Walking the Făgăraș Ridge, Romania

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Snow fields that give way, damp scrambling conditions, rusty chain work, unexpected rockfalls, vast and terrifying sheepdogs, standing in the eye of a thunderstorm, and very, very long days on your feet… this is what you take on when hiking the Făgăraș Mountains, the central ridge of mountains that cut east-west across the centre of Romania, and  the highest peaks of the Southern Carpathians. Walking and climbing this ridge is the most challenging hiking I’ve ever done to date. There are so many pictures, I’ll leave the planning and events details of this trip for another post…

Some highlights from the trip:

– Virtually uninterrupted views from the top of Romania’s highest peak: Moldevanu

– The coldest night indoors I’ve ever spent, shivering inside Podragu cabana 

– Singing and talking Marxist politics to ward off impending bear attacks

– Taking on (and completing!) the chained descent of the Strunga Dracului – the Devil’s Stair (or “crack” as it’s sometimes known), despite a recent rockfall that had taken out big sections of the chain

– Scoffing pig fat and onions at the top of the Transfagarasan Highway, accompanied by a cluster of orthodox monks purchasing bells

– Stumbling on a film festival at the end of 13 hours of walking which had completely transformed the tiny village of Victoria into an outpost of Bucharest’s most creative industries. Consequently we were swept away by friendly young Romanian film makers who led us to free beds, vast plates of cheap food and a stunning outdoor pool to rest our sore limbs

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