Despite its height of 2,050m, Viševnik is an accessible peak to hike which offers majestic views of the Julian Alps in Slovenia, including the highest mountain, Triglav. Whilst ascents of many peaks require a full day of walking, Viševnik takes around 2 hours to summit from the car park at Rudno Polje. Having climbed Visevnik in summer and in snow on Christmas Day, we decided to hike up for sunrise.
Winter Hike of Viševnik
One advantage of the shorter days in winter is that the sun rises later, giving more time to reach the top. And, of course, a slightly more bearable wake up time! We left Stara Fužina with our neighbour Scott (check out his Blog) at 4.45am and rapidly gained height as we took the twisting road up to Rudno Polje.
After parking, we put on our crampons, fixed our head-torches and headed through the woods, with the mountains looming eerily above us and the sky a carpet of stars. 10 minutes of brisk walking took us to the bottom of the ski slopes to begin the ascent. The low temperature meant the snow was firm and easy for our crampons to grip in to. 45 minutes of climbing up a second ski slope and a narrow-forested section got us to a col. From here, the vista started to open up as we continued to climb to the summit, still in almost complete darkness.
Reaching the Summit of Viševnik
We reached the summit at 7am, 30 minutes before sunrise and our anticipated arrival time, which meant a very cold wait! The temperature was around -15°C, which combined with gusty winds left us feeling rather chilled. This was a moment where we felt so grateful to have brought tea to drink in our flasks. A number of other climbers joined us at the top, including a group of skiers who took sips from hip flasks before disappearing on an exhilarating decent.
The weather was perfect: clear skies stretched as far as we could see and the crisp winter air gave amazing visibility. As the sun rose the snowy south faces glowed a range of pinks and oranges, with Triglav looking particularly magnificent.
The Hike down Viševnik
With the sun risen and offering some warmth to our frozen bodies, we started to head down, with a new spring in our step. Once again, we made good progress and before we knew it we were back to the ski slopes. We had brought some plastic sledges with us and this was the ideal spot to whizz down. We passed many other hikers who were also taking on the peak that day. When we got back to the car park we found it packed with skiers ready to enjoy the sun. This was a stark contrast to the dark and deserted place we had left 3 and a half hours earlier.
All that remained was to drive back down to the valley and enjoy a well deserved breakfast. It’s not every day you climb a 2050m mountain by 9am!
A Fantastic Start to the Day
We had a great morning, blessed with clear skies in spite of the cold. There is something so magical and uplifting about watching the sunrise, particularly in winter when the snowy peaks provide a perfect canvas for nature’s colours.
5 Tips for Sunrise Hikes in Winter
- Make sure you have done the route before in daylight; makes navigation a lot easier
- Ensure you have adequate equipment. A head-torch is essential, as are warm layers due to cooler temperatures. If you’re going to be in snowy conditions crampons, poles and an ice axe are also necessary.
- Check what time sunrise is and plan to arrive 10 minutes before that time: any longer and you’ll get cold waiting like we did.
- Bring food and a flask with a hot drink.
- Bring a camera. Although smartphones can take incredible photos, they require you to take your gloves off to take pictures: not ideal if it’s -15°C like it was when we climbed. Most cameras can be operated with gloves on, meaning you can get all your shots without sacrificing hand warmth.