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Via Ferrata in Vadu Crisului: Peretele Zanelor and Casa Zmeului tracks


As soon as spring struck we were aching to get our feet out and moving. We had discussions about hiking with our friends but they soon led to via ferrata. We only did Pietrele Negre track from Vartop, in Romania, but now we were looking at something more accessible and not too far away, the two routes located at Vadu Crisului: Peretele Zanelor (B level) and Casa Zmeului (C level).




Short video about the two tracks.




Where is this?


From Timisoara we went in the direction of Oradea with our final destination, the small village of Vadu Crisului. Here we left the cars next to the Sports Gym, where you can find a big parking lot. Next to the gym you can find Roua Muntilor Guesthouse that also features a restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat or a drink.



 

Entrance fee?

There is no entrance fee or any admission fee for the tracks.

Lets start!


We decided to spend the weekend there and pretty fast a few friends decided to tag along for the trip.

The general plan was to do the easier via ferrata on Saturday and the harder one on Sunday, while filling the extra time left with different activities we could do in the area.

We arrived at about 10 AM in Vadu Crisului. Since two of our friends were lacking ferrata equipment we went and rented it locally. The price includes the equipment and a guide to accompany you during the tracks. The costs weren't that transparent from the start and this led to some extra money, but all in all it was OK. The price was 80 lei per equipment per person for each track, guide included. This means that if you do two tracks in one day you pay 160 lei per person. We thought that you only pay 80 lei per equipment per day since nobody asked for a guide and thus the confusion. In any case our friends were delighted with the service and the overall experience so they didn't mind.

We would also want to make it clear that our timings for the two tracks are extra long as we did them with 4 absolute beginners in via ferratas. If you have any experience we are sure you can complete them much faster.

Romania uses a different difficulty scale than what is commonly used in the Italian Dolomites. Our grading is from A (easy) to E (extremely difficult). If we are to do a cross between the two scales an A would be equivalent to a 2B in the Dolomites and a C would correspond to a 3B.

For both tracks you have a common starting point and that is the Sport Gym in Vadu Crisului. From the gym you need to go alongside the rail way track, on the left bank of the Crisul Repede river - the path is very well signaled and marked.



Via Ferrata Peretele Zanelor 






We decided to go on the easier via ferrata as our first choice in the morning, to get the blood pumping gradually.

To reach the rock wall and the via ferrata you need to climb a few hundred meters straight from the rail road. Once you reach the wall you will start climbing vertically on cables, metal pegs, ladders all the way to the top, with only a few spots for relaxing. We go on and take the lead as the others remain slightly behind with the guide that explains what they need to do and how to approach the terrain. The guys get accustomed to the whole process fast and everybody reaches the end of the track in no time.



On the track we have ample time to take photos as the difficulty is low. This is a great place to introduce someone to via ferratas. The low difficulty, the good grip on the rock and the excellent cable and pegs all make for a great experience.




We reach to top of the cliff and we take a group photo. We've missed this type of activity and our friends really liked it.



For the descent you follow a wide footpath through the forest - don't worry, you wont go down on the via ferrata. Everything went according to plan but what shall we do for the rest of the day as it was only 12 PM, we finished with the track and our appetite was only growing? We didn't discuss it too much as everybody seemed eager to do the next track as well. We took a small lunch break and headed out to Casa Zmeului.




Hiking stats

Time: 1 hour and 30 min
Distance: 2 kilometers
Vertical relief: +/- 110 meters
VF length:  150 meters

Route: Railway + Via Ferrata + Blue Circle Markings
VF Difficulty: B international grading (UIAA)
Gear: Standard Via Ferrata gear
Water: at the guesthouse / in the village



GPS track: Wikiloc




Via Ferrata Casa Zmeului




For Casa Zmeului we changed the layout a bit, the guide went first followed by our friends and we stayed in the back. This was better for our friends who sometimes struggle to find the best grips on the rock.

The track is more demanding and you can feel that from the start where you have a 100 meter vertical wall. There were sections on which we spent more time but since we were not in a hurry it was fine. We personally enjoyed it a lot and overall we can't say it was too difficult - only two zones gave us a harder time.

A little piece of advice for one of the zones: when climbing an oblique wall pay special attention to your balance not to fall. Karina just changed her cable section when she realized she lost her balance and fell a bit against the wall. She pumped her muscles somewhat when getting her balance back but next she used the extra carbiner to rest in her harness for a couple of moments. It is not very complicated, you just need to pay closer attention.

If we are on the subject it is good to keep an extra carabiner attached to your harness. On difficult sectors where you get pumped a lot it is recommended to take a brake and relax from time to time. Obviously you shouldn't use the via ferrata kit for this.



As we mentioned this track has two challenging parts, the above one we talked about which is right at the start and one closer to the end just before the suspended bridge where you need to put some muscle into it.




The highlight of the track, our main reason for wishing to come to this area, is the 25 meter long suspended bridge. We can't figure out why most people are terrified by this sector because it is really easy and offers a spectacular view. We simply see it as the reward at the end :)





Karina liked it a lot, she'd repeat the track simply to go on the bridge again!



Hiking stats


Time: 2 hours and 30 min (including breaks)
Distance: : 2 km
Vertical relief: +/- 150 meters
VF length:  215 meters
Route: Railway + Via Ferrata + Blue Circle Markings
VF Difficulty: C international grading (UIAA)
Gear: Standard Via Ferrata gear
Water: at the guesthouse / in the village









As a final remark we would simply like to give a big thumbs up to the guys that created and worked very hard on these tracks so that we can enjoy them. Spectacular job! Also, a round of cheers to the guys at www.viaferrataromania.wordpress.com - who create detailed information about all tracks in Romania.



Extra activities

There are a lot of activities you can do in the area to fill up your day, but since there are plenty of caves we decided to go on a small hike to visit one. We chose Vadu Crisului cave, one of the biggest in the area, that should keep you busy for 30 minutes - 1 hour and also keep you  chill at about 14 degrees Celsius. There was no guide when we visited but the ticket man was a great and warm person that explained different aspect about the cave system. And for only 10 lei per person we really encourage you to visit it.

In order to reach the cave we chose to hike to it for about 30 minutes time. The track is really easy and goes through the forest, close to the river.

If you are wondering, the ruined building next to the cave used to be an old hotel, built at the start of the century, but now abandoned, like most old building unfortunately.

In close proximity to the entrance of the cave you also have the Vadu Crisului waterfall.




Hike details


  • Vertical Relief: +/- 100 m
  • Time: 2 h 30 min (approach + cave visiting)
  • Distance: 5 km 
  • Route:  from the camping follow the river on the right bank side.









Where do I sleep?

If you plan to sleep indoors there are a few guesthouses in the area. If camping is your thing than you have 3 options available: Cascada Crisului camping, La Rulote camping or wild camping next to the river. We wouldn't recommend wild camping as you don't have any sanitary facilities.

We chose Cascada Crisului camping and it was great. The price is more than decent at 20 lei per night per person and the place is cute. Soft grass everywhere, a large place where you can eat even if it rains, hot water showers, paved parking and the whole place was really clean. They also have small huts for rent for 60 lei per night and you also get access to the shared, indoor kitchen. If you want to contact them here is their website: www.pensiuneacascadacrisului.ro



What do I eat?

There are a few guesthouses in the area but we didn't eat at any of them. The only place where have been for a coffee was Roua Muntilor and we saw they also serve food.
Via Ferrata in Vadu Crisului: Peretele Zanelor and Casa Zmeului tracks Reviewed by Alex on 11:30 Rating: 5

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