May 24, 2018

HISTORY OF BOHINJ: MOUNTAINEERING

We've always loved the mountains

Mountaineering in Slovenia has a very interesting and rich history. It begins its classical era of mountaineering, which is marked by the conquering of the most important peaks of Europe, with Mt. Triglav, more specifically with the Bohinj side of Mt. Triglav.

THE FIRST ASCENT TO MT. TRIGLAV – AN ORIGINAL, INDEPENDENT, AND PIONEERING EXPLORATION

Mt. Triglav is an important mountain both for Europe and the whole world. It is a mighty landmark on the South-Eastern part of the Alps, extraordinary both in form and in its cultural and historical meaning.

Its peak was conquered for the first time on August 26, 1778, which is 8 years before Mont Blanc, 22 years before Mt. Grossglockner, 87 years before Mt. Matterhorn, 79 years before the formation of the first mountaineering organisation in the world (England), and 94 years before the formation of the first mountaineering association in Slovenia, the Triglav Friends in Bohinj. This means that the first ascent was not in imitation or competition with others. It was an original, independent and pioneering exploration.

The honour to be the first conquerors of Mt. Triglav goes to the Bohinj men (Luka Korošec, a farmer and miner from Koprivnik, Matevž Kos, a miner from Jereka, Štefan Rožič, a hunter from Savica, and Lovrenc Willomitzer, a healer from Stara Fužina).

FIRST TRAILS THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS AND THE ZOIS’ CIRCLE

After Jože Škantar – Šest built the cabin on Prodi, he also set up the first trail to Triglav, which was secured in 1895, when the Triglav priest Aljaž had the Aljaž Tower built on top of Mt. Triglav. That was when the trail from Kredarica to Triglav got a form, which was very similar to the one of today. 34 iron wedges were placed, along with 130 metres of steel cable.

The first trails through the mountains had an economic purpose (mining, farming, hunting), and were used solely by the locals. Only the enlightenment, along with Baron Žiga Zois and the naturalist Baltazar Hacquet, both of which hold credit for pioneering exploration of the Slovenian Alps, meant the start of mountaineering. Baron Zois paid for the expenses of creation of the first highland trails above Velo Polje and the Triglav Lakes Valley. The Zois’ Circle, the predecessor of Slovenian mountaineering associations, gave these trails their first markings.

FRIENDS OF TRIGLAV SOCIETY

In 1872, there was an attempt in Bohinj to form the Friends of Triglav Society, the first mountaineering organisation in Slovenia. They had everything a mountaineering society requires: a name, a president – Ivan Žan, its own (also the first) mountain cabin under Triglav (“Triglavski Tempelj”) which was built in 1872 by Jože Škantar – Šest from Srednja Vas) and their own trail to Triglav. But because they did not get the approval for the society’s regulations (the politically most powerful nation of the multi-national Austrian state had nothing to gain from it), the formation failed. Only in 1931, the Bohinj branch of the Slovenian Mountaineering Association was formed with its headquarters in Srednja Vas.

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