Bobotov Kuk

  • Bobotov Kuk
  • 2523 m
  • Primary factor 1477 m
  • Montenegro
  • Location: North 43.12811, East 019.03478 (GPS on the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2+ (mostly class 1)
  • Climbed July 11. 2013


How to get there:
This mountain is located in the northern part of Montenegro. The local town is Zabljak. Start out from the main road intersection in "downtown" Zabljak. Drive in the dierection of Niksic, after 0.6 kilometer, you pass a small plaza (where the local bus stops / turns etc.) Continue to kilometer 7.3, turn right (onto a small road) here. This road has signs on the main Hwy. saying Trsa and Virak. (Note: the same signs appear 2.3 kilometer earlier, however that route is slightly more cumbersome.) If you arrive directly from Niksic, then the same two signs (Trsa and Virak) will be the correct place to turn left.
Drive uphill, then turn left. After only a very short distance you are in a new intersection. The sign pointing right says Zabljak. Ignore this, turn left and drive 6.5 kilometer from this point. You will then be arriving in Sedlo pass, parking on your right hand side. (There is a sign at the pass saying "Dobri Do".) This location is N43.09848, E019.05097, elevation 1907 meter.
Route description:
Walk up the first few meter from the parking at the pass and immediately locate the trail that heads towards the big mountain a bit further away. The trail traverses under the cliff and then ascends a step (left of a gully) followed by a flat, but very exposed section. Next, the trail ascends onto more gentle ground and reaches the local pass that is visible from the trailhead.
The route continues (slightly downhill) in a nice alpine valley in order to bypass the very rugged line of peaks in front. Finally, a new, small ascent will bring you to a ridge from where Bobotov Kuk may be viewed for the first time. Descend to the small lake Zeleni Vir (2030m), the start the 500 meter (vertical) ascent to Bobotov Kuk. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. It will first reach a saddle on the right hand side (east side) of the summit block. Next, the route crosses in front of the summit block to reach a higher shoulder on its left (west) side. When I was here (July 11th. 2013), a steepish snow field had to be crossed or bypassed below. This obstacle is likely not present later in the season. From this col, the route now traverses into the back side (as viewed when approaching) of the summit section. After gaining more elevation, there is a traverse going right that will get you to an agreeable final ridge to the summit. The most exposed/narrow/steepish section of the final climb earns a grade of (YDS) class 2+. (That is, feels like walking, but most people would like to touch the rock on the inside.)
I had breakfast with Heidi at the Soa hotel, then drove to Sedla pass, parked and prepared for a hike. Fortunately, the weather looked rather fine, despite a pretty negative forecast.
I got going around 0800 and did notice significant exposure already on the first little traverse to get me up into the saddle that can be seen from the trailhead.
Higher up, the scenery si really good and the rugged peaks that seem to pop up everywhere adds a distinct flavor to the experience. An interesting area for the study of geologi, how were these formations shaped? Gradually, also Bobtov came into view, its top hitting the clouds!
Bobotov is part of a horseshoe rugged ridge forming a nice bowl inside. I caught up with a German couple before the downhill section to lake Zeleni Vir. Immediately after starting the ascent, I also passed 3 locals. The ascent to the east col was easy, while I wondered how the last part would go as the summit area looked steep all around. The route traversed below the steep part, however a pretty good sized snow section blocked the trail. I decided to leave the trail and scramble around this snow on its lower side. While doing this a few climbers appeared above and they carefully traversed high on the snow. Appearently, a reasonable crossing existed.
Reaching the west shoulder, the route became clear, the trail traversed into the north side that had been out of sight. After gaining elevation, a traverse back west made the final, but short and easy west ridge. The route turned out to be surprisingly easy, however, I will give it a (YDS) class 2+ as there are a couple of short passages/moves where most people will use their hands in a somewhat sustained mode.
I was on the summit at 1000 sharp, the weather was still very good and I decided to spend at least half an hour up here. The views where generally good, several deep valleys with lakes. I could see parts of Zabljak and a small piece of the Black lake. This mountain area is not large, but very impressive with sharp ridges and many very rugged peaks. I signed the peak register and noted that the party I had seen descending were Hungarian. As I was about to leave, the German couple arrived, we spoke another 10 minutes before I said goodbye and started by return at 1040. There were good steps across the snow and it turned out that half the crossing could be done on easy rock, well protected on the upper side of the snow - the sort of passage that often melts out first at the upper edge between steep rock and snow.
The 3 locals had decided to turn when faced with this snow passage. On my return hike I met a few more groups, obviously Bobotov Kuk is a popular mountain. I was back at my car at 1220.
Returning to Zabljak, I went for a walk to the popular Black lake that had been barely visible from the summit. At the entrance station, the national park had posted a warning saying that due to more snow than normal, any party going hiking needed to bring ice axe, crampons and a rope. Moreover, it was impossible to climb Bobotov Kuk... I guess an over cautious warning.
Here is a brief summary of the peaks climbed on this trip.