My wife and I have always wanted to visit the Carpathian Mountains, especially the area around Brasov, called the Bucegi Mountain Range. The Bucegi Mountains are located to the south of Brasov in the Southern Carpathians and rise to an altitude of 2,544m at their highest peak, Omul. There are a couple of small ski resorts in the area, which are miniscule by Alpine standards, but the majority of the area is preserved as a National Park. We didn´t know a lot about these mountains, only that they are beautiful and secluded. We thought the place sounded perfect for a five day splitboard adventure.
We were not at all familiar with this mountain chain, so we hired Iulian Cozma, a local backcountry guide, to guide us during our visit. Iulian has been working as a professional mountain guide in this area for many years and managed to plan an awesome trip for us.
At the beginning of our adventure, we stayed three nights at a mountain rescue hut at a lovely valley in the middle of the mountains. Like everywhere in Europe at the beginning of January, the snow conditions were not very good, there was just too little snow for this time of the season. For two days we had beautiful weather, no clouds, almost no wind and Iulian was able to hunt down some nice lines. The people at the hut were welcoming and friendly and the food was really tasty: Most importantly the Sliwowitz, a plum brandy typical of this part of Europe, was served in huge glasses, so the days passed quickly.
On the third day, Iulian had planned to cross a ridge into the next valley, but the weather wasn’t playing ball and we had to navigate a massive snow storm. The temperature dropped to a bone-chilling -25° and we could barely reach the ridge line. Despite the difficulty and physical exertion, is was a great experience… I thank God we had Iulian with us, who knew the way even with limited visibility.
Finally, we made it! And to our surprise the storm had dumped a lot of snow. We spent the next day surfing through the steep gardens of remote Transylvanian villages. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
On balance, it was a fantastic trip in a land with incredibly friendly people, rich culture, great food and awesome mountains.
Photos by Michi and Bianca Hanauer and Iulian Cozma.