Mt. Swinica - Tatras (Poland), July 2001
Mt. Swinica as seen from the major ridge dividing Poland & Czechoslovakia.

Agata and I travelled to the south of Poland after a week or so up north visiting family in Warsaw and Gdansk. We set out with plans to do some hiking in the High Tatras. We didn't know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised. Mt. Swinica is possibly the third highest peak in the High Tatras and sits on the border between Poland and Czechoslovakia. (Photos: AG, SV)

Click thumbnails below to enlarge...
Cable car
A ride in an old Polish cable car took us to the ridge top. We had been informed by various individuals in the nearby town of Zakopane, where we were staying, that without reservations we had better be at the cablecar station before 7am, otherwise we'd risk hours in line or no ride at all. So without reservations we arrived at the station before 7 and got our tickets within waiting.
Hiking, early on
The weather was miserable and cold up on top of the ridge. Agata and I hung out and had breakfast in the cafe and gave the weather some time to improve. Eventually, the weather started clearing and we were on our way. First stop: Mount Swinica.
High alpine trail
We hiked an obvious trail, following a ridge that defines the border between Poland and Czechoslovakia.
View down from ridge crest
Looking back down at scenic alpine lakes on the Polish side of the ridge.
Scambling below summit
Agata pulls herself up the rock and through the cloud, just below the summit of Swinica.
Agata on summit
Agata claims the summit.
Fixed chains on descent
We decided to continue following the ridge line and lowered ourselves using fixed chains.
More chains
Fixed chains were everywhere.
Descending slabby gully
Agata lowers herself down the rocks.
Nice view
We followed the ridge for a while before descending into the basin below us. We hiked down to a stream and stopped for lunch. Not wanting to retrace our steps, we then gained the opposing ridge in order to loop back to our starting point.
Agata in meadow
Agata amongst the flowers by a stream.
Mount Rysy
Mount Rysy; The highest peak in Poland and in the High Tatras.
Returning via Czechoslovakia
The return portion of our loop covered trails that passed through Czechoslovakia.
Big valley views
We had more sweeping valley views, this time on the other side of the border. Upon arriving back at the cable car station, Agata and I managed to secure an outside table at the now very busy mountaintop cafe and downed several glasses of Zywiets in the afternoon sun. Not wanting to deal with the madness of waiting for a ride down in the overloaded cable car, we instead hiked down. Worn out and tired, we barely woke up that following morning to catch the train back to Warsaw.
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