Sunday, February 9, 2014

Climbing in Bozhenitsa

The Bozhenitsa rocks is one of the most popular sites in Bulgaria. This place is perfect for rock climbing as well as for beginners and
advanced climbers.It's beloved place, not only of the fact that the place is situated near Sofia with highly accessible terrain, but
also because they offer variety of shapes and forms of different styles for all climbers.

The rock is soft sandstone, the only one located near Sofia.
The rocks with height up to 20-30 meters offer - slabs, overhangs, ceilings, etc.
The bozhenitsa rocks most off all are suitable for sport climbing, therefore they are equipped with Chemical Anchors.
They are hardly used for traditional climbing. Here you can find dozen of routes with different levels of difficulty(5a to 7c+).

The boulder routes involve climbing of relatively rounded holds with very good grip. Their height is from 1.5 up to 6-7 m.
The difficulty of the routes ranges from 6a to 8a+. The total number of the routes and boulder problems are more than 160.

For the ordinary tourist the place offers further attractions. On top of the cliffs there is medieval fortress named - Bozhenishki Urvich.
The castle is located on the northern slopes of the hill called - the Lakavish ridge. It is accessible from the north the of the village.
The archaeological studies have found that the site has been inhabited back in prehistoric times,but the first fortifications 
date back to the V-VI century. Its heyday was during the XIII-XIV century,when the outermost wall was build.
It is striking the ten meters water tank as well as rock churches.
The fortification walls has been restored partially.
Passing trough the village you may visit also the old church with the monastery school.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mountaineering in the Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains)

Climbing p. Botev – 2376 m.a.The highest peak of the Stara planina mountain, Its old name is Uymrkchal- Vast, massive peak in the form of fist. The peak is also included in the 100 national site of Bulgaria.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rila - Malyovitsa

It rises in southwestern Bulgaria, surrounded by high and low valleys and fields.
Its boundaries are:  The west - along the Struma river;
The south: river Gradevska and Predel Saddle /1295 м / separating it from Pirin Razlog Valley;
The east: River Mesta’s Valley, Abram saddle /1295 м/ , separating it from the Rhodopes, river Banska, Undola and  river Iadenica.
The north: the Dolnobansk field, the Borovesk saddle /1305 / , the Samokov Plain, river Cherni Iskar, the Klisura Saddle /1025 м./ , separating it from Verila , river Dzherman and the Stankedimitrovsko field. Within these limits, it covers an area of  2629 square km, as its average altitude is 1487 meters, therefore it belongs to the high mountains and it is with highly alpine character.

Rila is the highest mountain in Bulgaria and the throughout the Balkan Peninsula.
Most of the mountain  formed  the national park: Rila . Park was proclaimed in February 24, 1992 The National, total area of the park is 107 923,7 hectares. On October 15, 1999 it is categorized as a national, with an area of  81 046,0 hectares. Part of it is re-categorized in the Natural Park "Rila Monastery: 


Rila is often called "the cradle of Bulgarian alpinism". Already in 1921-22 after the creation of youth Tourism Union,
Junior members of the tourist company in Samokov town began to organize the first mountain trips. Then shortly after they begin paving and more difficult - alpine routes. In the moment there are over 300 routes of different types (alpine, traditional, ice, rock climbing, bouldering)
They are concentrated mainly in Malyovitsa share.


Malyovitsa  is a peak and ski resort in the northwestern part of the Rila Mountains in southwestern Bulgaria. It is 2,729 m high and is one of the most popular tourist regions in the mountain. The Rila Monastery is situated at its southern foot, and Malyovitsa Ski Centre — with two downhill tracks and two ski drags — is to the north. The main starting point for treks in the region is Malyovitsa Hut (at about 2 hours walk from the top of the summit).

The Malyovitsa region is the cradle of Bulgarian rock climbing and mountaineering. The first organized expeditions were made in 1921-22 by tourists from the town of Samokov. The imposant north wall of the summit was first climbed in 1938 by Konstantin Savadzhiev and Georgi Stoimenov (about 200 m, grade UIAA V+). That was the greatest success of Bulgarian climbers for its time and is deemed as the date of birth of Bulgarian mountaineering. Later other walls in the region were climbed too with the most difficult routes being made in 1970s. In the last 15 years, Malyovitsa region has become very attractive rock-climbing district with the possibilities it gives for mountaineering and sport rock climbing.

Other interesting walls and summits are: Zliya Zab (200 m wall with one of the most famous climbing routes in the country — Vezhdite), Dvuglav (a 450 m high wall, with climbing routes often over 500 m long), Iglata, Dyavolski Igli (several aretes with the hardest climbs in the region), Ushite and others. A wall that is available for not so experienced rock-climbers is "Kuklata". It is situated across Malyovitsa hut, 10 minutes walking, and the main part of its tours is bolted.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Glimb in Veliko Tarnovo

The medieval capital of Bulgaria Veliko Turnovo is situated in a picturesque way, rocky along the banks of the river Yantra in the skirts of the Balkan mountain. The silvery band of the river has carved throughout the centuries a miraculous labyrinth of rocky vertical walls and defiles, amongst which even a more fabulous town has grown up.

Most memorable are its historical monuments, the medieval churches and monasteries, fortresses and unique buildings of architecture, the museums of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom /1185-1393/, of the Bulgarian Renaissance, the National Museum of Architecture, the numerous art galleries.

Veliko Turnovo is the second biggest Bulgarian University centre with three Universities and several recognized colleges in which study more than 10 thousand young people who contribute to the constantly young spirit of the town.

Tourism occupies a great deal of the life of the town. For that purpose many hotels and small picturesque and comfortable cafes and restaurants are built; the attractive show ,,Light and Sound" on the hill Tsarevets is taking place every other evening] and there are many sports and recreation facilities in the vicinities of the town.

Nowadays Veliko Turnovo is a symbol of Bulgarian history and a centre of culture, education and tourism, thus attracts many visitors from all over the world. But it also attracts a more specific category of people - the rocks-and-adventure lovers and rock climbers.
The natural wealth and the active functioning of the Alpine Club Trapezitsa" in Veliko Turnovo are the foundation for the established wonderful conditions for the climbers. Therefore in 1989 a round of the World Cup Championship competitions for climbing was held here.

The climbing places near the ancient monastery ,,St. Trinity" and the place ,,Ousteto" are equipped / for safety/ and offer a real diversity of routes coupled with unique natural fascination.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lakatnik Climbing Region

Lakatnik is the oldest and second biggest climbing region in Bulgaria. Currently it has five crags and around 350 routes. The rock is solid good quality limestone. The routes are mainly steep or vertical but sometimes you can find overhangs and roofs. The best season for climbing in the region of Lakatnik is winter between the months of December and April.

Lakatnik is a village in the western part of Bulgaria. It is located around 60 km away from Sofia and very close to the town of Svoge (15 km), in the Iskar River Gorge, which divides the Balkan Mountain in the north-south direction. The area around Lakatnik is gorgeous. There are cliffs spread around the entire area.

Station Lakatnik , with 400 meters altitude , is located in the Iskar Gorge of   Balkan Mountain, 50 kilometers from Sofia on the railway line toward Mezdra . By train the travel
will be an hour and half, with car the destination can be reached within one hour.

Tourists and mountaineers called vertical walls against the station with the common name Lakatnishki rocks
Furthermore – some undeveloped walls offer conditions for climbing, not worse than others. You could say that  there is more to be done that it have been done in the area of Lakatnik station., although the rocks have attracted attention from the very birth of mountaineering in Bulgaria.

 Beside climbers Lakatnik is visited by cavers .The region has many caves, the most popular of them isTumnata Dupka(Dark Hole), with a total length of 1750m.

Lakatnik is a characteristic with soft microclimate.Sunny days prevail but there  are possible sudden rain.The area is karst and after brief rain the rocks (limestone) are drying quickly.
Practice has shown that you could climb all year round.
In the thick Triassic Limestone  the water has shaped a variety of interesting rock formations , with great relief .
There are all sorts of forms: plates, vents, angles, edges, overhangs, ceilings, niches.
Climbing them requires a comprehensive physical culture, sometimes there is  airy climbing, always requires a precise technique. The rock is compact, with very good adhesion.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Heavenly Rocks

This extremely beautiful  alpine massif is located  in the central part of Balkan Mountain , immediately beneath south-eastern slopes of peak Botev . It is constituted of gigantic rock belt with  rounded  and rolled rocks  traversed by herbal balconies . The height of the massif ranges from 100 to 200 meters  in his different parts.
The waterfall  “Pruskaloto” (Sprinkle)  separates Elysian massive on east and west. The west part of it is situated on the left side of the waterfall. It is characteristic with alternating doorway  an one over another located rocks, with many herbal balconies .

The eastern part is more bluff and monolithic and there is explicitly slatey  character.
The rocks of the massive are built by gneisses and granites, the cardinal saxicolous mass – from thick diabases  and Filithes  stratified on calcareous settlingses. Their surface is flat in most cases and therefore is friable. This makes danger from falling rocks and stones. On the other hand, slits are superficially which limits opportunities for safely knocked  alpine pitons.
The first attempt for climbing the walls around  hut “RAI” (Heaven)  are from 1949, when  Tzanko Bangiev, Ivan Staikov and Blagoi Hristov have attempted  for the first time to climb the eastern part of the array.

The southern slopes of Peak Botev are hard inclined, and in some places cutoff from plumb rocks. Immediately under the peak are located the site Djendema (meaning “the hell”) and hut RAI. These are two huge labyrinths by rock-precipices as well with the falling waters of the mountain streams. They bring beautiful waterfalls, being named at this end “sprinkles”. The Djendem is the most un  accessible abyss in the Kalofer mountain. It is enclosed by bluff southwest slope’s  of the Maluk Kupen and the northeast slope’s of Chafardica called  "Chamluka". Between them with deafening noise had dripped  the river of Kalofer Sprinkle, eastern from the peak of Haidut. The homegrown population name this precipice Елидере (50 rivers).



Sunday, April 17, 2011

Vratsa Climbing Region

Тhe region of Vratsa is the largest for rock climbing in Bulgaria. The cliffs are interesting for both sport and traditional climbers. Currently around Vratsa there are 11 crags, with more than 350 climbing routes.
The city of Vratsa is 120 km away from Sofia. It is situated at the base of the western Balkan Mountains (Stara Planina) and the region is known with numerous cliffs, waterfalls and caves. The rocks around have the potential for lot of rock climbing routes. The region is interesting not only for the climbing but also for all kinds of outdoor activities such as speleology, biking, paragliding and hiking.
The western part of Stara Planina has special geological features. The rocks around Vratsa are composed of Jurassic and Cretaceous limestone, whose strata are mostly upright. As a result of the tectonic processes there are typical forms like corners and cracks. Under the influence of the flowing water and the carbon dioxide in the air karst processes are occurring which makes the rock relief interesting and varied. This creates favorable conditions for climbing and depending on your taste and preferences you can choose between climbing overhanging sport routes up to 8c and traditional routes up to 400 m long.

Geological characteristics

Within the limits of Vratza mountain in NW-SE direction is elevated a big convoluted structure, named Zgorigrad anticline. It has a clear north vergation along its entire length. Its width on the meridian of Vratza town is about 7km and its length is about 30 km. The axis of the Zgorigrad anticline is sinuously twisted. NE leg of the anticline in this area is the clearly seen Vratza flexure. The narrow pass Vrattzata is shaped by Leva River in the limestone, forming its NE leg. There it is erected and towards Vratza town it even lies down in NE direction. Immediately North of Zgorigrad village the layers of lower and middle trias period go down under an angle of 60-70 degrees. The depositions from the late trias period and part of the late ura period are already upright and north of there the late ura sediments are with reversed layers and submerge abruptly to SW. In the South peripheries of the town the layers of the early creda are reversed and go down to SW under an angle of 50-55 degrees.

This discloses the character of a relatively rare flexure curve.

The rocks disclosed by the Vrattzata pass are build up in the late ura and early creda period. These are carbonate rocks (limestone), which are divided into two groups - the one of Glojene and the one of Brestnica. The Glojene group is disclosed immediately south of Vrattzata pass. It is represented by thick-layered to monolithic limestone with gray and dark gray color. Occasionally inclusions of biodetrit are seen. In a gradual transition above the Glojene group is situated super-possitionally the Brestnica group. On the rocks of this group in the region of Zgorigrad massif, the Central face and SE of it are lined the climbing routes. It consists of massive gray to light gray limestone with biodetrit and intraclasts. Some parts of the rocks are build of bentous organisms - seaweed, corrals, clams.

Another interesting fact for region of the Central face is that here is the boundary between two systems - Ura and Creda. It is in the upper part of the Brestnica group. And it lies North of "Chaika" restaurant. The uniform litologic composition of the rocks and the prevalence in them of bentous organisms makes difficult the detailed and precise discernment of the cut


An anecdote among the climbers says that if it is not hot here it will definitely rain - there is no somewhere in the middle. And really the rainy days aren't a few. Because of the fact that the whole region is built by limestone there is no water near the rocks except for the source in the Vrattzata pass and the "Small hole". When going for long ascents water should be taken. It is better to wait for a short rain to stop and continue the climb afterwards, since the rock dries up quickly. However, when a more continuous rain occurs it is reasonable to abandon the route.

The best time to climb here is during the spring and autumn months.

Spring. Between April and June the climbing conditions are very good. The temperatures in April are still relatively low (early in the morning they can reach the 0 level) and in June they are quite high (up to 30 degrees Celsius). May is very rainy. The whole period can be described as suitable for climbing.

Summer. It is extremely hot here in the summer (up to 40 degrees) and bearing this temperature is hard. A heat stroke may easily occur. Sometimes it is possible to have temperature for nice climbs. The different exposition of the faces gives the opportunity to choose shady areas

Autumn. This the other most popular climbing season for Vratza along with the spring. After mid October the rainy days are becoming more. However, there always are nice climbing days until mid November.

Winter. In the winter the temperatures are below the 0 and there often is a snow cover. In general winter climbs are rarely made in the area. However, in the winter of 1979/1980 Ciril Doskov and Valeri Peltekov realized in winter conditions (with snow cover) ascents of the routes "The fang" and "The Mirrors" (the second one for 2 days with the use of crampons). Their opinion was that these climbs were harder than the winter ascents of the north faces in Rila and Pirin. Some winters are very mild and there are days when it's warm enough for climbing.


Most of the climbing routes in the entire area go along fissures, opened along the layers surfaces. They are usually open and for belay are needed friends, wallnuts and wider pegs. Another group of routes go on the layer's surfaces themselves using cracks directed across the layers (the routes the "Mirrors", "Jubileen"). Most of them are closed, smooth surfaces, which makes the necessary the use of narrower pegs. Under the action of the erosion some widely opened layer's surfaces are eroded in depth (route "Mihail Hergiani"). The limestone there is softer and breakable.

In general for the climbing area Vrattzata can be said that it's very interesting and is characterized with diverse rock shapes, demanding the use of all types of climbing and diverse gear - wallnuts, friends etc. Wallnuts are used more often in comparison with the friends, because the cracks are rarely with nice, smooth sides. Many times you may come across smooth slabs with small pockets as well as rings. Sometimes they can be used for belay by running a sling through them.

Another characteristic of the massif is that it has much vegetation - trees, bushes and grass. Some of the trees can be used for belay but most of them (as well as the bushes and the weeds) only fill up the forms of the rock, impede climbing and are at least unpleasant. However, there are some exceptions. For example the massif of "Hergiani". Most of the new routes are swiped as well as the massifs that became "Climbing gardens" - "The Small Vrattza", the section next to the road of the Vrattzata pass, "The Small Hole", "The Big Hole".

The rock is generally solid. The rocks that form the ridges are more breakable. Some danger of rock falls exists for the routes, which are near to gullies and to chimneys. (For example the routes "The Chimneys", "The Rainbow").

In the past while climbing in hot weather of dusty routes appeared the so-called "Vratza pimple". It is a rash noticeable mainly on the areas of the body, which tend to have contact with the clothing. However, it doesn't happen very often. As a precaution try to avoid contact with the bushes and the grass.

On these rocks you may see the most dangerous European snake - the ashy snake. It is recognizable with its small horn. If a bite occurs it's necessary to go for medical treatment. Many times you will see lizards on the rock, which are absolutely harmless. Other dwellers in the area are the goats. They can reach exceptionally difficult for approach places. Sometimes they can cause rock falls originating from the sliding stones above the climbing areas.

  • Zgorigrad Wall -
    Height - 200m.
    Routes of category between IV and VII (UIAA).

  • Central Ridge- 
    Height - 45-250m.
    Routes of category between IV and VIII (UIAA).

  • Central Wall -
    Height - 350m.
    Routes of category between IV and IX (UIAA).

  • Bottom Central Massif-
    Height - 80-150m.
    Routes of category between III and IX (UIAA).

  • Massif "Zabat" (The Tooth)-
    Height - 80-120m.
    Routes of category between III and IX (UIAA).

  • East Massif-
    Height - 120-150m.
    Routes of category between IV and VIII (UIAA).

  • Vrattsata-
    Height - 50m.
    Routes of category between III and IX (UIAA).

  • Many new Sport Climbing Areas
                                                                For guides go to the link section:   

Vratsa Rocks are a part of the Stara Planina Mountain. This is the biggest limestone climbing-region in Bulgaria. Because of the easy access and the variety of the routes the area is most visited especially in the spring and autumn. This area is the best-equipped big climbing region in Bulgaria. There you will find long alpine routes (350m) as well as both long and short sport routes. During resent years have been developed new sport climbing areas. Every year in the Vratsa Rocks region take place assembly for cleaning and re-equipping of the old routes as well as lectures on demands of technical equipping and re-equipping. On the other hand the region is interest and picturesque.