I have climbed Spik (Špik, 2472 m) in the Slovenian Alps by following both of its normal routes, so here is my report about this great mountain.
- Location: Julian Alps, Slovenia.
- Coordinates: 46.44880°N / 13.81430°E.
- Elevation: 8110 ft (2472 m).
- Best period to climb: late summer, autumn.
- Difficulty: walk-up & scramble.
- Elevation difference: 5322 ft (1622 m).
The map below shows the Kacji Graben (Kačji Graben) route from Pisnica river. It goes in the east direction directly to the summit:
How to get there
Below you have an interactive Google map of the area so just zoom in and zoom out to see all the access roads and the details you need. Note that both Italian and Austrian borders are just a few kilometers away.
- The blue marker shows the car parking which I used for the Kacji Graben route.
- The yellow marker shows the actual start of the steep part towards Spik.
- Zoom in to see the position of the summit.
Spik (Špik) belongs to a group of peaks that are a paradise for true alpinists. But there are two normal routes for ordinary mountaineers, and both start from Krnica valley. I have walked them both so I can say a few words about what to expect here.
The mountain looks incredibly sharp and it is impressive when you see it from the Kranjska Gora valley, or from anywhere really. The picture below shows how it looks from the summit of Lipnica. It looks very steep, yet the summit route which goes close to the ridge on the right is just a simple scramble.
In my previous attempt, I followed the route that starts from the Krnica hut (Koča v Krnici) and it goes over the summit of Lipnica which looks like a shoulder of Spik. So I shall not describe here this route, just follow the link and you will find everything you need.
Here, I shall focus on the Kacji Graben route. It starts from the same valley, and both routes converge under the summit of Spik. This is a very direct and steep route. You will come by car, so there are two options.
One is to park just before the bridge over the Pisnica river when you come from Kranjska Gora. From this place, just follow the macadam road that follows the river up the Krnica valley, see the picture above. After about 30 minutes, you will see the sign for Kacji Graben route that goes to the left and up the mountain. This place is shown in the picture below, you cannot miss it.
The other option is to continue in the direction of Vrsic Pass and to park the car below Russian Chapel. You can park by the road and then descend into the Krnica valley. Now follow the same macadam road down the valley in the direction of Kranjska Gora. Soon, you will be at the same place with the sign for Kacji Graben.
The first part of the route is through the woods and you will not have lots of views. Only above the tree line you will be able to enjoy views towards Prisojnik, Razor, Mala Mojstrovka, Mangart, and Jalovec. Just to mention that I climbed them all, so if you have any question please use the comment box below the text.
Once above the tree line, the route turns to the left over a boulder area (see the picture below) and very soon you will see the wide and steep couloir with lots of scree, and the pass between the summit of Lipnica on the right and Spik on the left.
When I was there it was completely covered by snow (see the picture below), so I used my Camp Frost crampons and my Petzl piolet. Without them it would be practically impossible to continue. There is a ridge at the end of the couloir, but you do not climb it. Instead, just turn to the left in the direction of the summit. There are markers so finding the route is easy.
If you go in late summer, you do not need any special equipment for this tour. So I stress again, there are no ferrata sections and you do not need a harness. Having a helmet is always a good idea in the case of people above you. I used my Petzl Elios helmet. But in the early season, you will need crampons and an ice axe. I used them both, they are shown in the picture.
Regarding boots, any will do if the route is not under snow. I used my Salomon Quest Prime GTX boots and this was the first use on a tour, so this was on purpose for testing. I was delighted with their performance.
I had lots of stuff with me so I used my Deuter Futura Vario 50 + 10 pack. The picture below shows its incredibly ventilated back panel and excellent hip belt design. If you go later in the season, you will not carry much stuff so any daypack will do the job.
I had plenty of time, and I was alone on the mountain, so I stayed long on the summit enjoying views. Below you can see what I had in front of me on the west side. I climbed these peaks in my earlier tours.
Water & food
There is no water on the route, so you will have to carry everything. You will know best how much you need for a day tour. If you descend by following the Lipnica route, you can have lunch and everything you need in the Krnica hut.
I climbed Spik after driving all the night, but I did have 2 hours of sleep in the car. So I parked before crossing the Pisnica bridge and started at 7:30 am. Half an hour later I was at the sign showing the Kacji Graben route. I was on the summit at 12:30, so it took me 5 hours to get there.
This was my first climb in the season, and I was happy with this. The picture below shows Skrlatica in the background, I climbed it two days later. I enjoyed watching it while having my morning coffee on the summit.
Have not seen any signs of other people, and did not meet anybody all the day. This was surprising because weather was simply perfect.
So if you plan to climb Spik in late summer, you do not need any special equipment, this is just a walk up and scramble under the summit. The route is well marked, and this is a perfect mountain for a solo climb. Although the summit looks very steep, it was far easier than what I expected.
During this visit I booked my reservation through Booking.com, so if you follow the link you can find really affordable apartments very close to the mountains around.
Let me know if you have questions or comments, there is a comment box below. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter and stay informed. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.