Krassy and Alex (from Light and Cult Project) call me with interesting offer for 24 hours. They have idea to go to the Skaklya waterfall to shot the sunrise and the desire to sleep in a snow cave on Mount Vitosha. I accept ideas like that without much thinking. Only inconvenience have about night, because my sleeping bag has created problems even in early fall. For that in morning, at 5:30 I put climbing belt, few rings carabiners on bottom of backpack and fill to top with my two summer sleeping bags and fleece blanket. We leave Sofia in 6:00 and after hour already climb steep road to Zasele village. Just in time to see sunrise.
Top of waterfall has freeze. When I step on edge of 100 meters rock cliff, I can see through ice bottom of precipice. For regret icicles hid water.
In Iskar Gorge, Krassy have idea to go also to Cherepish, but time progressed and we go back to Sofia for second part of adventure. Took a an avalanche probe and shovel from Krassy friend and since we were close Alpi shop buy second shovel and went to Aleko ski resort. Little after 15:00 go up on Green track to Black peak. Weather has nice. But last night has fall avalance in area, with two victims and we try to not go outside beaten by snowcat track. Even on short slopes the snow was slumped.
When went out on high plateau clouds enveloped us. Wind become stronger and fog allowed to see one of two pickets from winter markings. The plan has to spend a night on Black peak, but checking with avalanche probe show snow 40-70 sm deep. We needed a snowdrift, as we were 4 people and we needed volume even make two double sockets.
On 3th try somewhere between Little and Big Rezan peaks we find our snowdrift. Around 3-4 meters in diameter and 1-1,20 m. deep. We start with Alex to dig between two rocks on lee, but soon reach pinescrub which push as digging up and sidewards. Here we can dig deep, but narrow cave only for recline.
Until Alex fight a scrubs, I start second hole with idea that we will make two caves for two persons each. But my work goes very well and I can dig in all directions, including up. Alex left his spot I come to dig together. Soon Krassy and Miroslav also some. We have meter and half in deep and start extend and dig in the tunnel two in same time. From my past experience with snow caves, I give some directs, especially for roof, but we have enough snow and try to make big to sleep four, and Miro constantly increasing the height to be able to sit normally. After two hours digging we have cave 2,20-2,50m in diameter and 60-80 cm high. Only comment from Krassy go out to make photos that see light through snow stop spectacular construction.
Outside wind become stronger. Thermometer in one of backpacks left near enter show -10 (forecast for the night on peak has for -25), but when put backpack inside quickly go up to -1. We start gas stove, scrape some snow from wall to fill a pot, light two candles for light, cosy, and warm and took out a small bottle of wine. We have ready for the night. And to not worry friends in city, we make a selfie, put in Facebook and send coordinates.
Soon water in pot boil, and prepare a chicken soup. To be more nutritious, we added a tin of cooked beef. Hot liquid stir our blood, and bacon with wine provide more than body to work at night. When it was time to sleep, I slid into two bags and honestly all night I was warm enough.
On morning we wake up in 7:00 and without breakfast go down to Aleko and car. Wind still strong and cold, and my gaiters and gloves was wet and freeze witch has not good for my fingers. When go to lower plateau, sun start penetrate clouds and feel much “warmer”.
After we left backpacks in car we go to Mountain rescue base in Aleko to tell people there, that everything is OK. Previous evening on way up, we meet rescuers and tell him what we plan. Very satisfied from last 24 hours we go down to Sofia and Dragalevtzi for hot patties…
Photos here are:
with bad quality – my,
from GoPro – from Alex,
and good ones from Krassy, which Nikon only continue work in this cold. You may read Krassy story for this here – http://blog.krasimirandonov.com/2016/01/blog-post.html