RzenikBlogspot: A large fall of rocks from the edge of the northern wall of Rzenik
Contribution to the chronicle of Rzenik II
In Grintovci (the local term for the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, which are located in the northern part of central Slovenia and create a natural border with Austria), is the wall of Rzenik (1833 m) - a mighty, 300 to 500 m high, north-oriented rock wall. It rises above the valley of Kamniška Bela. The southern side of Rzenik is flat, overgrown at the top with dwarf pine trees, and below the mountain it breaks into an ancient forest, which in recent years has been subject to severe devastation. In the east, the world breaks from mountain Konj along steep walls and ravines into Lučka Bela, and in the west it descends along the ravines past Ojstri rob and below Cerkev it passes steeply to Mravljinčev rob and the forest slopes of Kamniška Bela. The Rzeniški wall is bounded by: north-eastern edge and Konjska grapa in the east, Rzenik scree in the north, northwestern edge in the west, and Ostri rob behind Medvedova lašta. The Rzenik wall is considered to be one of the most crumbling walls in the Slovenian mountains. It is definitely worth mentioning that the area of Kamniška Bela, to which the Rzenik wall belongs, was a popular mountain hunting ground of the Yugoslav King Alexander (1888-1934) before the Second World War.
Barely 1833 m high, the peak was in the center of climbing interest after making large ascents in the central ridge of Grintovci. Verbič, Iglič and Vončina were the first to try to climb this wall in 1930. The following year, the then most active climbers in Grintovci, Modec and Režek, were unsuccessful in the wall. Climbers from Ljubljana Režek, Miro and Janez Gregor, Župančič, Ogrin, Orel, Tarter persistently searched for possible passages in the central part of the wall at the top of the peak in the following years, but without success. The highest they could reach was less than a hundred meters up the wall.
Then the most ardent and persistent connection of the Rzeniški besiegers Modec - Režek entered the northern wall and on June 27, 1933, they successfully climbed it. This excellent ascent did not arouse a special response at that time, only later, when the period of competition between Ljubljana and Kamnik climbers began, the ascents in the Rzenik wall aroused the public interest.
On October 31, 1937, after a long tour, Kamnik climbers Bina Benkovič, Pavle Kemprle and Janez Presl climbed a new route in the extreme left part of the wall. The direction brought up quite a bit of tension between the rivals. Therefore, Benkovič and Kemprle persistently looked for the possibility of an ascent that would take place completely along the wall, and on 18 May 1939 they managed to draw a new line in the north-western wall, for which the Ljubljana climbers also acknowledged their masterful deed.
After the Second World War, a new generation of climbers appeared, but they found support in the experiences of hardened Rzenik climbers Kemprl and Režek. First, the Kamnik climbers Čebular - Čebulj - Štupar climbed the Central route in 1951, and two years later the connection Čebulj - Habjan crossed the northern wall. In 1956, Marko Dular and Ljubo Juvan ascended the Central Pillar and reestablished a "competitive balance". This was followed by repetitions of the already mentioned routes (many repetitions were carried out mainly in winter, because the period of sport categorization of mountaineering ascents brought good points). With the development of top rank mountaineering in Slovenia, many new directions were created. Climbing problems were solved by the most famous Slovenian alpinists: Franček Knez (Brown Belt), Pavle Kozjek, Silvo Karo, Janez Jeglič, Tomaž Humar, Marko Prezelj, etc. There were no human casualties in the wall, only a few falls and some minor injuries caused by falling rocks that did not require rescue. The crumbling nature of the wall and the lower interest of Slovenes in classical mountaineering have recently greatly reduced the interest in this wall, except from a few BASE jumpers jumping over the wall.
Falls of rocks
Despite the exposure of the walls and the strongly pronounced cracks at the edge of the wall, history does not record events in the wall. All that is known is that long ago, individual sheep fell from the edge of the wall onto the gravel beneath it, and the shepherds found nothing there but just a remnant of wool.
In 2014, a landslide was observed in the central part of the wall. On February 26, 2021, during a period of heavy warming (previously heavy rain and then severe cold), a huge part of the northern wall in the north-eastern area collapsed - especially Jakov route (first climbed on September 4, 1971 by Berto Ribič, Tone Trobevšek and Janez Uršič - Jak). There were millions of cubic meters of rocks, but due to the uninhabited places, thankfully did not cause any casualties.
Saša and Boris Štupar
Photo: Peter Nagode, Genadij and Boris Štupar