As Gaby is home for the Christmas holidays and wanted a proper mountain hike, we decided to climb Cherni vruh (2290 m), the summit of Vitosha - a fairly easy hike in the summer, but quite a challenge in winter. The forecast for Christmas days was sunny and fair weather just about zero C, so off we went early in the morning. Little did we know what a challenge the peak would be that day!
It was cloudy with some sunshine in the lower parts of the mountain, but as we approached the ascent, the wind grew stronger and the peaks were clouded.
:At the foot of the first climb. Here I put the camera back in the backpack and didn't take it out until the peak, as the visibility was non existent.
:Luckily, the trail was well trodden and there were some fellow crazy hikers up and down the peak. We followed the winter marking poles and this time I truly appreciated their importance under thick fog and hurricane wind conditions.
:On the way back. Here we took the wrong track of winter poles, as if 57 km/h winds and zero visibility were not challenging enough. We must have been only meters from the right markings, but we couldn't see a thing. We followed for some time in the steps of whoever had passed through this track before us, checking with our GPS and in the end decided to abandon the track and traverse directly to the right trail. A bit risky in the waist deep snow, but it was only about 30-50 meters across and we were back on track, so it was worth it.
:As soon as we were down the peak back to the plateau, the fog and the mercilessly pushing us winds were behind us, it was sunny, scenic and fairly quiet.