Via Ferrata “White Wolf” – Women’s Cave, Galbenul Gorge, Baia de Fier, Gorj (10 routes) (English) (B; C; D; E)

Main route: D      ↔ 400m      ↑ 100m      ⏱ 1h vf / 1h30 total

View details in Romanian.

The via ferrata routes in Baia de Fier, Gorj county, were built by „White Wolf” mountain club. There are a total of 10 routes, ranging from easy to very difficult: 1) „Spirala Muierilor” (Women’s Spiral), 2) „Creasta Pesterii” (Cave’s Ridge), 3) „Marea Crapatura” (Big Crack), 4) „Spirala Mica” (Small Spiral), 5) Loreley, 6) „Pantera Roz” (Pink Panther), 7) „Amfiteatrul Zmeilor” (Dragons Amphitheater), 8) „Saritoarea Ursului” (Bear’s Jump), 9) „Spirala Medie” (Medium Spiral), 10) Laura.

Via ferrata routes at Baia de Fier

Summary:

  • Free access
  • Length main route 400m; 10 routes in total
  • Vertical climb main route 100m
  • Difficulty main route D
  • GPS acces/Parking: 45°11’35.1″N 23°45’17.4″E or 45.193083,23.754833.
  • Access hiking duration: 5 min
  • Via ferrata duration main route: 1h
  • Return hiking duration: 20 min
  • Total time: 1h30
  • Best time: May – October, except for when it’s rainy and the rocks become slippery

Access: The Women’s Cave (Pestera Muierilor in romanian) in Baia de Fier can be easily reached by car, being located at 8km from the national road DN67 Râmnicu Vâlcea – Târgu Jiu. The easiest way to get here is by searching „Pestera Muierilor” on your maps app and get directions for it. Use the GPS coordinates above as an alternative.

The first 3 routes have a common starting point. Heading to the Women’s Cave entrance, bypass the stairs on their left, up to the base of the stone wall. You’ll find here a panel with via ferrata info. Start GPS coordinates for the routes „Spirala Mare” (Big Spiral), „Creasta Pesterii” (Cave’s Ridge) and „Marea Crapatura” (Big Crack): 45°11’32.6″N 23°45’14.4″E or 45.192390,23.754000.

„Spirala Mica” (Small Spiral) starts a few meters further, at GPS 45°11’32.0″N 23°45’16.0″E or 45.192230,23.754440.

„Saritoarea Ursului” (Bear’s Jump) and „Spirala Medie” (Medium Spiral) start at  45°11’28.8″N 23°45’18.4″E or 45.191320,23.755110. From the starting point of „Spirala Mare” you continue for a few minutes on the footpath below the climbing routes, until you reach an area marked with „Zona G” and a signpost with the two via ferratas.

„Loreley” and „Pantera Roz” (Pink Panther) start at 45°11’33.8″N 23°45’21.9″E or 45.192730,23.756090, on the opposite side of the river, before the bridge that crosses over. You’ll also find here a via ferrata info panel, from where you’ll climb a short but steep footpath up to the start of the iron cable.

„Amfiteatrul Zmeilor” (Dragons Amphitheater) start at 45°11’21.9″N 23°45’23.6″E or 45.189420,23.756560.

Difficulty: Grades are from A (very easy) to E (extreme).

Compared to other Romanian via ferrata routes, these routes have fewer artificial holds, on their difficult sections only.

Route 1 – „Spirala Muierilor” (Women’s Spiral) or „Spirala Mare” (Big Spiral)

  • Length: 400m
  • Vertical climb: 100m
  • Difficulty: D (hard, difficult)
  • GPS Start Via Ferrata: 45°11’32.6″N 23°45’14.4″E or 45.192390,23.754000
  • Duration: 1h
  • Can be done at night; the stone wall is lit but you’ll need headlamps too
Via ferrata route „Spirala Mare” (Big Spiral) in Baia de Fier, Gorj.

This is the third hardest route in Baia de Fier, after Laura and Amfiteatrul Zmeilor (Dragons Amphitheater). The first segment is shared with „Creasta Pesterii” and „Marea Crapatura”. After that, you continue on your left at the first cable split. It has many difficult sections and a retreat option via „Spirala Mica” route, one third of the way up. You’ll see the retreat option when you reach an „Indian Bridge” (optional). After this point come the harder sections.

You return to the base of the mountain by following the ridge line for a few meters, then turn right and follow a visible footpath through the woods, downwards.

Route 2 – „Creasta Pesterii” (Cave’s Ridge)

The first segment is shared with „Spirala Mare” and „Marea Crapatura”. After that, you continue on the left at the second cable split. It contains a more difficult vertical section, in the third part of the route. You return to the base of the mountain by following the ridge line for a few meters, then by following a visible footpath through the woods. Alternatively, you can go down on the via ferrata route „Marea Crapatura” paying extra attention to other people climbing up.

Route 3 – „Marea Crapatura” (Big Crack)

The first segment is shared with „Spirala Mare” and „Creasta Pesterii”. You keep up and right past two cable splits and continue all the way to the top. You return to the base of the mountain by following the ridge line for a few meters, then by following a visible footpath through the woods.

Route 4 – „Spirala Mica” (Small Spiral)

This route is usually used to climb-down from „Spirala Mare”, the main route, in case of abandon or weather changing. The panel at the start of the route says „D” because, if you want to use this route to get to the top of the rock, you’ll also be doing a part of route 1, „Spirala Mare”, which is rated „D”.

Route 5 – „Loreley”

  • Length: 300m
  • Vertical climb: 105m
  • Difficulty: B (easy)
  • GPS Start Via Ferrata: 45°11’33.8″N 23°45’21.9″E or 45.192730,23.756090
  • Duration: 30min
  • Opened in December 2015

The first segment is shared with „Pantera Roz”. After that, „Loreley” goes straight up, almost up to the ridge. You return via the hiking route „Belvedere”, left or right, marked with a red dot, or climb-down on the same route.

Route 6 – „Pantera Roz” (Pink Panther)

  • Length: 500m
  • Vertical climb: 250m (154m by cable)
  • Difficulty: C (medium)
  • GPS Start Via Ferrata: 45°11’33.8″N 23°45’21.9″E or 45.192730,23.756090
  • Duration: 1h
  • Opened in Spring 2017
Via ferrata route „Pantera Roz” (Pink Panther) in Baia de Fier, Gorj. Photo: Gorjeanul.ro

The first segment is shared with „Loreley”. After that, you continue left at the first cable split. A horizontal grassy traverse gets you to 3, very fun, caverns (3rd one is quite narrow), that you will have to pass through. After the caverns come the hardest part of the route, a more demanding vertical climb, then a horizontal traverse to the right, then up to the ridge. You return via the hiking route „Belvedere”, left or right, marked with a red dot, or climb-down on „Loreley”.

Route 7 – „Amfiteatrul Zmeilor” (Dragons Amphitheater)

To enter the route, you start in the big parking lot, in front of Vila Nico pension, just after the main road crosses the river, when going towards Women’s Cave. From here, you follow the river downstream, on the right side of it, on a footpath right next to the water. In a few minutes you reach a tree with a „via ferrata” sign and an arrow pointing right. This is where you start hiking towards the rocks, following a visible, but narrower, footpath. In a couple of minutes you reach the start of the via ferrata cable for the route Laura. 10 meters further is the start of this route.

After climbing this route, we believe it to be tougher than Spirala Mare (Big Spiral), Wild Ferenc, or the main route at Astragalus. There are no artificial holds/aids, only the cable (8mm thick only) and the rocks.

The first part of the via ferrata is relatively easy, with the hardest sections being at the end. After the first segments which we believe to be B/C, the route reaches a 10 meters tall chimney, with a small entrance at the bottom. Up to here, there is just one slightly more difficult passage.

The route through the chimney is easy enough, with the exit being, again, quite narrow.

After the chimney, you can rest at the bottom of a tall vertical wall, which is traversed by the via ferrata cable in a zigzag pattern. A rest here is recommended because the vertical wall ahead can be demanding. This wall can be avoided by going left at its base, then up around it, although we did not personally verified this option.

After the zigzag section, the route continues upwards with the last segment, which is again, difficult. Before heading upwards though, you can enter „Grota Corbului” (the Raven’s Cave). Here you have the option to skip the last vertical section by entering the Raven’s Cave and exiting it to the right, then following a narrow, unmarked valley, downwards. We did not personally verified this option either, so tread carefully.

The route can be done in about 1 hour and 30 minutes – we did it in 2 hours, with some rests.

From the top, you can return to Pestera Muierilor (Women’s Cave) by going straight up though an unmarked area, until you reach the ridge line. At the ridge, turn right for a short while, then left again when you spot a trail. You will shortly cross the tourist path marked with a Blue Triangle. At this point, turn right, downwards to Pestera Muierilor.

Route 8 – „Saritoarea Ursului” (Bear’s Jump)

It starts in the same point as the Medium Spiral (route 9 below) and the first, easy part, is common between the two routes. You reach a junction where the Medium Spiral route goes to the right and the Bear’s Jump continues straight upwards. The next part is the crux of the route: a crack between two vertical rocks. This is where the route gets its name from. The route builder advised us to follow the crack, but we found it easier to first go upwards into the right dihedral, then immediately cross left into the main crack. Use caution here as the last fixed anchor is below you at this point and there are no artificial aids except for the cable. The only easy way to bail out and exit the route here is by going back, the same way you came in.

Next on the route is another, much smaller, vertical section that you’ll need to „jump” over, into a short couloir that ends into route 3, „Marea Crapatura” (Big Crack) – the junction is marked with a horizontal tree, placed as a barrier. You are now near the ridge and you can, if you keep right, cross a wire bridge, or skip it by turning left and go straight on the ridge.

You return to the base of the mountain by following the ridge line for a few meters, then turn right and follow a visible footpath through the woods, downwards.

Route 9 – „Spirala Medie” (Medium Spiral)

Heading to the Women’s Cave entrance, bypass the stairs on their left, up to the base of the stone wall. You’ll find here a panel with via ferrata info for the first 3 routes. Continue for a few minutes on the footpath at the base of the climbing walls, until you reach an area marked with „Zona G” and a signpost for the common entrance to „Saritoarea Ursului” and „Spirala Medie” via ferratas.

„Spirala Medie” can be split into 3 segments: the first part is common with „Saritoarea Ursului”, a standalone middle part, and a third part in common with „Spirala Mare”.

The first part is relatively easy. You then reach a crossing where „Saritoarea Ursului” continues upwards and „Spirala Medie” to the right, with a long horizontal traverse.

The route then intersects „Spirala Mare” just before the hardest section of it, a vertical section where you’ll find a few artificial aids in place as well. The only easy way to bail out and exit the route before the hard, vertical part is by going back the route, the same way you came in, but take into account the number of people on the route at that time.

After the vertical section, the route’s difficulty is medium. At the end you cross a wire bridge.

You return to the base of the mountain by following the ridge line for a few meters, then turn right and follow a visible footpath through the woods, downwards.

Route 10 – Laura

  • Length: 180m
  • Vertical climb: 150m
  • Difficulty: E (very hard)
  • GPS Start Via Ferrata:  45°11’22.5″N 23°45’22.9″E or 45.189578,23.756361
  • Duration: ?
  • Opened in September 2018

To enter the route, you start in the big parking lot, in front of Vila Nico pension, just after the main road crosses the river, when going towards Women’s Cave. From here, you follow the river downstream, on the right side of it, on a footpath right next to the water. In a few minutes you reach a tree with a „via ferrata” sign and an arrow pointing right. This is where you start hiking towards the rocks, following a visible, but narrower, footpath. In a couple of minutes you reach the start of the via ferrata cable. 10 meters further is the start of Amfiteatrul Zmeilor (Dragons Amphitheater) via ferrata.

The route is mostly vertical, with no artificial aids except the cable itself. Good climbing skills are required. This route is new so proceed with caution.

Prices: free.

Mandatory gear: alpine helmet, alpine harness, via ferrata set. Optionally, gloves.

You can rent equipment from White Wolf Mountain Club, but call ahead.

WheaterMeteoblue Baia de FierViewweather Pestera Muierilor.

Emergency calls+40.SALVAMONT, which is actually +40.725.826.668, or 112, the European all around emergency number.

Videos:

Photos:

Sources:

Reclame

Un gând despre „Via Ferrata “White Wolf” – Women’s Cave, Galbenul Gorge, Baia de Fier, Gorj (10 routes) (English) (B; C; D; E)

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