Slovakia (Slovak Republic)

Languages: Slovak

Currencies: EUR · Euro (€)

Capitol: Bratislava

Continents: Europe

Borders: Poland, Czechia, Hungary, Austria, Ukraine

More useful information

Area: 49,037km2

Population: 5,458,827

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: Yes

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +421

Timezones: UTC+01:00

Last updated on November 2, 2023

Climbing Gerlach – Gerlachovsky Stit (2655m) – the highest peak of Tatra Mountains in Slovakia and the whole Carpathian Mountains, is not a mountain to conquer for everyone. 

I’ve climed Gerlach in October 2023 in unbelievably good weather as for this time of the year. I’m glad the weather aura helped, as the climb is very challenging! The peak belongs to Tatra National Park and it’s one of the most beautiful mountain scenery I’ve seen with dramatic mountains range surrounded by glacial lakes.

After reaching Gerlach, I’ll share all my views on this guided climb – so you have a full clarity on the trip itinerary. 

How to climb Gerlach.

There are NO official trails to Gerlach peak and the only way to climb this mountain is with a certified mountain guide. Not all guides have licence to climb Gerlach. It is technically difficult mountain and you need at least level II according to UIAA rock climbing system. 

The route to Gerlach peak is NOT marked – this is another reason you need a guide. 

Normally 3 people are allowed maximum per 1 guide. In snowy conditions only 2 people are allowed per 1 guide. If I was to do it again, I would go only me and the guide. This option is more expensive but worth it, trust me. 

Climbing Gerlach - 1-day guided tour.

There are two options to book your guided tour – you can do it whether with Slovakian guide or Polish – who are highly experienced (and most of them are working as Official Tatra Rescu Team – TOPR). They all have licence to climb Gerlach, however you need to know Slovakian guides do not appreciate Polish guides presence on Gerlach trail. It’s shocking but there is a quiet 

How much does it cost to climb Gerlach?

With Slovakian guide if you are going alone you would need to pay around 340 Euro. In the group of 3 the prise would go down to 250 Euro/per person. However you will need to get to Hotel Slezky – as your starting point. 

There are few ways to get to the top of Gerlach:

  • Velická Step climbing route – called the normal route,
  • Batizovska Climbing route,
  • Martin’s route – the classic one,
  • Tatarka route.

We climbed via Velicka Step and came down via Batizovska route. Both are steep with some vertical sections, few ladders and chains.

General information for Gerlach Peak.

STARTING POINT: Hotel Sliezky Dom 1670m (accommodation & food available),

GUIDE: Mandatory

CAMPING: Not allowed


CLIMBING TIME: 3-5h ascent + 3-4h climbing down. In bad weather conditions it may take 10h in total. 

TOTAL ASCENT: 1007m (one way),

ROUTE: Difficult (if you are not a regular climber).

Starting point for climbing Gerlach.

Starting point for climbing Gerlach is located in hotel Sliezky Dom (1670m). It is possible to stay overnight in the hotel for an easy start the next morning.

It is not possible to drive to Sliezky Dom yourself – it is only possible to get there with dedicated pre-booked transportation or taxi. The closest car parking is in located in Tatranská Polianka, on the other side of the road from the old Train Station, where you will need to leave your car. From there you need to walk up 8 km to Sliezky Dom or take pre-booked transportation.

I went with Polish guide – Bartek K from Cracow, he is extremely good! That’s the kind of a guide you will take for any adventure. He also works in TOPR – so you can’t have anyone better. I joined a group of 8 people, who already had 3 guides booked, so I was lucky they accepted me to join them.

Necessary equipment to climb Gerlach Peak.

  • Rope
  • Helmet
  • Herness
  • Hiking shoes with hard soles
  • Hat, sun glasses, climbing clothes
  • Backpack: nutritious/high energy food, snacks: nuts, chocolate, banana, water,
  • Thermos of tea with sugar/honey, lemon, ginger, whatever you prefer.

Additionally in winter conditions:

  • Crampons
  • Ice axe

Recommended hiking/climbing gear for Gerlach.

Highly recommended gear for Gerlach Peak – few rules – pack light, it’s a hard climb and you will feel every kilogram. Howere pack wisely – weather in Tatra Mountains can be extremely changeable – be prepared for windy conditions. Must-have options form the below list: CLIMBING GLOVES, HEADLIGHTS, WINDPROOF JACKET, ENERGY SNACKS, WATER BLADDER – very handy option for vertical mountains.

  • Headlight – LED waterproof, plasters, whistle, mirror,
  • Proper Hiking shoes,
  • Gel blisters!! NUMBER ONE FOR ME! Absolutely genious thing- your second skin even for hard injuries. 
  • Hiking backpack (25-35 liters), for years I have been using Northface and these are the most comfortable backpacks.
  • Powerbank/portable charger – 20k battery, 
  • Windproof jacket (it’s a must),
  • Rainproof jacket – highly recommended, however you can additionally have packable lightweight raincoat,
  • UVEX with UV protection, 
  • Climbing gloves – very useful for challenging hiking trails 
  • Hat, sun lotion – always protect your skin – the sun in the moutains can be very agressive,
  • Comfortable hiking trousers,
  • Food, high energy snacks: nuts, energy bars, chocolate, water (1.5l), hot tea with honey, lemon and ginger, you can take fruits (apple, banana, dates).
  • Water bladder for hiking pack – Camel bag– really handy on more challenging climbs! 

Climbing Gerlach Peak.

We parked in Tatranska Polianka and went on electric bikes to reach Sliezky Dom (I really do not recommend walking up to Sliezky Dom, it’s a long way and you will loose time).

There’s a restaurant in Sliezky Dom, so you will be able to get food and snacks. After a quick coffee we started the climb around 8.45am, which is pretty late for this such long and technically demanding climb. Outside of our team of 9 + 3 guides, there were 3 other people climbing Gerlach, so we felt completely alone among these high mountain range. We were climbing via Velická Step.

The first stage of the climb is pretty light – from Sliezky Dom you will hike about an hour up to the ‘wall’, where you gear up and start rock climbing. After reaching the wall you can have a short snack break and go on ropes. There are few ledders to climb which will give you a good idea of how steep is the mountain trail you will be taking. The guides are great, they really lead, advise and know the trail extremely well, which all is helpful. 

Climbing Gerlach - adrenaline hunters!

The climb is loaded with adrenaline! It’s a vertical climb in few stages – and remember you will need to go down! I have to say the ladders and chains help but there is not enough of it – it means you need to trust and rely on your climbing shoes and hands.

At the top of Gerlach 2655m.

The weather was very gentle, almost no wind, however some stages are exposed and we had to put our jackets back. But in general it was extremely warm – normally at this timeof the year you can expect snow and icy rocks. As you can see we climed most of the mountain only in polar. 

From the wall you will be climbing for about 3h to get close to the peak. The view is breathtaking, the visibility was extremely good, clear air uncovered the whole mountain range for amazing photos. We reached the top around 1pm. It’s windy but you’ll step down to take a break for food and hot tea. 

The way down from Geralchovsky Stit.

As they say – there are much more accidents on the way down than climbing up. And I can understand that.. sometimes it gets really scary – especially if you are afraid of heights – like me! 😉

We were going down via Batizovska climbing route. It requires 2.5h climbing down on steep walls, as on the pictures. Once you step down from the vertical rocky section you will take a 1.5h walk through rocky but pretty flat terrain, which leads along beautiful lake. This trail leads to Sliezky Dom. If you’re lucky you’ll meet mountain goats. 

Medical insurance for Slovakian Tatras.

You absolutely need to buy a medical insurance for Slovakian Mountains – make sure it covers climbing activity. Travel insurance for millions of global travelers in over 175 countries.

SOS number for Slovakian Tatras: 18 300

Mountain Rescue Service – Horska Zachranna Sluzba official website. 

Where to stay in Slovakia near Gerlach Peak?

Poprad is a fantastic option to stay, it’s a beautiful city located in Poprad River Valley between High and Low Tatra Mountains. Poprad city in only 24 km from Gerlach Peak. Very nice accommodation options can be booked for $40-$50/per doublke room – browse here. 

We reached Sliezky Dom around 6pm, which means we’ve done it all in 9h in very good weather conditions. 

Gerlach is an unforgettable tour, I was happy but also very tired. Time for exploring Slovakian Mountains a bit more. 

Want to train before Gerlach – two perfect mountains on the Polish side – Zawrat and Koscielec – auite demanding, Zawrat descent leads through ledders and chains. Mountain gear recommended for both trails. 

Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!