23 September 2018

A Tale of two Peaks

Mountain hikers in Romania know that the months of September and early October can offer some of the best hiking days during the year. The weather can take and form up there on the summits, but every autumn there are one or two periods of several days in a row with very stable and beautiful weather.

This year we just had such a week with wonderful autumnal weather. Warmer than usual, dry, with deep blue sky and almost no winds high on the summits. The cooler and dry weather also means that the atmosphere is clearer than in summer, offering stunning views from the mountain tops. The air gets even clearer during the sunny and frosty winter days.

Last week I did two speed hikes up on the mountains to two famous peaks of the Southern Carpathians:
  • Fagarasi Mountains: Moldoveanu Peak (2544m), the highest point of Romania
  • Bucegi Massif: Omu Peak (2505) the highest peak in Bucegi Massif and just north of it, the prominent Bucsoiu Peak (2492m) 
On both trips we were rewarded with beautiful views that reached far far away, over 100km in distance. I was surprised to recognize the silhouette of Bucegi mountains seen from Moldoveanu Peak!

In a straight line, the distance between the two peaks is not that great, about 59km, but there are many mountain crests in between.  It is easy to recognize the shape of Bucegi mountains and the distinct triangular shape of Bucsoiu Peak from Moldoveanu Peak. However, looking the other way from Bucegi mountains, it is much harder to identify Moldoveanu peak among the multiple peaks and crests of Fagaras Mountains. I only identified it on the photo later at home, with the help of Google Earth software.

From Moldoveanu I could also see to the east another even more distant mountain. I was not sure what it was, until I got got home and checked with Google Earth. It was Ciucas massif, 93km away!  On a winter day, with much clearer atmosphere, I may have recognize the rocky peak of Ciucas.

As I try to be as light as possible on my mountain runs and hikes, I only had the camera of my phone with me. It is just good enough for documenting the trip. Here are some of the best photos I took during the trips.

Power hiking in Fagarasi Mountains:

Climbing on Vistea Valley on the north side of the main ridge

On Moldoveanu Peak

Looking west along the mighty Fagarasi ridge

Looking East from Moldoveanu Peak

Bucegi Mountains as seen from Moldoveanu Peak

Ciucas Mountains seen from Moldoveanu Peak
Looking East along the main ridge of Fagarasi Mountains

A look back to the main ridge of Fagarasi from Vistea valeey
And some photos from the sky running trip in Bucegi Mountains.
Looking north from the western side of Bucsoiu Peak

Looking north from Bucsoiu Peak

Looking west from Bucsoiu Peak. In the distance, Fagarasi Mountains
I believe that this is Moldoveanu peak as seen from Bucsoiu Peak

The central, south looking valley of Bucegi Mountains. Obarsiei valley

View of Bucsoiu Peak from below Scara Peak

Looking to Bucsoiu peak, across Tiganesti valley

Looking east towards Piatra Craiului Massif

The amazing terrace of Malaiesti Challet, on the beautiful Malaiesti Valley