CZ, Krkonoše: Sněžka – A Climb on the Highest Czech Mountain from Pec II
We have ended our last journey beneath Luční, i.e. Studniční mountain, at the largest hostel in theKrkonoše Mountains, i.e. Luční bouda. Golden fluid from local brewery hopefully hadn’t affected our way we perceived beauties of local landscape. Even if it did frosty mountain air and sharp sun would heal anyone from any hangover. After a breakfast, i.e. huge blueberry cake, half a liter of tea we were again on our way to our goal closing with every ridge we crossed. There are little wooden bridges over marshland during summer, which are covered under snow in winter. A nature trail leading around the spring of the river Úpa is named "The heritage of an ice age " and particularly in winter there is no wonder about that. After a while we got on the Czech borders with Poland in Obří sedlo (Giant Sadle) where we refreshed in a yellow cottage - schroniska Dom Ślaski name of which gives a hint that we are partially in Poland. Unfortunately, the prices here are not favorable there and an exchange ratio of Czech crown to Zloty is not favorable either…
What you can do… we have final ascend ahead. From a Polish cottage (1400 meters above the sea level) there are de facto two tracks. The one from north, which is longer, circles the peak and connects to the eastern Czech track. The second, the steep one, leads to the peak through the southwestern ridge from where you can have a beautiful look at for example the Obří důl (Giant Mine), Studniční jámy (Studniční Holes), the ridges of our highest mountains or the whole plateau with Luční bouda.
It didn’t take too long and we found ourselves on relatively vast peak of Sněžka. The peak is, as many other peaks on the borderline, split between the Czech Republic and Poland. What is the highest mountain for Czech, for Polish it is only the highest peak of shared Krkonoše Mountains. Our northern neighbor take their share from every of the highest Czech and Slovak mountains. The highest mountain of Poland are actually Slovakian Rysy, 2499 meters above the sea level.
The peak of Sněžka used to be, despite its present dense housing development, a small village according to historic engravings. The oldest construction is the chapel of St Lawrence built in the 17th century. Perhaps the most visible building is Polská bouda built in the 1980s, the well-known UFO saucers that resembles an alien spaceship with its interior, smell and furniture. However people got familiar with it, but still some Czech lack courage to buy some refreshments there. In 1900, on the peak was built a meteostation. A building 18 meters high used to be the only working meteorological station during the Second World War in Europe. On the place where today is a very interesting construction of theCzech Post, which has also a girly name Anežka, stood there since 1868 until 2004. In that year Česká bouda replaced decaying old building of the post. The original old post stood only few meters away was dismantled in 2009 and moved on Javorská skála in Vlašimská pahorkatina.
The new building of the post by architects Martina Rajniš and Patrika Hoffman had a long and complicated history. Environmentalists didn’t like its modern and unusual look for the Krkonoše Mountains. It looked like a container on supporting pillars. There were nine alternative drafts however, the original eventually won, after few modifications. Mostly wooden eko construction consists over 20 thousand! components and it can be changed thanks to special window shutters from summery glassy building to an isolated wooden shack with a small terrace. In 2007 it was sanctified by well-known Czech archbishop Karel Otčenášek and ceremonially opened by President Václav Klaus. The price for this unique work of architecture is estimated to 20 million crowns.
An interesting thing would be also a cable way that is under a complete renovation these days. We will write a special article on it in the future.
Well, that’s all from our ascend to the highest Czech mountain. It is up to you, which way you choose to go back. If on Pomezky, Pec, or little harder descend to Špindlerův mlýn.
Text: Jan Chaloupka
Photo: archiv autora
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