High Scardus Ski touring

Korab, the king of kings as my good friend Fis Nimani from Kosovo called this mountain. This highest mountain in two countries was for a long time highly protected zone. The communist times and the hostility between then Yugoslavia and the People’s Republic of Albania made it  quite difficult to access the mountain in the past. You had to have a special permission, and the movement was highly controlles. Even now, reminiscence of these times is visible. There is a line on the Albanian side of the mountain that was the line forbidden to pass. It was most probably patrolled for the whole time, given that the vicinity of Radomire, a wonderfull mountain village, made it quite accessible and possible to escape the than very much closed country of Albania. From the Macedonian side you need to pass the border police control, and report yourselves in the office of the Mavrovo National Park before you go to the peak. The once impossible task, hiking to Korab peak is now quite possible with following these rules. 

The mountain is absolutely beautiful and you can easily say it fits the description Off the beaten track. Korab is somewhat a  natural continuation of the Shar Mountain massif, divided by the river Radika. The hikes from the two different countries are also quite different themselves. 

We will start to explain the hike from our country, North Macedonia. 

It’s best to position yourself in Mavrovo National park, where you will be able to have a early start. Especially if you try to do the peak in the winter time, when the access road is quite likely to be covered by snow, and the days are short. But we will post a blog soon about ski touring on Mount Korab, again from both Macedonian and Albanian sides. 

You would also need a vehicle to take you to the starting point. Have in mind that most part of the road is a dirtroad, which in some times can be with quite big holes from water drainage or some small slides. So a higher elevated car or a 4×4 would be perfect for the task. 

Second, once again we recommend reporting yourself to Mavrovo National park office. They are located in Mavrovi Anovi, or you can use the email:…..

The hike is most likely to be 6 – 8 hours long, so plan accordingly to this. 

You need to exit the main road leading to Debar and Ohrid at the Nichpur road leading to Strezimir. On the road you will pass the border police station where stop is mandatory. You report yourself to them briefly, with a valid document and continue on the dirtroad, which will slightly deteriorate in quality. Driving up, about 11 kilometers since you exit the main road, there is a turning point with a sign that says Korab. Take a left there, and continue to the higher police station – the starting point of your hike. 

You can fill up water near the starting point, about 50 meters before the police station there is a nice spring. 

The starting point for the Korab hike is at 1470 meters. The trail is very well marked, with red and white markings and several poles with the winter markings. The hike starts in a deep beech forest, with some semi steep sections. It will exit the forest and open the first views to the grandness of Korab mountain. You pass a sheepfold, one also nice point to refill water, which in the rest of the hike will be lacking (depending on the season, but in the hot summer the possibility to refill higher is not so great). 

The hike is now in open fields, with strawberries and blueberries around. It goes towar a mountain ridge, on which you will have cell reception lacking mostly in the lover parts. 

This part of the hike gains altitude quite fast, so you will be on 2100 meters of altitude when exiting on the ridge. 

From the ridge your view will expend toward Kepi Bard, the white hat peak, standing at 2600 meters and hiding Korab almost until the last part of the hike. At the base of Kepi Bard the view opens toward the massive stony peaks of Ribnishka Skala and Kabash, and this is one of the most stunning views in Macedonia. You traverse under Kepi Bard, a avalanche dangerous terrain in the winter (especially in early spring), and you can witness the dangers of the avalanches and some places where the trail itself is almost missing. 

Soon after, you will see Korab and the Gates of Korab (two big rocky peaks laying before the peak itself. The last third of the hike is a beautifull hike, going through meadows and the base of a small mountain spring. The last part is the borderline ridge, between Macedonia and Albania, from where you can see far into the two countries. The peak Korab is 2764 meters high, and standing on it you are on the highest point of Macedonia and Albania. 

The descent into Macedonia is the same, through the beautiful meadows and ridges back to your car. Drive down pass the police station, and don’t forget to stop briefly and tell them you descended well. 

In the area, if you decide to go back toward Skopje, we recommend you stop by Korab Trnica restaurant for amazing lunch with their locally produced cheese and Bakardan (a conrflower dish). They are doing an amazing job, producing cheese with local herbs and wine from their own high quality winery. 

If you drive toward the rest of the Mavrovo National park and the road toward Ohrid, visit the monastery St. John the Baptist – Bigorski, which proudly keeps the monastic traditions of Macedonia and the famous XIX century wood-carved altar. There is also a wonderful restaurant, The house of Miyaks, in the base of the monastery with a amazing selection of traditional dishes, and the famous red pepper chips which we highly recommend.   

On the road is also the absolutely amazing Hotel Tutto in the small village of Yanche. The great host, Tefik built the hotel with incorporating the old building techniques of the area, farm to table quisine and is also part of the Slow Food movement. He is one of the pioneers of rural tourism in North Macedonia and a genuinely great person. 

Technical information:

Start. 1470 meters

Highest point. 2764 meters

Length. 19 km (return trail) 

Duration. 6 – 8 hours

Terms & conditions

Booking policy

BOOKINGPOLICY 30% deposit is required to secure your spot, with the remainder due to 40 days prior tothe arrival date. If your request for arrival is  lesser than 40 days we request full payment in advance. Use the form bellow to request a quote, or request additional information regarding our availability. As soon as you are ready to finalise your booking we require a 30% deposit and we will handle payment, which can be transferred via bank transfer. Due to current situation with COVID-19 we have updated our cancellation / refund policy related to it.

Canccellation / Refund Policy

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have brought up revised cancellation/refund policy suitable to cover possible obstacles for realizing an already booked tour. We have therefore updated our booking T&C  for the upcoming season to provide our clients with maximum peace of mind. We have included two options specific to COVID related cancellations. If you have any further questions related to T&C  send us an email in the form bellow. 

Per Client Request

More than 40 days prior to your arrival date: We will gladly hold and  apply your deposit to a future booking. So if you do not wish to transfer the deposit, we will offer a refund if we are able to fidn another group  or individual  to fill the booking. Otherwise your deposit remains non-refundable. Less than 40 days prior your arrival date: Full payments made are trasnferable 50% refundable. The transfers of the deposit is valid for the current or the following season. 

Exclusions

We cannot offer refunds for missed reservations, early departures, turbulent weather/extreme avalanche danger, snow conditions, or force majeure events beyond COVID – 19 pandemic, and are not responsible for additional expenses incurred in prepparing the trip (e.g. airline tickets visa aplications fees, equipment purchases etc.) 

Rights reserved

We reserve the right to cancel a tour at any time due to unsettling political, social or envioremental events, at which time we will offer a refund of all payments made less the deposit.

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