Overnight on the ridge at winter time. Capathian mountains. Ukraine – February 2020
Дата 26 February 2020


I had a dream.
Overnight on the ridge or on the mount in Carpathians at winter time. To wake up in the morning and see white hills, covered with the snow and red color of the sun. And cup of coffee in the hand.

Two years of dreams.
And two weeks before I bought the tickets to Skole. We had been here in small village between the mountains in the summer time. One day we made trekking to one part of mountains, second day – to another. And slept in the house in Scole.

So, I know the way to Beskid Skole Ridge.
The trail starts just 1km from the rail station.

And this trail is NOT deadly complicate, not long. Its only 5 km to the ridge and 600m ascent. On the ridge its possible make great walks if tge weather  good. Its additional 4,5 km to the main mount Parashka (1240m). In summer time we did up-dawn from Skole during one day.

But now its the winter time.

There are to start points – from gasolin station OKKO and from the opposite side of Skole.  After 1,5 km this trails join together.

We started this time from OKKO. First by mountain road.
Then road escaped and we follow the trail. Challenge and steepy. And its covered with light snow and small stones. So, start from gasolin station is much steepy then from another point.

And the weather. I waited so long for this trip. And when I bought the tickets, I checked forecast and this two days were the best during the long period.

But, of course, mountains are all time unpredictable. Weather forecast completely changed. From the day before our arriving strong storm with North-West wind came.  The force of wind was up to 100 km/ hour! Its strength went dawn at the day of our ascending, must be quite during the first half of night , then the wind changed its direction to the South-West and with new strenth, stormy strenth,  prolonged till all next day. The speed of the wind again was as 35-100 km/hour.
That was the forecast.
Good news were that it was fresh snow on the ridge.

Ok. First steepy part we made.
Then it was oretty long flat part between the beautiful snowy trees. It was also range but on small altitude without any views. On this part was nice source, but we didnt use it this time. We had a few liters of water and three termoses with tea and coffee.

Final part of the trail , only one last km was again ascending. But now it was in pretty deep snow. At summer time trail is vusibke but now we need to find markers on the trees. And sometime we list them. But we know the direction and we had gps and maps of course.

When again I get into sniw up to my knees I put on snowshoes. It was brilliant idea! Much more easy! But snowdrifts with every step became deeper and bigger. Each step was hard.
Last 280 m to the ridge ( not altitude, only trail!) we made with hard during 45 min. It was SO difficult! Each step!

The ridge was full of snow, with overhangs and white blizzards. Storm didn’t finished yet. But it wasn’t awful.

The wind was from the North- West side. Right side from the ridge I found group of trees and huge snowdrift.  It was perfect place on the Lee side!
Next 1,5 hours we digged hole in the snowdrift, made smooth surface, cut some branches to protect us somehow from the coldness.

Construction if the tent was next page. The pegs were completely useless. So, I anchored bottom with alpinstocks and also made tge stick with the help of axe.

When we put on the tent, I realized that I need to put on around the tent as much snow as possible. It was need to strengthen the tent and prevent the wind get between the tent and cover.
All was done well.
The wind must change direction at night and i asked to build protection snow wall from the South. OMG! Ivan refused. And i was tired and want tea and eat something.

And one more detail – make comfortable and safe space inside the tent. Plus half of hour…. No space inside. Backpacks to the far end, all staff as pillow, ext….

After quick dinner we started to boil water. Boil water from wayer its ok. Boil water from snow – long procedure. We drunk tea, fulfilled all termoses.

Wind became less agressive.
From the west side it was orange pink strip under the heavy grey clouds. Beautiful sunset.

In twilight we ducked into the tent.

It was not cold in ours one-kilo-goose-nothface-sleeping bags. But it was cold from tge bottom!!! Really! But we put our normal caremats! So, i put my windstopper under my back, then trousers, then hat, gloves…
Condensate appeared on the inner parts of tent… Not good. Our goose begs and jackets will be wet.
And toilet. It was hard job to get outside, not slide dawn  and not destroy the tent after returning.

Half of night was as quiet as in dream. And from the 2am first wind s came. Weak. Then stronger and stronger. And the trees started to howl. And wind knocked into the tent. From my side. From South. Harder and harder. And this is only begging. Not the storm. The storm will be after 6am till midday.

Each knock I think that our tent will fall. And what to do at night?
But snow around the bottom keep it good.

It was scared to listen all this awful sounds in the dark. Then snow started pounding the tent.

At 6-30 in the morning, with screams and howls in the ears ( stormy wind) we started collect our staff. It was hard job. Noone wanted get outside…

It was not as bad as seems. Yes, wind was stormy but ridge protected us. And our location was so perfect that only rare, but strong tails of wind riched the tent. And they tried to destroy everything.
It was not very cold. May be -1°C.

To my big sorry there were no red sunrise…. It was very simple. Grey.

I boiled water, made breakfast. We took coffee.

Then tried to put down the tent into small pack.  Useless.

Time go down, to Skole.

Its were huge snowdrifts everywhere. But we quickly moved along the trail. Ridge protected us only first 280 m.

Then we get into the forest. And it was something like in the hell – the trees swinging in the wind like a simple grass in the field. Loud cracks were heard from all sides. We moved as fast as possible. Every minute I waited the sound of fallen tree. Nothing happens. Only sounds of furious nature.

Till the Skole the wind was strons and it was danger of fallen tree. All the time. And we had seen few fresh ones.

At midday we appeared near the house Close to the River. We overnighted here at summer time. It was comfortable and very very tasty.
So, this time it was hot shower , sofa bed and huge fresh dinner with meat and home made french fries.

Clouds still flight in the mountains.