Baníkov (2 178 masl) from Žiarska valley

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Area: Western Tatras

Destination of the route: Baníkov (2 178 masl)

Difficulty: a challenging hike with a large elevation gain

Duration: 7.45h

Starting point: Estuary of Žiarská valley

Elevation: 1 298 m

Route: Estuary of Žiarska valley –Žiarska chalet 1 – h –Jalovecké saddle 1.30 h – Baníkov 1 h – Hrubá kopa 1 h –Smutne saddle 1 h – Žiarska chalet 1 h – mouth of Žiarská valley 1 h Total duration: 7.45h

The path is closed from 1 November until 15 June.

The route starts at the mouth of Žiarská valley (880 masl) at the blue marked path (2707), which leads along a short section together with the red and yellow mark. After an easy ascent to Žiarská chalet (1 300 masl), we continue, go past he house of the Mountain Service to the signpost, where we go to the green-marked path (5610). It will bring us to Jalovecký saddle. We cross the Reverential Place of the Victims of Mountain Disasters in the Western Tatras and continue via southern slope to the stream. On its right side we ascend up, under Šarafin waterfall we cross the stream to the left and take a long climb to get to the next gutter. We ascend the serpentine path between the mountain pine trees to the wide Jalovecke saddle (1 858 masl).

From the saddle we continue to the right along a grassy (later rocky) ridge to Príslop (2,142 m). We descend over a steep rocky ridge into a smaller saddle. We go around the part of the “jagged” ridge from the left, then we ascend through the southern rock peak rib to Baníkov (2,178 m), the highest peak on the main ridge of the Western Tatras. We continue east following the red signs (0862). Extremely exposed parts secured by chains await us (they are very dangerous when wet and icy). Through the rock notch we descend around the so-called rock needle into looser terrain. Behind the wide meadow saddle we ascend to the second highest peak of the hike – Hrubá kopu (2,166 m).

After a short rest we descend to the saddle. This is followed by a pass through the exposed Three Peaks (2,136 m), which are provided with artificial aids. A technically demanding transition should be completed only in good weather. From the last of the Three Peaks we descend along the rubble path to Smutný saddle (1,963 m). From the saddle we continue to the right along the blue marked path (2707), which is cut into a very steep slope, to the offshoot of Prostredný grúň. Following the undulating ridge, we continue to a small shallow saddle, from which it is possible to get to the valley through a short serpentine on the left. We will come to a crossroads to Žiarské saddle along a cobbled path leading through a small terrace and then in about 45 minutes we find ourselves at Žiarská chalet. With a comfortable descent down to the bottom of Žiarská valley, we will end the trip at the bus stop just below the mouth of the Žiarská valley.

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