13 October 2013

Running with a view: Bratocea Ridge in Ciucas Mountain

Saturday was a perfect autumn day for trail running high on the mountains. It was warm, sunny and windless with great visibility. The early snow of last week is almost entirely gone.

I have chosen to run in Ciucas mountains, along Bratocea Ridge, a rather easy but very spectacular trail running route. This is a popular route for hiking, trail running, ski touring and even mountain biking. It is easy to reach, as it starts from Bratocea pass, just by the 1A National Road. The route follows Bratocea ridge from the pass (1263m) up to Ciucas mountain top at 1952m. It measures about 7.5 kilometers one way with about 750m of accumulated elevation gain. We extended a bit the route with a short loop in the Peak area. Our route had almost 18 kilometers that we did it in 2h40.

On a beautiful day, with clear atmosphere, the views from this route are simply breathtaking. As Ciucas is a quite isolated peak located in the bend of the Carpathian Mountains, the views from the top open for more than a hundred kilometers in all directions.

Here are some photos I have taken on Saturday while running along this route.

Bratocea Pass.  Early morning, the car park is empty. It will be full later!
Starting the run in the morning sunshine 
The route starts wit a winding dirt road through a large meadow
View of Cheia Mountain Resort. It looks cold down there!
Tigaile Mari rocks. These ate typical Ciucas rock shapes.
The conglomerate rocks are shaped by the strong winds that often blow here.
The final ascent to the top
A look east to the other side of the mountain
A rock solid kiss...
A look to the west from Ciucas Peak over the Bratocea ridge. In the distance Bucegi Mountains
Looking towards south-west from Ciucas peak
Looking towards north east from Ciucas peak
The steep east side of the peak
Bucegi Mountains still keeping some of last week snow
Bucegi again...
Looking towards North-west to Piatra Mare and Postavarul mountains
Running with a view 
Last view of Bucegi Mountains before descending into the forest 

Back to Brasov on the 1A road