Hoarfrost Summit I

Route to the top of Szrenica (Hoarfrost Summit) via Wodospad Kamieńczyka (Kamieńczyka Waterfall).

Description of the hike

Get off the bus on the main bus station in Szklarska Poręba (Główny Dworzec Autobusowy) and then walk Jedności Narodowej Street towards Urząd Miasta (Town Hall). On the crossroad by the Town Hall there is a sign pointing direction of the Wodospad Kamieńczyka (Kamieńczyka Waterfall). Keep on walking along the main street in the direction pointed out by the sign. Cross a bridge over large Kamienna river. The parking area next to Kamieńczyk Waterfall is visible from that spot.

Reaching the first attraction in the National Park will take around 30 minutes. Wodospad Kamieńczyka (Kamieńczyka Waterfall) (840m.a.s.l.) is the longest waterfall in Polish Karkonosze (Giant Mountains). Water drops from the height of 27 metres. Watching it from the top is free of charge and for a small entrance fee you can admire the cascades from the bottom of the ravine. This second option allows to feel the power of water gushing down the rocks.

The gorge is very narrow with high vertical walls. For safety reasons, each visitor receives a helmet that needs to be worn at all times.

At the top just by the waterfall is Kamieńczyk shelter(www.schroniskokamienczyk.pl). The place serves delicious food and can host 15 overnight guests. It is an ideal spot for the first respite before taking off for the next shelter which is 65 minutes away of an exhausting uphill walk.

After recharging your batteries, follow the red trail to get back on track. Shortly after you leave Kamieńczyk shelter behind, prepare cash for the admission to the National Park as a little wooden ticket booth should be ahead. Following a lengthy trek, eventually you will reach Hala Szrenicka shelter(www.hala-szrenicka.com) that offers 110 beds and really tasty food. During winter, proximity and easy access to ski lifts makes this place also an excellent lodging point for ski enthusiasts. Hike up the hill for a little bit longer, your final destination is only 15 minutes away from here. At the top of Szrenica you will find yet another mountain hostel that bears the name of the peak. Szrenica shelter (http://www.szrenica.pl) serves delightful food and can accommodate 90 guests who plan to stay for a night. Additionally, the place is famous for its unique tranquillity and scenic views with breathtaking sunsets. Certainly, it is worth spending more time in here and relish the scenery of Jeleniogórska Valley on the Polish side and mountainous panorama of Czech Republic.

Return on the red trail. A walk towards Śnieżne Kotły (Snowy Cirques) renders appealing views on a distant horizon in every direction. Among additional attractions are strangely shaped granite rock formations such as Trzy Świnki (Three Piggies) and Twarożnik (Quarkstone). About 20 minutes further there is a yellow hike trail turning right that leads to Pramen Labe (Source of the Labe River). Since the detour takes only 10 minutes, it would be regrettable to miss the spot. Laba (1165km) is the longest river in Czech Republic and one of the longest in Europe. It traverses the Czech Republic and Germany, where it flows into the North Sea. Germans know the river under a different name and refer to it as Elbe.

In order to continue your hike, use the same yellow trail to re-join the red one that will lead you towards Śnieżne Kotły (Snowy Cirques) (1175m.a.s.l.).

The next stop is planned on the view point over the high walls of Śnieżne Kotły(Snowy Cirques).

The place can be easily recognized by the characteristic building of the radio and television relay station. The panorama of this place is simply spectacular, especially on a sunny day when the visibility is extended. The steep, rocky slopes of the corries make you feel tiny and powerless against the force of nature. Provided there is no snow, you can follow the red trail along the edge of Śnieżne Kotły (Snowy Cirques) and enjoy the view for a little bit longer. If you are lucky, you should be able to see the small tarns and the bottom of the cirques.

Shortly before Przełęcz pod Śmielcem (Pass under Śmielec1390 m.a.s.l.) pick up the blue trail and go downhill until the next junction.

On the next crossing take the red trail which will guide you to Schronisko pod Łabskim Szczytem (Shelter under Laba Summit, www.labskiszczyt.pl). The hostel offers 38 beds and serves meals from 8:00 until 20:00. An extraordinary night awaits for those who decide to stay there after sunset. Since there is no fixed electricity installed, a light supply is limited and comes from a power generator during afternoon hours. The owners request all visitors to bring candles to light the lodge after the generator is switched off. There is no better way to experience a wonderful spirit of mountains than sitting in the main room heated up by a fireplace and talking to other travellers in a dim candle light. During the day, you may enjoy the fantastic view on Kotlina Jeleniogórska (Jelenia Góra Valley) while sitting in front of the building.

Whenever you are ready, take the yellow path and start descending towards Szklarska Poręba. On your way back you will encounter another group of granite rocks named Kukułcze Skały (Cuckoo's Rocks) which rise up for around 7 metres. The end point for this trip is at the bus stop in the town centre of Szklarska Poręba.