Your guide to Romanian Carpathians.

About this blog

About this blog

Hike Climb  is a personal blog. Yet, unlike most personal blogs, it was created with a purpose of giving as objective information about mountain activities in Romanian Carpathians as possible.

Blog is in English because: 1. author wants to give more info to non-Romanian audience about mountain activities in Romania; 2. Romanian is not her native language.

Blog does serve a purpose of being an outlet for personal mountain impressions too, but the author will try to keep them to the minimum.

About route descriptions used on this blog

Sadly enough, Romanian notation of route difficulty, be it a marked hiking route or alpine route, is confusing. So we will try to use both local and international notations, as sort of a “translation”.

Difficulty of hiking routes

Hiking route is a mountain route accessible for almost anyone in decent physical form. In Romania all official hiking routes are marked with signs: colored circle in white outline, colored triangle in white outline, colored cross in white outline, and a colored vertical band between two white bands. The colored part can be red, blue or yellow. Signs can be found on trees, rock or metallic poles. On route intersections you’ll find  a whole bunch of indicator signs with route destination names and estimated time to them.

Hiking routes are equipped with chains and steel cables in difficult or exposed parts.

Difficulty notation we will use includes 4 colors: green, blue, red, black. Similar to sky slopes. I have first learned about this notation from Marian Anghel, a mountain guide and a great mentor. He proposed this notation for Romania (unfortunately, didn’t get popular), and you can find it in some trail maps. See his article about notations here.

Color codes

Trail difficulty Altitude gain Exposure (places / sections of the route where you can slip and fall down a considerable drop) Frequency of exposed places
Green < 300 m Little to none None
Blue 300 – 600 m Little to medium. You can expect either none or a few short exposed sections on the route None or a few
Red 600 – 900 m Little to medium. You can expect one long or a few shorter exposed sections on the route A few
Black > 900 m Frequent or very frequent. You can expect a lot of exposed sections, most of them will be equipped with metal cables or chains Several or a lot

Difficulty of alpine routes

Here the mess gets even messier. First of all, alpinism (mountaineering) in the strict sense of the word (crampons, ice axes, glaciers) is only possible in Romania to some extent and only in winter. We have no surface glaciers and no permanent snow or ice. Romanian Carpathians highest point is Moldoveanu peak, 2545m. So we will use a “loose” sense:). We will call any route “alpine route” if it:

  • Isn’t officially marked.
  • Includes portions of scrambling and climbing that require experience with alpine techniques and good understanding of how to use climbing equipment (crampons, ice axes, ropes, harnesses, fixed/mobile protection, etc.).

To loosely translate Marian Anghel’s great article on this topic:

In ex-soviet space the Russian notation was used: 1A/B, 2A/B, 3A/B, 4A/B, 5A/B, 6A/B;

Its international equivalent should be: F/F+, PD/PD+, AD/AD+, D/D+, TD/TD+, ED/ED+, Abo.

But in Romania the difficulty got skewed and reinterpreted, so mostly the grades are easier than their Russian understanding.

So, it is almost impossible to give alpine route a correct grade, provided that international notation isn’t used in Romania and ex-Russian notation is all screwed up. On this blog we will use local notation and try to approximate what it would be in international notation. Whenever available to us, we will also give information about the crux difficulty (climbing or artificial grade), rope length, etc.

Since “better safe than sorry”, read about the alpine route, assume it’s a bit more difficult than described and prepare accordingly.

Difficulty of sport climbing routes

Her things get a bit better.  French notation is most often used in Romania, and this is what we will be using here.

Other information about routes includes

  • starting and ending points and how to get to there
  • accommodation and food advice
  • altitude gain on the route
  • sources of water on the route
  • length (days)
  • when conditions are the best
  • equipment
  • finding your way (GPS tracks, maps, topos, etc.)