Start of (non-snow) hiking season 
Friday, May 27, 2016, 10:00 am
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After a strange winter without much snow, we had a spring with too much snow and too much rain. Hence the hiking season started late, but with a vengeance! Having already climbed Zagradac two years ago, we thought we would set the ball rolling by climbing Lastva, a mountain almost immediately next to it, with a view to checking out some of the other peaks in the vicinity. My veteran VW Golf heroically made it as far as Lake Kapetanovo and we walked the rest of the way. It was quite demanding in areas because we took a steep path to the top, but the walk down was very leisurely. The view from the top was quite breathtaking because there were almost sheer cliffs that looked over a stony, bowl-like depression surrounded by a ring of mountains, Kapa Moracka, with two ridges perpendicular (Štit and Lola). We could also hear running water from a waterfall, but could not see it. Cue another expedition...
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Stozina / Unsuccessful ascent of Sljeme 
Saturday, March 12, 2016, 7:00 pm
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This was an aborted attempt to climb Šljeme a few days after a more than a foot of snow had fallen. The road from Virak to Trsa was completely snowed under, so we parked by the main road, opposite the first turn-off to Trsa (by the road that leads down to Pošćensko Lake). This meant an extra kilometre above what we had walked along the road on 27 Feb, but also there was much more snow, so we had to snowshoe the whole time. We left the road just before Stožina and skirted around the depression next to it (on the opposite side from the road) amid worsening conditions due to low cloud. At times visibility was down to 100 metres, plus the uniform white of the snow made it very hard to judge distance and surface contours. In places we were creeping along using our walking poles to feel the surface a metre in front of us, afraid that there would be a sharp fall. A few times we fell over due to not seeing the edge of a snowdrift. The decision was made to not climb Šljeme but to explore nearer to the road, and all of a sudden there appeared a spot of blue sky and the sun illuminated one of the peaks of Sedlo.

This lasted roughly five minutes before the cloud swallowed up the surrounding peaks. Our passage to the climbable south face of Stožina took us along the side of a very steep slope, which was very tricky with either snowshoes or crampons. We had lunch sheltering under an overhang of rock, hemmed in by icicles which would periodically detach themselves and shatter by our feet. Once we passed this part, the ascent to the top of Stožina was a relatively simple affair, but as last time, visibility was poor and the wind was persistently cold. The return to the car seemed to go on for ever, but although we had failed in our initial goal, we gathered enough information and experience to plan a subsequent assault on Šljeme, when hopefully the sun will shine a bit more.
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Mt. Stožina in the snow (1,905 m) 
Saturday, February 27, 2016, 9:50 pm
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The winter has been very mild even in Žabljak, such that the first kilometre of the ring road around Durmitor from the turn-off from the main road to Sedlo was open to cars. The walk from Pošćenski kraj to Sedlo is not very long, so the decision was made to try to climb Stožina, a dramatic-looking hill right next to the road that I had climbed during the late spring of 2015. Once off the road, the snow was quite deep in parts where it had drifted, but still rocks protruded in places. The climb was too steep for snowshoes, but crampons were perfect for the consistency of snow. Much of the hill is grassy terrain, so there was good grip almost all the way up. There was one tricky part two thirds of the way up, where it was very steep and there were many rocks, so in places the crampons were not helpful, in others the snow was very deep in between rocks and we were up past our knees in snow drifts. It took just over an hour to climb, but at the top the wind was bitter, snow started to fall and cloud began to envelop the top of the hill, obscuring what had been a beautiful view over Mt Šljeme. The summit is at 1,905 m, a climb from the road of about 300 m. The descent was very easy and quick, around 20 minutes, there was just that one tricky part that I mentioned on the way up, where we had to scramble backwards.

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Borovnik hike (1,930m) 
Friday, January 29, 2016, 7:00 pm
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The road from Nikšić to Bare Bojovića, the area in front of Mts. Žurim, is notoriously blocked by snowdrifts until April most years. However, one can often get as far as the start of the Konjsko plateau (which is also accessible by foot from Vučje ski centre). As the winter had been very mild, we managed to get to this point (although we spent about an hour digging the jeep out of snow) and set off on snowshoes for Mt. Borovnik. The snow was very deep and even with snowshoes it was quite tough going, especially on the steeper sections. We ultimately didn’t have enough time to reach the main peak (because of getting the car stuck in snow) and were able to descend without snowshoes, by clambering over exposed rock and wading through the areas of snow where we had climbed up.

The vista from the top was beautiful, as it contained the plateau that we had crossed, the Krnovo plain across which we had views towards Mt. Vojnik, with the peaks of Durmitor glistening in the distance. The view towards Žurim was obscured by the unconquered peak of Borovnik, which gives us something to look forward to when we hike it again, perhaps this time from Vučje. The hike was not physically so difficult, but because of the possibility of falling through the snow into holes in the rock, we had to be very careful.

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Šljeme (East summit) 2,445 m - last hike before winter 
Friday, November 6, 2015, 7:00 pm
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The weather afforded us one last sunny weekend before the snow was due to hit Žabljak, although it was blustery and cold. Parking at the ski centre at Savin kuk, we took a gently rising path around the foothills westwards through woodland, past Šupljika in the direction of the road to Sedlo. Then we found a protected steep grassy slope going up to the ridge Zupci.

This ridge gradually rose all the way to Šljeme. We calculated that we would not have enough time to reach the highest peak, so settled for the eastern summit, which affords a view towards Međed northwards and to Bobotov kuk north-eastwards.

It was bitingly cold with a stiff breeze here, so after a brief stay at the summit, we headed back towards Čista strana and then back to the ski centre. This was a physically challenging climb, but very satisfying because of the excellent views over most of the main peaks and features of Durmitor. At 2,445 m the eastern summit is still one of the highest peaks, with the main peak being 10 metres higher. However, we returned to the car just as the sun was setting, around 4.30pm, vindicating our decision not to press on for the higher summit. The car park is located at 1,533 m, making this hike a good work-out for the calves and knees.

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