Anyone who at least once had the opportunity to see Pirin with their own eyes will tell you that there is something magical and beautiful there. It is difficult to describe in words, this feeling has to be experienced, avid mountaineers and tourists are categorical.
Here are some of the most impressive natural sights in Bulgaria. But undoubtedly, the greatest interest is caused by Vihren – the leader of Pirin. With its 2914 m, the peak is second in height after Musala and ranks third in the Balkans. Climbing it can definitely be a challenge, even for experienced and prepared climbers.
If you have decided to conquer the highest peak of Pirin, you must prepare well. Otherwise, you risk this adventure ending in failure. And as we have already said, the view from the top is magical and captivating.
So that you don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy it, in this article we have summarized the most important things that you need to get right before heading to peak Vihren:
When is the best time to climb the peak?
The best time to climb Vihren is definitely during the summer months. Then the temperatures are higher and it is not as cold, which makes the transition easier. If you are planning a hike to the top, it is best to do it in the months between June and September. If you have no climbing experience and do not have specialized equipment, we advise you not to go hiking during the rest of the year, as it can be dangerous.
Check the weather forecast
It is more than mandatory to check the weather forecast. As you know, weather conditions in the mountains change very quickly and it is possible that the weather will surprise you. You should not count on the fact that it is summer and it will necessarily be warm.
An interesting fact is that the old name of Vihren was Eltepe, which in translation means “peak of the storms”. This name is not accidental. So don’t risk getting caught in a strong storm while climbing up. Bad weather will not only ruin the experience and interrupt the hike, but it can put your health and life in danger.
What to wear?
Even in the summer season, don’t underestimate the mountain. Take warm clothes and a windproof jacket that will protect you from adverse weather conditions. It’s a good idea to structure your clothing in layers so that you can take off or put on different clothes when you need to.
An umbrella is another useful addition to the list of things to bring.
When you are at a high altitude, the sun is very hot. Therefore, it is good to equip yourself with a hat. Sunglasses could also be helpful. To protect your skin, it is recommended to use sunscreen lotion on exposed parts of the body.
Comfortable shoes are necessary
Whenever you are in the mountains, you should wear proper footwear. The terrain up to Vihren Peak is bumpy and rough, so climbing shoes are required for your safety. Standard sneakers have thinner soles that will cause discomfort every time you step on a rock. They can also slip, which can lead to falls and injury. If you don’t have special shoes and have to buy them, try them on a shorter hike if possible to make sure they’re comfortable and won’t hurt your feet.
There aren’t many places to get water at the top, so be sure to stock up on a few liters in your backpack. Climbing is tiring, so you’ll need to stop somewhere to rest. Appetite increases in the mountains, so also take food supplies – sandwiches, fruit, etc. Other useful things that you can take just in case – are a pocket knife, a match or a lighter, a flashlight, a first aid kit.
Choose a route
Last but not least is the choice of route. The peak can be conquered by several different routes of varying difficulty. We advise you to choose the one that corresponds not only to your desire, but also to your physical training, experience and skills. For beginners and amateurs, the easiest is the so-called Royal Path. The route starts from the Vihren hut and many people prefer it over the others.
Prepare well and don’t forget to take your phone or camera to capture the amazing views from the top.