My most challenging hike so far


Martin Talač


The peak Rysy is situated in High Tatras at borders with Poland. It´s one of the most visited peaks in Slovakia, because the view from Rysy is stunning and also with its altitude of 2 500 m. a.s.l. is the highest peak of High Tatras, which you can hike without a mountain guide.

I and a few friends decided to hike to Rysy at the beginning of September. In this period, the weather is usually suitable for hiking. You will probably avoid walking in the temperature around 30 °C and also you won´t get wet, as the afternoon storms are rare. Unfortunately, it wasn´t our case. We spent almost the whole day walking in the rain and mist, but we didn’t mind!

strbske pleso

The Štrbské lake. Here we began our hike.

We woke up at 5 am and ran out of our chalet to check, how the weather looks like. The weather forecast said, it was going to rain the whole day, but all of us were resolute in our aim, no matter what. Outside we saw some pieces of blue sky between the clouds. We packed up, got off and took a tram from Tatranská Štrba (we had accommodation there) to Štrbské pleso (the starting point). From there we walked the red trail to Popradské pleso (glacier lake).

You can make your ascent even more difficult, like we did. Under Rysy is standing the highest situated chalet in Slovakia and you can help to supply it. You will be rewarded for your help with tea. All you have to do is to carry prepared supplies from the Popradske pleso to the chalet. For example, we took 5 kg package of sauerkraut. Soon I regretted it, because I had a feeling, that those 5 kg in my backpack weighted at least 100 kg. 🙂 At this chalet you can also stamp your Maps of Tatras for gaining the Tatra Tourist Badge.

chata pod rysmi
The chalet under Rysy. At that time it was under reconstruction.

The worst thing about our hike was the weather. The rain made the whole trip even tougher. I didn´t have any raincoat, so all my clothing was soaked. The problem also was the mist. Luckily, at the top of Rysy the mist vanished for a while so at least we could see the Morskie oko (glacier lake in Poland) and a few other peaks in the surroundings.

mountain lakes
The view at Žabie plesá (The Frogs glacier lakes) from Rysy

Let me share with you also one observation from High Tatras. I don´t know why, but it often happens, that I meet people in mountains, who are probably not aware of, what hiking is all about. For example on that day we met a group of young people (probably students and their teacher) by the Žabie plesá (The Frogs glacier lakes). Their clothing was inappropriate (jeans and sneakers), they had no raincoats or umbrellas and they were too late. They simply didn´t look like tourists. We met them at around 2 pm when we were already descending. I really didn´t have a clue, why and where were they heading to so late. So I would like to warn you to not underestimate the weather while hiking in mountains, be properly dressed and begin the hike early in the morning.

hike to rysy
The last stage of our tour. Slovakia on the left side, Poland on the right.
mountain lake
Žabie plesá (The Frogs glacier lakes)
The Hut under the Rysy is cllose.
rysy toilet
The toilet at The Hut under the Rysy. Its doors are made of glass, so you can enjoy wonderful views while….. 😉
slovak poland border
On the way back. Poland on the left and Slovakia on the right.

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