High Tatras, two days in the late October.
In late October 2019 one of my long time dreams came true. Together with my friends, we climbed the highest peak in the Polish part of the High Tatras mountains - Rysy. At 2499 meters above the sea level, it is not the highest mountain in Tatras, but the highest in Poland, as the range is divided by the Polish - Slovakian border, with several higher mountains on the Slovakian side.
I decided that on this special occasion I would also do another thing that I had been thinking about for a long time - shoot large format, 4x5 film, in the mountains. It was a great opportunity to utilize my Wanderlust Cameras Travelwide 90 - a simple, light, compact (for large format) travel camera, that was small enough to fit in my backpack together with some clothes, food and gear required for the night at the mountain shelter and the hike. Also, carrying a tripod was not an option and the Travewide could be shot handheld, another great advantage, not usual with large format cameras. I also took my compact 35mm Fuji Tiara Zoom DL, my standard choice for hiking and cycling.
We got really lucky with the ever changing and unstable autumn weather in high mountains, as you can see on the selection of photos from both 35mm and 4x5 film below. Enjoy!
There are two ways to reach the peak of Rysy: from the Polish side and from the Slovakian side. We decided to choose the less challenging trail from Slovakia. That doesn't mean it is less beautiful.
After a few hours of gaining altitude, we reached the spectacular lakes: Žabie plesá.
Over the lakes the trail gets steeper and leads to the famous mountain shelter Chata pod Rysmi. The view back to the lakes is really amazing, note my friends in the corner of the frame.
Located 2250 meters above sea level, the aforementioned mountain shelter below Rysy is a really amazing place. There is no electricity available for the guests, a little power used by the staff is supplied by solar panels, malted snow is the only source of water. There is no possibility to reach this place with any kind of vehicle, and all supplies, including drinking water, have to be carried up there on foot.
After reaching the shelter we left some of our stuff there, as we would return to stay overnight after summiting. After some rest we went on to the peak, and this was the view over the shoulder to the shelter from more or less half way to the summit:
At this altitude Tatras are bare rocky giants covered in fast m
From the summit we could have a look at Poland :)
And ofcourse the spectacular mountains around us.
On the way back to the shelter...
Chata pod Rysmi. our home for that one night:
We witnessed a beautiful nightfall after the satisfying day.
We got up around 6 AM the next morning, and after the breakfast it was time to descend back to civilization. The lakes on that morning looked very different, with perfectly smooth surface reflecting the surrounding landscape like a mirror. Surreal!
Descending into the valleys.
The last look back just before reaching the parking lot and driving away. We were so lucky to have this wonderful autumn weather!
We spent the second night of our trip in a cabin in Gorce Mountains. The next day we woke up to this incredible vista: High Tatras floating over the sea of morning fog.
Let me finnish with my personal fav of the 4x5 shots from the adventure: