Piatra Mică Peak 1,816m
The Piatra Craiului Mountains are the most beloved and at the same time feared mountains in Romania. The mixed feelings they give make people want to explore them. But few know that they have a “smaller sister”: Piatra Mică :) where you can practice before you set out to climb the giants.
The trail on the ridge is similar to the one on the Piatra Craiului: rocky narrow ridge, juniper and deep ravines to the left and to the right.
After climbing the southern ridge of Piatra Craiului in 2017 we decided to take a hike in Piatra Mică. If you have heavy luggage, the best place to start the hike from is Curmătura Chalet via Crăpăturii Saddle to the Piatra Mică Peak and return through Zănoaga Meadow and back to Curmătura Chalet.
From Curmătura you`ll reach Crăpăturii Saddle in about 20 minutes, but the hard part begins from Crăpăturii Saddle: a steep rock wall with cables is awaiting the adventurers :).
The trail is simply amazing: it combines steep climbs, scree (grohotiș), rock climbing using cables, scrambling and walking on a rocky narrow ridge. But the panoramic view from the top is breathtaking. Beneath you can see Zărnești and Măgura Codlei towns and the entire Bârsa Valley. There is also a Heroe`s Cross before you actually reach the peak, just to confuse you a bit and make you wonder which one is the peak ;)
The return trail has a long descending path through the forest to Zănoaga Meadow and we climbed down on it in darkness. It was a bit scary, given the fact that we had seen some bear traces earlier that day, but we reached the chalet safely.
Back to Curmătura, one of my favorite chalets in Romania, you can try the best apple pie with lots of cinnamon and a special message in every piece; enjoy the fire in the chimney with a loving cat in your arms and good music in the speakers. You will want to return as many times as you can.
Photos: personal archive