The mountains are easily accessible either by train or on paved road, each zone can be accessed in a short time, the mountains assure a varied terrain, ideal for both trekking tours and extreme rock-climbing. It could be an ideal training both for climbers and hikers for real alpine tours in the Alps and Caucasus or even up to famous remote peaks.
On those parts of the mountains that are accessible using the cable car or on asphalted road the tourism has been growing a lot recently, and although we find at this very place the rock formations (Sfinx, Babele), being ranked as the symbols of the mountains, we are still not interested in them. Our tours should like to explore to the visitors the north and northwest part of the mountains. This place is less known by average tourists, mostly it is the tracking of mountain climbers and of those who are well-informed on the place, the wild animals are fascinating, the beauty of the scenery is unforgettable. In their deep cleft valleys or in the remoted ridges of the hill we can meet frequently with chamois herds, but they are not easy to be stalked. Besides the photo tours, here is also a possibility to try your endurance from the physical or technical point of view on tours with different difficulty levels. In winter season it has a real alpine character, you are opposed to each situation that can be experienced on the world’s big mountains. So I recommend it to trained teams that are accustomed to long trekking tours.
To the heritage of the mountain belong the Peles Castle of Sinaia or the Dracula Castle of Bran, but it shouldn’t be neglected the world of the scattered farms in the surroundings of the mountain.
Some information about the mountain
It is the easternmost point of the Southern Carpathians. Although its summit is a flat plateau, it is closed from each side by sheer cliffs, being a real challenge to climb up on its pathways. On the summit the wind is always blowing, in winter is stormy and waste, whilst in summer it is covered by a dense fog, making more difficult the otherwise wearisome orientation. For this once it is about a conglomerate mountain, so there are only a few springs to be found, most of which being only seasonal. Its wild world is diversified, besides the chamois, you may have the chance to come across with the Carpathian brown bear, and although it is excluded that we can see them, but according to the relating of the shepherds, lives here a healthy wolf and lynx livestock, as well. In most part of the larger valleys and on the alpine meadows there is a continuous grazing from September to October. Although the sheep dogs are used to the tourists, we should be careful near them and keep them in check, if they would be attacking. But there’s no need to panic… your hiking guide solves such situations with routine. We recommend visiting of the place from the end of May to the beginning of November. In winter usually occurs an avalanche danger and it is ranked as a mountain with high difficult level. A 2-3 days hike is truly adventurous, but if you want to know the mountains even better, you need to plan your hiking trip for at least 4-5 days.
A few words about the tours
The northern part of the mountains is one of the most spectacular regions of Transylvania. It can be traversed from the mountain huts which serve as a basis. There are great differences in level, its pathways require both good physical condition and staying power. It is neither easy from the technical point of view, we also meet with chain secured routs. In early spring – late fall periods we can be hindered by glaciation and fresh snow, but in winter we have a physically difficult alpine climbing to do on physically challenging trails. We traverse the mountain within a long one day hiking, in summer the size of the hiking group is between 1-8 persons, but in winter it is limited to 1-3 persons.
The most important equipment you should carry is a pair of hiking boots that fit you well, also comfortable clothing (that provide protection from rain, wind), sunglasses, suntan lotion, hiking stock, headlamp, sometimes could be useful a cap or a pair of gloves, too. In winter you need crampon compatible hiking boots, of course the crampons itself, in addition you can have an ice axe, a climbing harness, eventually snowshoes. Don’t forget, you should bring your own equipment!! Take an adequate hiking food supply with you (ingredients for sandwiches, chocolates, energy bars, dried fruit, grains, and of course water and isotonic drinks). And of course backpacks, a 20-35-litre rucksack, if we are to sleep in a mountain hut, and a 50-60-litre backpack, if our aim is camping.
Our constant base is the Malaesti hut built on 1520 meter high in the most beautiful valley of the mountain, which can be reached approximately in 2,5-3 hours. The services of the mountain hut, surrounded by high cliffs, are excellent. The house has rooms for 2-8 persons, we are given bedclothes, blanket, so, we don’t need any sleeping bag either in winter, since there is a central heating functioning in the house. You can buy cooked food, drinks, bottled mineral water. But the WC is outside, the toilette by the nearest spring, if there is any water inside (it is seasonal, usually dries up in July-August). Don’t forget they carry up everything in backpacks and with mules, therefore – as everywhere – everyone should take down its garbage from the mountain. The other shelter (this used to be the B plan) is the Poiana Izvoarelor hut, which can be reached in 40-50 minutes, but from here the tours are longer. The hut has similar services, but it also provides bathroom, WC and hot water. As almost everywhere in the Carpathians camping is allowed here, too. Of course, this way the package is heavier, since the weight of the tent, sleeping bag, feather bedding is not negligible, but the tour is more flexible, more exactly, we can sleep where we meet the nightfall.