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Mountain ranges / Karawanks / Hochstuhl/Stol / Ljubelj - Hochstuhl/Stol (via Vatelca or Skleda)

Ljubelj - Hochstuhl/Stol (via Vatelca or Skleda)

Starting point: Ljubelj (1058 m)
Starting point Lat/Lon: 46.4324°N 14.2602°E 
Path name: via Vatelca or Skleda
Time of walking: 5 h
Difficulty: partly demanding marked way
Difficulty of skiing: no data
Altitude difference: 1178 m
Altitude difference (by path): 1400 m
Map: Karavanke - osrednji del 1:50.000
Views: 8,867
Trip rating: 2 votes
Number of pictures: 84
Access to starting point:
From highway Ljubljana - Jesenice we go to the exit Ljubelj and follow the road ahead to the border crossing. Only few meters before the border crossing signs for Zelenica point us to the left and after few 10 meters of additional driving the road brings us on a parking lot below the ski center Zelenica.
Path description:
From the parking lot, we go on a marked footpath in the direction of Zelenica, Vrtača and Stol. The path at first leads on a moderately steep cart track which ascends through the forest and then turns a little to the right and brings us out of the forest on a ski track. We continue the ascent on a ski slope, from which beautiful views are opening up on a wall and scree of Begunjščica, on the right side we see the ridge of Ljubeljšica. The path which then runs on a rough road, only a little higher brings us to the mountain hut Koča Vrtača, where ends chairlift Zelenica I and starts chairlift Zelenica II. Here transport road turns sharply to the right, and we continue straight in the direction of Zelenica and we continue on at first still gentle, after that more steep path, which ascends on a ski track. Higher, we are ascending through a thin lane dwarf pines, and then we return on the road. We continue on a rough road, after the road turns to the left, we continue right on a steep footpath which returns on the road just below the upper station of the chairlift Zelenica II. From here a short descent follows and the path brings us to the mountain hut Dom na Zelenici.
Just before the mountain hut path which leads on Begunjščica and Roblekov dom branches off to the left and behind the hut we continue left and start ascending by children's ski lift Ciciban. Somewhere in the middle of the ski lift we get to a smaller crossing, where we continue right through a ski track (straight mountain hut Koča pri izviru Završnice, Srednji vrh and Stol - bottom path). On the other side of the ski track Ciciban path goes in a narrow lane of a forest, after which we get to the next ski lift. Also this ski track we only cross, after that by a smaller boulder we look for further marked path which leads towards Vrtača and Stol. Further, the path leads us on slopes below the ridge Na Možeh, and then it descends a little and it brings us to the spot, where the unmarked path in the valley Suho ruševje and Palec branches off to the right (by the crossing is a smaller cairn). After the crossing, the path gradually passes on slopes of Vrtača, through which it mostly ascending diagonally. Higher from the left also unmarked path from the mountain hut Koča pri izviru Završnice joins and we continue straight to the nearby marked crossing.
At the crossing, the path to Vrtača branches off slightly to the right, and straight continues the upper path towards Stol. We continue on the right path in the direction of Vrtača, and which ascends a little steeper. Higher, we get on grassy slopes, where the path becomes even steeper, and then turns to the left and passes on to the steep slopes. Next follows a crossing of slightly exposed gully, after that over steep grass we ascend on the southwest shoulder of Vrtača.
Here the marked path which leads on Vrtača turns sharply to the right, and we continue straight on the other side of the ridge, where we descend on the path to the nearby scree. When we reach the nearby scree we continue on a little less beaten, but marked mountain path (path is marked with red lines). The path which at first gently, and then moderately, occasionally also steep descending on the scree, almost semicircular bypasses the nearby cirque. The path which is on some spots also exposed to falling stones, lower stops descending and brings us on a short but steep grassy slope. On the steep slope we ascend few meters and then we get to plateau terrain around a sinkhole Skleda (on some maps also Vatelca). Next follows few minutes of relatively gentle path, and then we get to a smaller crossing, where we continue left downwards (right saddle Belščica, Svačica and mountain hut Celovška koča). The path ahead at first steeply descends through the gully, and then turns to the right, where passes on ample scree, through which is ascending diagonally. Higher, we leave the scree and slightly descend to a nearby crossing, where upper and bottom path and the path from Završnica join.
Here we continue straight, and the path from a small valley between Srednja peč 1920 meters (Srednja peč is a less known peak on the left) and the ridge of Orlice (Orlice are harder accessible ridge between saddle Belščica and Stol) gradually passes on larger scree, on which we diagonally ascend towards the right, and then the path gradually passes into steeper valley between Mali Stol on the left and Stol on the right. Here the path steeply ascends, and then it gradually flattens and it brings us to a marked crossing, where the path towards the nearby mountain Prešernova koča branches off to the left to which is 5 minutes, and we continue right and in 10 minutes of additional walking, we ascend on the highest peak of Karawanks.
On the way: Koča Vrtača mountain hut (1288m), Dom na Zelenici mountain hut (1536m)
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