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Malá Studená dolina (Small Cold Valley)

Published: 18.3.2008
If you will be pleased to make an excursion in mountains and you do not prefer to visit the Alps, would you visit some of natural beauties of Vysoké Tatry (Giant Tatra) in Slovakia. The climbing through Malá Studená dolina (Small Cold Valley) up to Téry Chalet is very popular. It cannot be your final target, of course.

Malá Studená dolina  is 4,5 kms terrace-shaped long valley, situated in eastern part of  Tatra Mountains.

The starting point is those of Hrebienok (1285 m). This place belongs to most picturesque places of Tatra line. You have to pass this place when climbing from Skalnaté pleso (Rocky Lake), situated in Skalnatá dolina (Rocky Valley) in western direction to Sliezsky dom (Silesia House), placed at foot of Gerlachovský štít (Gerlach Pike). Hrebienok is easily to be reached by surface wire-rope railway from Starý Smokovec (1010m), stop of Tatra electric railway line. So, our way starts. From Hrebienok, we reach Obrovský vodopád (Giant Waterfall) across Starolesnianska polana. The way is moderately ascending, at its end we drop a little. However, it will be for last time. From nice waterfall, we reach, along unique stony pavement, Zámkovský chalet, situated at 1475 m.This chalet was founded in 1943, it is open all year round , and its capacity offers 25 beds for accommodation. You can take also a refreshment here but, especially in summer, there are crowds of tourists which finish their excursion here. Tatranská line continues to Skalnaté pleso (Rocky Lake). Nevertheless, we choose the way to Téry Chalet, following grew plough-tails along right side of Malý Studený potok (Small Cold Brook), we cross it below steep rocky walls. The way continues, with slowly arise,across sheer wreckage slope, up to Žltá stěna (Yellow Wall) - 2182 m. This wall became very popular with Tatra climbers. You can see here - Slavkovský štít (Slavkovský Pike) on your left part, rugged rocks of Lomnický štít (Lomnický Pike) you find on your right part. You reach soon Téry Chalet, built in 1899, situated in an altitude of 2015 m of sea level. Chalet is open for public all year round, offers 25 beds for accommodation as well as traditional meals of Tatra kitchen. However, the milieu here is moderately musty, but it does not matter, as you just finished your excursion. The beds are placed in one room, so you cannot have objections against snoring of other persons lodging.

The building is situated at the edge of former glacier field (kettle), surrounded by Five Spiš Lakes. In an altitude of 2022 m you find  Vyšné Spišské Pleso (High Spiš Lake). In Malá Studená dolina, we find highest placed lake of Giant Tatra Mountains - Modré pleso (Blue Lake), situated under Sedielko (Small Col) in an altitude of 2157 m of sea level. On the opposite part of a valley, under Baraní rohy (Ram´s  Horns) - in an altidute of 2207m of sea level - is small, flat Baranie pliesko (Small Ram´s Lake) - however, it has lack of water during summer months. The amphitheatre of mountain peaks surrounding Téry Chalet, form, especially in evening, the feel of magic oppression, beyond all description, but this is not unpleasant.

Lomnický Pike, Pyšný štít (Proud Pike) Baranie rohy (Rame´s Horns), Ice Pike, Yellow Wall and Slavkovský Pike have the same magic as the Alps pikes. Ice Pike is - even with its high of 2627 m, third highest peak of High Tatra,whereas Lomnický Pike is the second highest peak in High Tatra. From Téry Chalet follow two tourist trails. The first one, along Blue Lake to Sedielko Col (2372 m), leads further to Javorná Valley and to village of Javorina. The second way - so called „one-way“ - leads to north - western wall, where we reach, by means of hard climbing, across Priečné sedlo (Transverse Col) to Velká Studená dolina (Great Cold Valley). We find here refresehment in modern Zbojnická chata (Brigand Chalet), situated in an altitude of 1960 m of sea level. New building was constructed after a fire in 1998. The accommodation capacity offers 16 beds.

From here, we can return comfortably to the starting point of Hrebienok. We have to take into consideration, at similarly easy trekkings, that High Tatras belong, with its conditions and hard terrain, to dangerous mountains. Summer storms signify really big danger. In winter and spring, big complications cause winds and dense fogs. The underestimation of these mountains brings troubles for many tourist who do not have suitable fittings (insufficient clothing or lack of information about weather and terrain). So, the most suitable period for visit of these mountains, there is end of September, at this time the weather is most stabil here.

For travelling to High Tatras, we recommend you to use direct trains or car-trains. Its departures from Prague to Poprad are mostly in the evenings. The way takes from 7 hours (Ex Košičan, departure 11,06 h) 8 hours (R Šírava, departure 22,06 h) 9, 5 hours (R Cassovia, departure 20,06). These trains stop in Olomouc, Ostrava, Třinec and Žilina. The route is 600 kms long, most comfortable for travelling it is during the night, in sleeping-carriage you reach your target early in the morning in Poprad railway station. Early arrival  there and successive travelling by means of surface rail-rope way to Starý Smokovec, offers enough time for climbing to Téry Chalet,  just in the same day of your arrival to Slovakia.

Text: Jan Chaloupka

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