A day for the mountains: rock pleasures in an idyllic village below Triglav
Photo: Peter Podobnik
Taking advantage of the day for the mountains is never a bad decision. This time Rifter and I were looking for rock pleasures, rocky steps and vertical grips, and in Mojstrana, an idyllic village below Triglav, we got acquainted with climbing, ferratarism, which was presented in detail by a local, experienced, versatile alpinist, admirable interlocutor, mountain guide to many talents – Grega Kofler.
Grega Kofler and his wife are the driving force behind Kofler Sport, professor of physical education, mountain guide with an international license IFMGA, ski teacher III, alpinist, mountaineering instructor, cross-country ski instructor, mountain rescuer … Grega blends in perfectly with the masterful environment, as is a host. He knows all the hidden corners around him that he wants to share with you. The knowledge gained over the years, experience and youthful enthusiasm led him to the realization of his youthful desires; to pass on the knowledge and beauty of the surroundings to others. He says the impossible is always possible.
With the mountaineer, full of vigor and energy, an athlete in the true sense of the word, we talked about his love for the mountains, the importance of appropriate equipment and willingness to visit the peaks, the “positive” uncertainty in the rocks that pulls the climber to the top, the positive and those slightly less good experiences from mountaineering, about how to go on a beginner hunt for grips, what he likes most about climbing rock routes, about the “virginity” of rocks, about the feelings when you “lean on the fog” and about the development of climbing in our country, and also about how mountaineering is reflected in his perception of the world.
Call of the mountains
Grega admits that climbing is his way of life these days. But when did he first encounter climbing, who inspired him to do so, when did he feel the desire to become an alpinist, and who actually instilled in him a love for the mountains?
“You can’t do without it, I was just brought up that way. You’re in love with the mountains and they call you all the time, and the challenges are different, from mountaineering climbs, ferrata, to mountain guide adventures and so on. It was the family that brought me here. until I became an alpinist, a mountain guide, my father, my role model from an early age, and my late uncle, a member of the most fascinating mountaineering team, the so-called “Mojstrana Squirrels”, played a major role here. my father climbed a lot, the level progressed.The love for the mountains remained.Once you have it in your blood, you can’t live without it.I started climbing at the age of six, then my father got me excited about mountaineering, I climbed the first mountaineering route with 12 years old, and at the age of 15 my father and I went on a mountaineering expedition to Mont Blanc, where we took a normal approach, “says an interesting interlocutor.
On the ferrata to Mojstrana!
Above the charming village of Mojstrana in the walls of Grančišče, there are two attractive protected paths – ferratas, which allow you new experiences in the rock kingdom. You can choose between two different ferratas, of different complexity. Among them is a trail that is also suitable for beginners in the rock world!
Both ferratas will take you to the top of Grančišče, where you will have a beautiful view of the nearby Julian Alps and Karavanke! The “Mojstranska squirrels” trail is dedicated to the Mojstrana squirrels, who set new milestones in Slovenian mountaineering in the 1960s and 1970s, and gave themselves the nickname Mojstrana squirrels.
Numerous climbing feats
Climbing is for him one of the most perfect movements he knows. Which mountain vicissitudes stuck in his memory the most and where did he like to climb?
“I consider it one of my biggest climbing adventures so far, when I recently climbed the North Triglav wall with my eldest son Tomaž (11 years old) and middle son Miha (9 years old). We climbed a short German route, and then we We climbed to the top of Triglav along a protected path, climbed the western wall and the northern ridge, we climbed for almost 11 hours and climbed about 1300 meters in altitude. I did not climb freely, but in a classic, technical way, and I am also proud that in 2004 we organized an expedition to Peru with the mountaineering section Mojstrana, and climbed all the desired routes and returned home healthy. two years later he and his wife repeated the Scandinavian route in the northern wall of Ranrapalce (6162 m) and my wife Anita and I climbed the Ferrari route in the southwest wall of Alpamaya (5947 m) in 2006. In Slovenia otherwise I prefer to climb in the North Triglav wall, which is the largest, widest, most powerful, and there is no big crowd there either. However, if I am also attracted by non-classical directions, I also go to other, less populated walls. Abroad is the mecca of mountaineering Chamonix, which offers excellent combined routes and generally great climbing terrain. My short-term goal is to climb Čop’s Pillar with my wife on my 40th birthday this year, and again I am tempted by an expedition to Peru, which is really close to my heart, “he explains.
Uncertainty and fear
When it comes to “hunting” for rock grips, he is most attracted by uncertainty and unpredictability. “This is the most interesting thing for me. Even if you know the direction, even if you studied it through a description, a sketch, the directions can still be 1000 meters long. At this kilometer, I caricature, you can’t predict what you will take, where Insecurity is a challenge that you try to solve and overcome. I don’t usually feel fear, but the emotion is a good inhibitor of not going too far. Of course, I often find myself in a situation where I have to overcome a certain fear. when I can’t retreat anywhere, but move to a safe wall to get to a safe wall.With experience and knowledge, fear can be overcome.But fear must never grow into the pursuit of happiness.Maybe happiness was in your favor one day, next time you There won’t be too much of a challenge on the scale, “he advises.
As he says, an accident in the climbing area has not happened to him yet, but as a negative experience in mountaineering, he “considers” a bad decision from a few years ago, when he and his friends went on a ski tour. “An avalanche started on us, which also caught a friend I love very much. Fortunately, we reacted quickly and prudently with the other colleagues and dug it out from under the avalanche in two minutes. Fortunately, everything went well,” he recalls.
Life with the mountains
Grega Kofler likes to climb alone, with his wife and friends, and at the moment he is most happy to be able to go to the mountains with his youngster. For the Kofler family, mountaineering is reflected in their perception of the world in one way or another. “Sons are still too small for any major feats. We live with mountains, hills, mountaineering, sports in general. Sons do not train climbing, but hockey and judo. Climbing activity is included completely spontaneously,” he says.
He also follows the development of climbing in Slovenia with a smile on his face. I have a number of natural climbing areas in Slovenia. If we compare ourselves abroad, what are our climbing areas like, what do they offer? How does the interlocutor assess the popularity of climbing in our country?
“Development has gone on, especially if we compare today’s period and that of 15 years ago. The popularity and crowds are at a much higher level. The courses have certainly done their thing, both in sport climbing and in mountaineering. We have a lot of young people pushing the boundaries in “Top mountaineering, as well as in the field of sport climbing. A lot of work is also being done on arranging and maintaining climbing areas,” he says. He adds that despite the fact that climbing has become so widespread, it has not lost that proverbial romance.
Feeling the “virgin” rock has a unique charm in climbers, is entering the untouched world an act that for many is the culmination of the climbing experience? What does Grega Kofler think about this?
“Virgin Rock is certainly something special (laughs, op. Cit.). The fact that no one has been there before, that you’re there for the first time, is something special. It’s true that something like this didn’t work out for me in the Himalayas, but that’s why I in our mountains, but in Croatia, where I have already drawn five championship routes, “he explains.
Climbing is one of the sports that we usually do not do alone and overnight. So how? How to go on a beginner hunt for grips? “My advice to anyone who would like to do climbing is to first attend an introductory course, where they get basic information on how the climbing itself will take place, as well as information on technique and equipment. he starts climbing in the mountains at home and abroad, ”he replies.
There are still too many accidents in the mountain world
What is the climbing culture of Slovenian climbers like? Do we know how to assess our abilities well enough and tackle our knowledge in appropriate directions? The experience is good. This is, after all, also thanks to good mountaineering sections, which are supported by knowledge. I have had several “problems” in other areas, where it is often possible to meet alpinists with ignorance, inappropriate equipment and poor preparation for tours. so they certainly come to the fore in terms of mountain rescue, you can evaluate the guest well in mountain guidance and, based on how active he is, judge where he will walk or climb.Feratism has become extremely popular. awareness of the correct use of equipment, how to move properly, how to clamp carabiners, rescue procedures.Heets prepare a person to move safely, even though there is no 100% safety.Many, there are still too many accidents due to ignorance. The number of visitors to the mountains is increasing, both at home and abroad, as a result of which the statistics on the number of accidents is higher. moderately prepared in terms of preparation for the tour, “says Grega Kofler, who has been working as a mountain rescuer since 1999.
“That year, my father convinced me to join the mountain rescuers in Mojstrana. Then the story continued. Among other things, I became a mountain rescuer who could operate on a steel helicopter. Due to the nature of my work, I eventually gave up this part. and devoted himself to classical rescue, ”he says.
Mountain guide tourism is growing
Nowadays, Grega Kofler passes on knowledge to others, but leaves no doubt as to from whom he learned the most. “Certainly from my father and uncle,” he shoots out of a cannon.
Grega Kofler and his wife initially opened Kofler Sport for children’s programs, but later saw an opportunity in mountain tourism. “In 2012 I applied for training as a mountain guide, in 2016 I became an intern, and I have been a guide with an international license since 2019. Otherwise, we offer mountain guide services – from guiding in the North Triglav wall, classic approaches to Triglav, ridge management, Ski touring and other things that belong to mountain leadership. Mountain guide has moved to a higher level in the last three years. With proper marketing, it is possible to sell products and make a living from it. However, the activity must be diversified. moved the equipment forward, people’s thinking has changed over time, that they are not omnipotent, that they need professional guidance to guide certain tours, that they are safe, ”he thinks, and finally advises all mountaineers on safe mountain visits: It is important to check the weather, to adapt the tour to the situation, to take with us technical equipment, helmet, self-protection kit, belt and to be properly shod and dressed. Before the tour, we think about whether we are able to do it ourselves or we prefer to go to the mountains with a mountain guide. In any case, on a longer tour, either in the Julian Alps or the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, there must also be aluminum foil, a knife, a headlamp, first aid, an iron reserve. “