National Park Paklenica, Part I (Climbing Chronicles #3)
Dear fellow climbers and Steemians,
I love the outdoors and climbing in particular. I want to share this passion with you and maybe I’m able to lure you in, who knows? Before we start with the third story of the Climbing Chronicles, let me tell you a little more about the concept.
First and foremost the Climbing Chronicles will be stories telling you about climbing experiences that I had. But they won’t stop there because there is more to it, the climbing lifestyle, the beautiful nature, and the people you meet.
This time I want to show you the climbing at National Park Paklenica, what you can do on your rest days and how beautiful it is actually getting there.
Driving from Germany to Croatia is about a twelve-hour drive and quite exhausting in one go. Therefore we decided to take a break in Austria, find a nice place for the night and sleep there.
As you can see, the decision was a good one. We stopped at "Gaishorn am See", a beautiful little village just beside a lake. At the lake, there is a little camping ground with an honesty box. In the morning we took the possibility to have a breakfast at the lake. That's the start of a holiday you wish. Well rested we and relaxed we drove the rest of the way to Croatia.
First days climbing
As we drove down with friends that wanted to go kite surfing, we stayed in Nin, a perfect kite spot, for the first week. I will tell you a little bit more about Nin later, but first let's check out the climbing in National Park Paklenica.
National Park Paklenica is situated 30 kilometers north of Zadar and begins one-kilometer land inwards from the Adria behind Starigrad. As it's a National Park you pay an entrance fee which is used to keep up the walkways, pay the park employees and keep the climbing routes in good conditions.
Above you see the typical landscape of the cost line of Dalmatia, the Karst. This limestone from the Cretaceous age forms a rugged landscape and makes up for some amazing featured climbing.
A lot of routes were developed in the eighties, with one of the most active figures beeing Boris Cujic. He is also the one responsible for the really good climbing guide which comprehends not only the famous multi-pitch and sport climbing routes but features also the boulders and technical routes available in Paklenica.
As our home area for climbing has porphyry stone the climbing is mostly vertical on small edges and crimps. Therefore the first days of climbing were dedicated to getting used to the pockets, the sharp stone, and the slab climbing.
One oddity about climbing in National Park Paklenica is due to it being a canyon that is as narrow as 50 meters. Therefore when you climb or belay certain routes you stand on the walkway for all tourists and there are a lot! So you can expect to get some weird, interest and scared looks! Questions like 'Is this dangerous?' are guaranteed. And you can be sure to be on several hundred holiday pictures!
Although some of the routes are more than 30 years old the grip is perfect and it's a lot of fun to climb them. As I said above the rock is sharp, extremely sharp! So you have to be careful and watch your foot placements such that you don't slip!
Another distinct feature of Paklenica is, that you see the walls and think 'It must be impossible to climb this' and then you try and find huge pockets (washed into the stone by the rain) that you cannot see from the ground which make up for perfect holds.
Nin and kite surfing
After a long day of climbing, we would come back to Nin in the evenings to meet our friends that were there for kite surfing. If there are good conditions in Nin you might see over twenty kites out on the water, rasing along and jumping around.
The best ones were jumping as high as six to seven meters. It is really impressive to watch!
The historical city of Nin is a beautiful village built on an artificial island (as if there are not enough islands in the Adria already ;-)) that is connected by two bridges with the mainland. Just two weeks before we came to Croatia there were some heavy rainfalls flooding the area. The water coming from the mainland was stopped at the historical brides of Nin and the bridges weren't able to resist and broke down.
Luckily nobody got hurt and nothing else damaged by the water. I hope that they are able to rebuild the bridges soon! Knowing nobody got hurt we enjoyed our evenings in Nin. This included strolling along the beach, getting good food (mainly Pizza, amazing sea food) and hanging out at the harbor.
Before this post gets too long, I leave it here for today. In the second part, we will see multi-pitch climbing and some rest day action in Zadar. Thank you for reading this post!
Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you can spend and enjoy this special time of the year with your loved ones!