Mountaineering Crnopac (south Velebit) - guide's perspective

Velebit Adventures - Mountaineering on Crnopac, is described by our "Weekend Guide" Martin Bolšec

Hello, I am Martin, a Terraktiv weekend guide. So if you're booking your weekend getaway, I'm your man! I will tell you my first official hiking trip to Crnopac organized by Terraktiv.

Equipment for a hiking tour on Velebit

Friday, August 18th, 2018, I stand in the room and look at the equipment. What to take? The question I need to ask myself is "where am I going?" Mrežnica the first day, the second day Velebit, Crnopac, the Mali princ (the little Princ) track.

I take the first backpack and start packing the mountaineering equipment. Since in the group we lead we have a child, I decide to leave nothing to chance and take more or less everything that can help us make the trip as secure as possible:

The backpack was filled and gained weight.


The first backpack is full: 

  • climbing belt, two pieces,
  • helmet,
  • ferrata kit,
  • 5 carabiners with nut,
  • few webbing straps,
  • few traps and equipment is here.

The second backpack is full of routine camping / sleeping things:

  • tarp,
  • hammock,
  • sleeping bag,
  • sleeping pad.

I'm not demanding. I love simplicity. In the backpack I also put the JNA military portion and the Mora (an indispensable knife for such adventures).

After ten minutes, I'm more or less prepared for the trip. My guess is whether I'm going on the river the first day or not, do I need water equipment or not? I'm not limited with the space in the car and I decide to take a "black box" with river equipment, including: 

  • PFD => palm extrem,
  • rope to throw,
  • trow line, brand PALM model LIGHTNING,
  • helmet aqua design vibe,
  • neopren suit,
  • water shoes and first aid.

 Now I'm ready!


Kayaking on Mrežnica and preparing for the hiking tour

In the afternoon I came to Primišlje. Taking water equipment proved to be a full hit because Matija immediately informed me that I had a kayak trip. I always do the excursion with joy and after the departure of the guests is all "sport and fun". While we can still concentrate, we're doing a briefing for the second day, going through the plan. From the beginning to the end. 

The morning came fast. It could wait a little longer. After so much excursions in our feet, if we do something fast it is for shure packing our stuff. I do not remember if we mention another word except good morning. Everyone pack their stuff for today trip.

For today trip we need Matija, "the boss" / guide / driver, Diana, marketing / driver and me, Martin, Weekend Guide / Croatian mountain rescue service / driver.

Since I'm the first to be ready, I prepare the coffee, the ritual without a day in Terraktiv does not start. We slowly drank the coffee, checked if everything is ready for Dario, the guide that remains in the Terraktiv base in Primišlje and we go towards Gospić.


Our adventure on Velebit begins

Along the road we stop in the shop for the purchase. We buy food (sandwiches, snacks) and of course we must not forget the most important, water, plenty of water.

We arrive in Gospić in time to take one more coffee, for changing to mountaineering clothes and checking the equipment in the backpacks.


We meet the guests, a young couple with an eight-year-old child. The team fulfills mandatory forms, examines them for possible illnesses or health problems, and Matija makes a "safe talk". In this conversation, guests are referred to the equipment we have, the way we walk, the sequence of walking and how much space is needed between two people. One of the guides always has first aid with us. In addition to the standard equipment, this time we also brought some extra equipment as we have a child with us on a trip (this excursion is recommended for children older than 10 years but these guests have been with us for several trips and the boy is extremely co-ordinated for his age). We ride in the defender to the parking lot at the start of the track. After ten minutes of exciting off road driving on the mountain of Velebit, we arrive at the parking lot, take the equipment, take a joint photo and say goodbye to Diana who will be waiting for us.


Crnopac - track Mali Princ

Let's go again, but this time we walk. We're on the track. The first part, the starting part, is the standard mountain route with a slight uphill. I like that. It's good for warming up. We set the father of the family up in front and we entrust him the role of the guide with the encouragement that we are here to correct him if he makes a wrong turn. After a short walk, we meet the first animal. A WOLF! However only a sculpture. There are more sculptures, but which ones they are, come and check it yourself. The trail begins to change quickly and the hiking trail takes on the form of ferrata. The first wedges are in front of us. This obstacle is successfully and easily managed. What makes this trip special are situations where most people get out of the so-called safe / comfortable zone.

After such a trip our guests feel fuller and stronger. They often overcome some fears and are proud of their success!

The Mali princ trail is a circular path filled with interesting places, points such as Dvori and Konoba, places like a cave labyrinth. Artificial / natural castle. Zdenko's pit, a dead end that you can not pass by without going down. I am surprised that our young guest passes barriers without fear and panic. The whole track is like a fairy-tale as if the fairies themselves made it. Soon we see in front of us, by my opinion the psychologically most difficult obstacle, "KIČMA". The track is secured by wire rope. Despite this, we pass it relatively quickly and without friction. We also walk through the Heavenly Gate.

We're stop for a short food break and obligatory fluid intake. I watch the team. Wonderfull. I see the slight tiredness, redness, sweat, but there are big smiles on their faces. That's why you love and do this job. The team moves forward. I’m still packing things in my backpack and checking if we've taken it all. Soon after, I hear a scream that belongs to our little guest. As we run to him, not knowing what it is,, everything passes through my head, is it the snake, the spider ... But luckily, it’s only wasps. A wasp nest on our way. I pull down the boy to a position where we were doing a break and cooled the stings. Luckily he was not stabbed in sensitive sites and is not allergic. Soon Matija arrives.

Well! He passed a bit worse. As he started to describe me him how one of them stabbed him in the ass, I'm starting to laugh, because he has a wink on his eye. Yes, he also got stabbed in the eye. As much as I laughed, I knew I had to react immediately. I took out my scarf, soaked it with the still relatively cold water and placed it on Matija’s eye. He has never had an allergic reaction so far.

We continue on and luckily we do not have a long road to the finish.  Matija’s eye is no longer an eye. The eye Is completely closed. In the event of a worse situation and if he started to have breathing problems, we are confident, we always carry an EpiPen with us. EpiPen is a single injection of adrenaline given in the case of anaphylactic shock. The trail begins to look like standard mountaineering trail, and besides the brutal jokes at Matija's account, we enjoyed the walk to the parking lot, without any more surprises. We meet again with Diana at the parking lot and after the joint photos we descend with the defender to the main road. There we greet with our guests and go on a trip back to Primišlje in the Terraktiv base. Matija felt good, but by the protocol we went to the first aid where he got infusion and antihistamines. He has survived, the eye got better and soon we are moving to new adventures.

Author of the text: Martin Bolšec "Weekend Guide"