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Petros-Hoverla: 3 days for inspiration

Author: Oleg Gerasimchuk, Ukraine
Teamleader: Ihor Tsan
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Stand on the threshold of the old door,
That behind them you leave the world
Clear as a formula on paper.
There, in the ocean of new people
In the trajectory of all orbits.
I am forever your beacon, and you

Any hike begins with shoes. This is the number one thing for outdoor activities in the mountains. You will not get it in a rental, it must be comfortable, protect your ankle and ankle, have a quality sole with a relief tread for moving on sharp rocks, tested in previous hikes or new (but preferably a little rusty). It was with the purchase of shoes began our hike Kvasy-Petros-Hoverla-Zaroslyak. True, at first it was planned quite differently, but the active phase of the Russian-Ukrainian war began, and then it happened as it happened. Before shoes bought a tent, backpacks, membrane. jackets, sleeping bags, karematy and some other useful hiking stuff like a drinking system (which is convenient to use during the transition, so you can not get the bottle from a side or back pocket backpack, but which is not very convenient to fill while the group, because you need to take out half the stuff – at least we had this situation with our drinking system and a particular model of backpack).

Next came the choice of the route. We chose between Nesamovite-Hoverla (2 days) and Petros-Hoverla (3 days). We (me, my wife and two children – 15 and 8 years old) had little mountaineering experience: on average one and a half climbs per brother to Hoverla, one day trip to Makovitsa (Yaremche) – when we walked 20 km for a day (our family record until recently), zero experience in living in tents, and the heaviest backpack I had before was about 20 kg, when I was carrying cucumbers from the village for preservation. All the same, the variant Nesamovite-Hoverla seemed
Still, the option Nesamovite-Hoverla seemed too easy (and I wanted to run in equipment and gain some experience before the more serious routes), so finally stopped at the proposal Petros-Hoverla. Potential ascent-descent from Kozmeshchik to Petros was a little scary, but I thought: somehow it will be. We are not the first, we are not the last.

We decided on the dates, applied on the website, and almost the same day (and it was a Sunday) we got a call from the Kuluar consultant. We talked on the phone, then via Telegram – Natalia sent us the necessary information, advised us about the children’s shoes (specialized shoes, as you understand, are expensive, and the usual ones are not all suitable). A little more pre-pickup hassle, train tickets – and here we have arrived in Ivano-Frankivsk. As it turned out on arrival, our guide, Ihor Tsan, rode with us in our own carriage, having sat down on the way in Lviv. And from the station actually half of our group, 6 people together went to the store Gorgany, to get the rental equipment, group and individual. We
additionally rented a double tent, 3 sleeping bags with a comfort temperature of 0. Our sleeping bag with a basic comfort temperature of +10 and with fleece inlay was rejected by the consultant as not warm enough. Although in fact the temperature at night during our hike did not drop below 14 degrees and we could have done with two sleeping bags of our own, but in this case it is better to play it safe. Just before that, in July, there was a significant cold snap and one person in his sleeping bag froze to death. So, we packed our gear for four (and children’s clothes needed even more than adults) essentially in two and a half backpacks (children – it was a regular backpack and rucksack, and adults – special tourist 48-liter and 60 +10 liters). Food, which is shared between the group members, fit us only partially, so two sets of food were taken in their backpacks by others (for which we are very grateful). In the end, one jar of stew also went into the backpack of the smallest participant, and that was her share of social responsibility))

So, our group of 12 IT people, lawyers, accountants and managers of different sex and age, with different experiences in the mountains, but united by the desire to move forward and upward, began their hike. Transfer from Ivano-Frankivsk to Kvasy was smooth and our three-day hike began. Unfortunately, the famous Burkut spring in Kvasy was slightly dripping because of the dry summer, and there was a long line for water, so some people got “half a mineral” from the tap in the cafe there. According to the weather forecast the day was supposed to be rainy, but the sky was variable overcast and only once clouds forced us to wear raincoats for about half an hour, and the evening generally seemed warm and quiet. Looking ahead, the weather forecast for these three days came true only partially, indicating that it is particularly worth taking it into account, and prepare in general for variable weather in the mountains, and in the Carpathian Mountains, also wet. Sometimes the weather was such that I wondered whether to take out a panama to not get burnt in the sun, or to prepare a raincoat, so the situation was changing every minute. By the way, a raincoat, to which I was quite skeptical at first, choosing clothes for hiking on specialized sites, seriously helped our eldest child. And our branded membrane jackets still
supplemented with polyethylene raincoats (at least because they are longer), and backpacks, respectively, raincovers.

During the first day we took about 18,000 steps, covering about 9 kilometers. The elevation gain was quite serious – a few hundred meters, especially intensive at the beginning of the route. In other words, the warm-up was a success. Quite quickly we saw the Svidovets Range looming up behind us, although for some reason the top of Bliznitsa (1883) was always covered by a cloud. Ahead of us could see the peaks Sheshul (1728) and Kopica (1689). They can be seen on the approach to the village of Kvasy and Kopitsa stands out with its pointed tip – purely as a bale of harvested hay.

There were no problems with water on the first day, neither on the route nor at the overnight site. We camped on a mountain valley near a biological hospital. We caught it just in time, when shepherds were driving cows with bells attached to their necks to the cowsheds. That same evening we bought a 1.5-liter bottle of milk from them. Our baptism of fire as novice campers continued, and here we were gathering brushwood and wood for the fire, helping to cook dinner, and finally we continued to get acquainted. The tent, by the way, we put up for the first time, since the time of purchase we have not even taken it out of the case, but managed, it seems to me, very well, in about ten minutes. Preview in YouTube appropriate video also helped.

The night passed relatively quietly, disturbed only by the three horses, for whom the grass around the camp seemed particularly tasty. Twice I got out of my heated sleeping bag and chased away the uninvited guests, who were gnawing on the grass right outside the tents, and then I fell asleep and slept until morning. We got up at six because the forecast was for rain in the afternoon and we had to get to the top of Petros by then. After breakfast and a meeting, we left the overnight site. around eight o’clock. However, apparently, someone had had an early lunch, and the rain started already at ten, and we had not even reached the saddle near Sheshul yet. Therefore, I had already said goodbye to the dream of climbing Petros. Well, at least the rain stopped for a while and from the saddle we had a wonderful view
practically on the whole Chernogorsky ridge – from Petros to Popa Ivan Chernogorsky. After the rain the mountains looked fantastic – the steam rose from the valleys in milky clouds and it was easy to imagine that you were flying over these clouds and the mountains. Next, our team leader, Igor Tsang, who at first put us before the fact that the summit of Petros is canceled and the mountain we will traverse, given the change in weather (the rain stopped, although the clouds were still rolling in stalls) and offered option B. For this option we had to walk a little on the road to the summit, then someone would stay with backpacks, and we would walk the remaining few meters without backpacks and head back up. Of course,
we agreed, and thus mastered in practice a new hiking concept – a radial. Down from Petros with backpacks on the original route in the direction of the mountain valley Golovchnaya in wet rocks was quite dangerous, so we from a place where we left the backpacks, made the descent to the traverse of Petros. And just epic feelings filled us when we reached the mountain valley of Golovka, made sandwiches, ate lunch, and only then from the top of Petros descended the group, which risked in such weather to go on a classic descent. They started their descent when we had not yet climbed Petros. We walked some more, took some pictures, made a traverse around Petros and had time to start the lunch snack. Fantastic!

The second day ended for us at the junction between Petros and Hoverla, at the museum hut. For the opportunity to spend the night there we paid the appropriate fee to the rangers. An unpleasant surprise was the water problem. In one place the water was stagnant and quickly ran dry, and in another place it barely flowed and was also not clean enough. In the end, it wasn’t until the next morning that we found out about the secret pipe the foresters were taking water from. Those who slept in a tent outside were deprived of the pleasure of listening to someone’s
powerful snoring at night. All in all, we walked 21.5 kilometers for the second day (less was planned, but the peculiarities of our movement added a little distance to the distance we covered).

The third day started just as early for us as the second. This time Hoverla was waiting for us, and we could not refuse her. Especially since the bus to Franik had to arrive before Zarosliak and we had no other options)). Weather again missed the forecast, and if the first day we had such a difference was on hand, the last day of the hike changes were not in our favor. Instead of the promised clear morning and a strong thunderstorm in the afternoon, we were immediately awaited by variable cloudiness, which was very quickly replaced by a strong cloudiness with distant sounds of thunderstorms. At the saddle below Hoverla we admired the view, which took our breath away, and began our ascent to the summit, hidden from us in an endless cloud. Only once the cloud cleared a little, and we could see Little Hoverla from the trail on the ridge of Hoverla. At the summit we took pictures, shrouded in cloud, with a moderate wind and rather cool temperature. The extra clothes we had begun to wear on the ascent helped. For some of the group it was the first visit to Hoverla. The ascent from this side of the mountain was not very difficult. Much more difficult was the descent. In poor visibility we stayed in a group so as not to lose sight of each other. The sounds of the thunderstorm approached, and rain began to fall quite quickly. The clay beneath our feet got wet and some of the group even began to slip and fall on the wet rocks and clay. And that’s when I really appreciated the specialized sole of my boots. It really saved me from slipping on the rocks. In some places, we just had to tread on the creek that ran underfoot. Timleader led us along the green route, safer but a little longer. At one point it began to feel like the forest on the way to Zaroslyak would never end with its wet and slippery roots, numerous streams, and monotonous descent. The situation was somewhat improved by the seven porcini mushrooms our family found on the way to the base. By the way, the dog that joined our group before the ascent (we called her Grechka), successfully completed the ascent and descent with us. 3 kilometers to the summit and 4 after, multiplied by the accumulated fatigue – this is the result of physical exertion on the third day of the hike. The thicket greeted us with sun, mulled wine and snacks. Some changed into dry clothes. Someone even was able to wash our feet after the road in the water of the Prut River. Then – transfer, renting of the rented equipment, restaurant “Ten” and the way home. As they say – tired, but happy…

Regarding memorable notes to myself and future tourists.

We did not encounter a bear, unfortunately/unfortunately. A common viper some of us on the trail
saw, but it did not show much desire to communicate with us.

Something about the food and the guide. We didn’t eat the guide. But apparently he was afraid of that and cooked like a master chef. A secret dish for the first dinner, rice with dried fruits, cottage cheese soup (special yum-yum!), bulgur – everything was unusually delicious, although we ate “like cats” and we could feed another group in parallel. Igor responsibly controlled our movement, well-being, organized almost everything on our route. What can I say – without him we would not have climbed Petros! And, probably, the best reference on arrival home was made by my daughter (and between the sea and the mountains she always definitely chose the sea). She asked: “When will we go camping again?” And the next morning, having woken up from the road, she added: “Daddy, the next time you choose a hike and Igor is on the list, choose him!

In short, these three days were worthwhile to prepare for them for weeks and then recall them with great pleasure, look through photos and videos, make plans for future mountain climbing.
Travel and be inspired by the journey!

Everything will be as it needs to be
To us, every atom has a plan.

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