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Sunset hike in the Julian Alps

When it comes to Landscape photography, we have several options for taking breathtaking images. Some of the landscape photographers prefer nice, elevated viewpoints, where they can use telephoto lenses, some prefer mountainscapes with the great foregrounds and wide angles, people, who do not have a chance to be close to the mountains, like hills, farming areas or coastal and seascapes. Cliffs, mountains, houses, churches, castles - they all have something in common. They are dominant in the scenery.

Being based in Slovenia I consider myself as a lucky person since the Alps are in the reach of less than 1 hour drive for me. And lately, since I have more free time, during the crisis, going out in the world, I've been able to spend more time there and create some images, which I'm quite satisfied with.

Last week, we teamed up with Miha Rus, a talented photographer and a really outdoorsy person - check his images on his Instagram - and before his work, we decided to drive to Vršič Mountainpass and hike to the ridge which goes from very popular Mala Mojstrovka, through Velika and Zadnja Mojstrovka further towards Jalovec mountain - the pearl of Julian Alps.

So starting late afternoon, we grab our backpacks (My trusty Tilopa was filled with the camera, lenses, filters, camelbak, tripod, some energy bars, extra clothes and crampons - consequently it was crazy heavy) and headed up. Miha was setting a strong tempo and when we reached the saddle, where we picked the best way up, we both decided it will be the easier way to go straight up to the ridge and found a couloir in the eastern side of the Velika Mojstrovka peak. It brought us to the sunny ridge. So we set on crampons and huffed and puffed to the sunshine. The view, that opened was astonishing.

Miha on the sunny ridge of Velika Mojstrovka
Miha on the sunny ridge of Velika Mojstrovka

We still had about 1 hour before the light started to change. Both of us were catching the breath as the steepness of the peak did not stop till the pure end and wearing a heavy backpack was really not helping it at all. Having some reserve in time, we sat down, took some mule bars and wanted to make a tea. Water was in our camelbak and also there was plenty of snow around. Miha took a small cooker with us, and we set up to boil the water for the tea. As we set everything, there was no lighter. The first one, was in the car 800m below us. We wish you more luck next time. But the photo still rocks.

Miha with the camelbak and cooker making tea
Remember, you can't make tea without lighter!

Sun started to drop and the magical colors started to appear. There was just enough clouds in the sky to get nice warm colors and the views around were just breathtaking. We started to approach the picturesque ridge where just few centimeters over, there was a massive drop for about 800m of the north wall. On the way, we found some ideal places for photography.

Miha on Velika Mojstrovka
Miha on the ridge and view towards Jalovec
Miha on the ridge from Velika to Zadnja Mojstrovka
Walking on edge
View from Velika Mojstrovka
The views started to get better and better
Kotovo sedlo
A bit of sunrays over Kotovo sedlo, one of the bucket list places for this winter
Triglav, the king of the Julian Alps and Mt. Kanjavec on the right
Veliko Špičje
My new computer background - Ridge of Veliko Špičje above the valley of the Triglav lakes

Soon, the best conditions started to appear. We were catching the last minutes before the sunset and I found a perfect place to take a shot of the day. The foreground and the dispersed light was fantastic. I also show the place to Miha and we took several photos of the sunset there.

Sunset above Julian Alps
My favourite of the sunset hike

After the sunset, the light started to face and we decided that we should slowly descent as Miha had to go to work in his night shift. When traversing the ridge, there were some opportunities for the images on the way.

And before the descent the "portraits" of the two impressive mountains on the west. The diamond peak of Jalovec and massive Mangart.

The blue light was starting, but we calculated, we should slowly start do descend and because of fresh snow, we said, maybe it is faster to use the crampons, and just go down the snowy slope till the end, find a way around the wall on the corner we were looking on the way up and come back to the mark trail.

Velika Mojstrovka
Miha with the headlamp and company of Dolkova špica, Prisojnik, Razor and Triglav mountains

Soon we realised, this was not the best idea as we came to the end of the slope and the 50 meter wall was just under us. We tried to go further south, but the wall did not show any weak places as well as we did not have rope with us. So the best and fastest way was to go back up the hill and descent on the route we climb up. Another push of huffing and puffing for 100-ish altitude meters and descent to the marked trail. At the end we cut our way down the scree and shorten the descent. Miha was able to catch the work not being late.

Superb sunset hike and pure adventure.

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