Jozef “Dodo” Kopold at a bivy in the High Tatras, Slovakia. On November 18 and 19, Kopold soloed two new mixed lines on Maly Ganek (2425m) and Rumanov Stit (2428m) in the Tatras. [Photo] Martin Krasnansky
In what he calls “3-in-1 style,” Jozef “Dodo” Kopold put up two new mixed lines in Slovakia’s High Tatras mountains, climbing “fast, free and solo.” On November 18 and 19, Kopold soloed a 500-meter line on Maly Ganek (2425m) and an 800-meter line on Rumanov Stit (2428m).
Situated on the northern border of Slovakia, the High Tatras are known for frequent blizzard conditions, making climbing remarkably similar to the Scottish Highlands, Kopold said. Steep north faces of frozen grass offer “extreme” mixed routes, up to 800m, with little protection. Recently, the Tatras have seen an influx of new free winter routes and free ascents of former aid lines.
On November 18, Kopold climbed Maly Ganek in fewer than six hours. His line ascends a long, unprotectable slab before starting up a rock pillar where it reaches difficulties of 5.10 M5.
The next day, the climber tackled his main objective: the northeast face of Rumanov Stit or the “Great Wall.” Kopold ascended the overhanging first pitch and crossed a snow plateau to the second and third rock bands with more sequences of steep, technical moves. His progress slowed halfway up the wall when it started raining. Working his way up the pillar, he treaded lightly on the wet rock and placed extra pro. Thirteen hours after beginning, Kopold topped out on Rumanov Stit, leaving a new 5.11 M6 in his path.
Aside from exciting mixed-climbing potential, the Tatras have provided training grounds for several of Kopold’s big climbs in Asia, including new routes on Great Trango Tower, Uli Biaho Tower and Annapurna South. Kopold hopes to return to the Karakoram next year.
High Tatras mountains, Slovakia, showing Kopold’s new 5.11 M6 line on Rumanov Stit’s 800m face (in red) and his 5.10 M5 line on Maly Ganek’s 500m face (in yellow). [Photo] Dodo Kopold