Vf. Negiou at dusk, Fagaras Mountains, Romania
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Fagaras Mountains Trek
Romania

For ten days between September and October 2003, I went trekking in the Fagaras mountains, part of the Carpathian Alps in central Romania. This mountain group is probably the most popular in the country and contains Romania's two highest summits - Moldoveanu Peak at 2544m and Negoiu Peak at 2535m. The main ridge is around 60km in length and only drops below 2000m once over its entire length.

I travelled with two friends, Colin and Dave. We commenced our trek from Zarnesti, a village south-west of Brasov, one of Romania's larger cities, finishing at Sebesu de Sus around 90km further west from where we travelled to Sibiu, a medieval city in Transylvania, for some cultural exploration.

This page gives a pictorial account of the trip, together with accompanying notes.

Here we are on our train journey from Bucharest to Zarnesti at the beginning of the trip. On the left is a very friendly Romanian girl we sat next to called Louisa who had just returned from London where her father works. Then, from left to right, its Colin, myself Tim and Dave (whose left hand took this picture!) Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image Here's Dave on top of Bran Castle, near Zarnesti where we started. Legend has it that the castle is associated with Dracula though we were informed that this was just a Western myth and the castle played a significant part in Romania's genuine history at a strategic point on the trade routes into and out of Brasov to the north-east.
Shortly after starting our trek, we encountered a limestone gorge complete with bolted climbs. Most of the routes were quite hard and had some interesting names. Unfortunately, our large packs prevented any successful ascents! Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image This is a picture of part of the gorge itself. The rock faces must have been in the region of 60 m in height.
We soon broke out of the gorge and started ascending towards Cumatura Hut in the Piatra Craiului mountains. This is a magnificent limestone ridge which looks amazing to traverse. Our trekking route determined that we would only cross the ridge though I would be keen to return and tackle the whole ridge in the future. Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image After nearly 1000m ascent we crossed the Piatra Craiului ridge and started descending towards the Plaiu Foii hut the other side. This involved a steep descent to the valley, around 700m below.
Here we are part way down in a scree gully that was quite fun to 'surf' down on small boulders! Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image We eventually made it to Plaiu Foii which turned out to be quite a luxury hut! The price of staying there was extremely cheap by Western standards too.
Day two saw us ascending again though we didn't quite manage to find the path to the ridge indicated on the map. We therefore ended up hacking through the forest for much of the long ascent! Most of the mountainsides in the area are forested below around 1500m, the trees being a mature mix of deciduous and evergreens. These areas are home to much of Europe's bear and wolf population although we didn't see any of these carnivores during our visit. Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image That evening we were struggling to find water on our ridge route. We eventually came across a shepherd's hut with a trickle of water coming from a pipe driven into the hillside nearby. It took the best part of 5 minutes to get a litre of water however! The hut had a healthy supply of firewood outside so we used a little to keep ourselves warm that evening.
Morning on day three brought us this amazing view at breakfast. Above the hazy cloud in the distance is the Piatra Craiului ridge which we had crossed on the first day. Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image The hut was well constructed and was home to a variety of interesting hand-crafted devices including this drinking trough. The interior had a most unpleasant animal flesh odour so we elected to camp rather than stay inside.
Another shot of the fantastic view from our breakfast table outside the hut ... Click for a larger image
Click for a larger image ... and another from higher up the ridge shortly after we started walking.
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