizes the peak to this day. It was also he who drew up the plans for several hiking trails to its summit. The dangerous and sharp ridge has been flattened and made safer with a Via Ferrata, allowing more people to reach its peak.
Today Triglav is one of the most visited peaks in Slovenia. Although it still presents some risks and dangers, around 3,000 hikers access it daily at the height of the summer season. Apart from the symbolic value, the top is also attractive because of its spectacular views of the central Julian Alps. The prominent peak can be seen from most of Slovenia, always inviting those who see it to climb it.
How to climb Mount Triglav
Even though many Slovenians do it, climbing Triglav is not such a simple undertaking. Most trails to the summit take an approximate time of 6 hour walk one way. This is why most people choose to do it in two days, spending a night in one of the mountain huts near its summit.
The most popular is the Triglav Hut on Kredarica, which at 2515 meters above sea level is the highest hut located in Slovenia. The second choice for most hikers is the Planika Hut, located on the southern slope of the mountain. Whichever you choose, spending more time in the moonscape of the barren, rocky, high-altitude karst of the Slovenian mountains is a must-do experience.
The best time to climb Triglav is august and september since all the snow has disappeared. On sunny days in August it can get very crowded, so more and more people climb it in September or even June and July. Of course, first-time climbers should check to see if there is still snow on the route. Winter ascents are also possible but should only be attempted by the most experienced climbers. Sometimes it is also possible to ski from the top, which is one of the most difficult skis you can try in Slovenia. Otherwise, a ski tour to the Kredarica Hut is a must for all ski tourers in Slovenia.
All roads lead to Triglav
There are many different trails on all sides leading to the top. the less difficult leads from Krma Valley, one of the three glacial valleys of Triglav. It is one of the most likely to want to climb Triglav in one day since it is also the shortest. Those who do multi-day hikes start from Pokljuka. The trail is a bit longer but very scenic, taking advantage of your extra days in the mountains.
The steepest but also the most fun climbs start in the Vrata Valley. These are the most difficult as they have many Via Ferrata elements, which require climbing skills. They lead you next to the North face of Triglav, the cradle of Slovenian mountaineering. One of the largest faces in the Alps is over a kilometer high and around 4 km long. It has more than a hundred different climbing routes of different levels that attract a large number of climbers every year.
A guide makes your experience safer and more enjoyable
Even though the trails leading to the summit are of different overall difficulty, they all have a technical upper part. The last hour of each climb is a Via Ferrata requiring proper equipment and sufficient climbing experience. Knowing the local weather is also necessary, as you never want to be caught in a storm on this type of terrain.
If you do not have all of this experience and knowledge, choose to ride with a guide is the most sensible option. They are certified professionals who spend their lives learning to make your rides as safe and enjoyable as possible. They know the most optimal routes and how to facilitate your ascents. The local guides are also fluent in English and can share amazing information about the mountains and the region. On top of all that, they can also help you book your beds in the cabins which get very crowded in high season.
To find the best way to climb Mount Triglav, check out this selection of guided Triglav tours.