Introduction and acknowledgements
This guide contains information useful to those planning their first climbing trip to the Paklenica in Croatia. The usual disclaimers about accuracy, up-to-dateness, and climbing at your own risk apply.
This guide presupposes that you have sufficient general knowledge, experience, and competence to safely engage in whatever aspect of mountaineering appeals to you. If you don't, then this guide won't be much help to you.
Situated on a relatively small area close to the sea and surrounded by a unique, wild and picturesque nature, Paklenica has everything in its favor. The gorge is a climbers' paradise,offering many routes of all styles(sports, traditional and aid climbing) and at all grades.There is something for everyone, from the beginner to the extreme climber.
Firstly,and with all due respect, I would like to remind you that it was Stanko Gilic who first described and introduced Paklenica as a climbing area.His four climbing guides published over a period of fourteen years sold out long ago. The last edition published in 1982. just before the big boom in sports climbing, included many of the most popular routes. Guide books have also been written by the Germans Froidl who copied Gilic and Vatter whose book is incomplete.The book by the Italian Boscacci contained many errors.
HOW TO GET TO PAKLENICA
By road from Trieste (Italy) or Ljubljana (Slovenia) along the Adriatic coast passing through Rijeka, Senj and Karlobag to Starigrad-Paklenica (180 km from Rijeka).Zadar is 46 km to the south.
Another option passes Zagreb, Plitvicka jezera (National park) and Gracac to Maslenica to join the coast road.And from here north to Starigrad-Paklenica ( 270 km from Zagreb).
About 100 m from hotel Alan (a sign for National park Paklenica), a narrow asphalt road turns off the main road to the small village Marasovici. From here it is about 200 m to the Park entrance.From the Park entrance drive up the road a further 2 km to the car park.Here the path starts through Klanci, the narrowest part of the gorge, and a half hour walk takes you to Anica kuka, the large meadows where the valley widens between Anica kuk and Maniti kuk.The path continues up to the mountain hut Borisov dom and the upper section of Velika Paklenica.
NATURAL AND GEOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS
Paklenica became a National Park in 1949, and the headquarters were established in Starigrad in 1956.On February 10th, 1978. by a UNESCO decree,the whole mountain chain of Velebit became a biogenetic reserve.
The Park comprises two gorges:Velika (Great) and Mala (Little) Paklenica.
The climbing is to be found in Velika Paklenica.This area is composed of two valleys: the longitudinal is parallel with the southern chain of Velebit (NW-SE) and the transverse valley cuts into the peaks of Debeli kuk and Anica kuk.The longitudinal valley is formed by Triassic limestone, and the transverse valley is of cretaceous limestone.The unique geology of this area combined with the influence of the Adriatic sea has created a contrasting landscape that includes caves ( Manita pec, Vodarica...) as well as lush forest vegetation, bush covered slopes and interesting flora and fauna.
As the Park is so near to the sea the difference in altitude between the higher peaks at 1700 m and the sea level adds to dramatic aura of the area.
WHEN TO GO
In Paklenica, it is possible to climb all year round but the best time to go is between April and the end of October. In winter, the strong wind (bura)must be taken into account, but during periods of settled weather it is possible to get some very pleasant hours climbing on the faces exposed to the sun. In spring frequent showers can spoil climbing, but the rock dries relatively quickly.In summer, it can be too hot, but it is always possible to find a face in the shade (Anica kuk - all the morning)
ACCOMMODATION AND OTHER SUPPLIES
Camping is prohibited within the National Park of Paklenica. There are camp sites in Starigrad that are open all year round e.g.:
Hotel "Alan" is open from June 1st to Sept.30th.
There are many restaurants in Starigrad which can provide you with full board and lodging.The restaurant "Rajna"is the traditional meeting place for climbers and is recommended.Here you can also get all the necessary information about climbing in Paklenica.Phone: 023/ 369-130
There is petrol station and a few shops and a market in Starigrad.Out of season supplies are rather limited but still adequate.
NATIONAL PARK REGULATIONS
All visitors to the gorge of Paklenica including climbers must obey the National Park regulations. It is forbidden to damage any kind of flora and fauna. There is a good relationship between the National Park Authority and the climbers and we would like this to continue.To protect the habitat of Griffon Vulture ( Gyps fulvus ), a bird protected by law, climbing is forbidden in the whole area of Mala Paklenica, and on Jurasova glavica (with the exception of the right part of the face) on Velika Paklenica.
There is an entrance fee to the Park:
*kn. -Kuna, a national currency
In this document, distances, elevations, temperatures, etc. are in all in metric units.
When climbing in Paklenica please remember that there are other visitors beside yourself holiday makers,hikers,bikers...But most important of all the Park is the home of the villagers of Starigrad and Marasovici and you are there as their guests, and should respect both their privacy and their countryside and wildlife that inhabits it. Climbing is not just moving across step, overhanging faces, it's an outdoor sport, giving you a thrill of freedom, being a part of the nature. After a successful and pleasant day you've spent climbing in a certain climbing area, it is therefore right and necessary to leave the place in such condition as you would like to find it at your return.Besides, the climbers are obliged to behave as guests, not to disturb the people and animals from the vicinity and thus respect their privacy.
MOUNTAIN RESCUE SERVICE
During the major holidays e.g.: Easter ,Labour Day, and school holidays, there is a rescue service based in Paklenica.during the rest of the year a rescue team from Zadar is on stand by.It usually takes 2 hours from call out to arrival at Paklenica. The phone numbers in case of accident :
A walk up the neighboring gorge of Mala Paklenica is well worth effort.
Many excursions into the upper section of Velika Paklenica are possible from the mountain hut Borisov dom, as is a visit to the cave Manita pec. The history of another curiosity, the subterranean shelter, dates back to the time of Tito's Yugoslavia, and the crisis between the latter and the ex Soviet Union.
The National Park organize bird-watching trips to see the vulture and tours of the park along the tracks of Winnetou. You can rent a mountain bike and cycling is permitted through the gorge. Information about these and other activities available from the National Park phone: 023/ 369-202.
HOW TO USE THE GUIDE BOOK
There are twenty peaks of interest to climbers within Velika Paklenica. The peaks are described clockwise from the left of the Park entrance looking up to the valley.
The grading system used is the UIAA scale, and the grades are given as follows:
the first grade is for a free ascent - if there has been one;
the second grade is for the classic ascent and has been confirmed i.e.the routes have been repeated.
Warning - some of the grades may be inaccurate,especially those of routes which haven't been repeated yet (among them many of F.Knez)
Route length - the route length is not given.The length stated is the high of the face.
Time - An estimated climbing time is given for the majority of the multi-pitch route.
The most obvious characteristics of a route are pointed out,e.g.style of climbing, any aid sections and corresponding free details, the quality, the protection and the specification etc.
The majority of the routes are equipped at least with old pegs.The big classic Mosoraska, Velebitaska and Klin all have cemented rings on belays and have recently been re-equipped with bolts. The latest routes, the multi-pitch routes on the Stup and the sports climbs in the gorge are all protected by bolts. If additional protection is required on routes it is stated in the description. However, it is recommended that a sea of nuts and friends are carried on every route on Anica kuk.
See short history of climbing in Paklenica. Just click here.
It is recommended that you buy climbing guide "Paklenica".
By Dubravko Vukmirovic
Scanned by Tamara Dumic
Special thanks to Boris Cujic.
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