The mountains of Montenegro have been an object of in-terest for many travel writers, biologists, geographers, photograph-ers… for a long time, and a number of different books have been written about them. In the last ten years, a few guide-books have also seen the light of the day. The most recent one, The Mountains of Montenegro, written by Rudolph Abraham in 2010, was even awarded and is considered to be one of the most useful books for any mountaineer who contemplates visiting Montenegro. However, for some, or rather, several different reasons, the mountains of western and central Montenegro have been completely neglected or just casually mentioned in Abraham’s book.
On the other side, the authors of (so far) the only comprehe-nsive guide through Montenegrin mountains, published in Serbian-Croatian or Montenegrin language in 2004, represented this area with a dozen “units”, but still, their work can only be considered as a beginning. Unfortunately, in some cases, their route descriptions are out of date or unusable, and some accesses to the mountains are even incorrect.
Last year, during an expedition on Garač, a friend suggested that I should use my 25 years of climbing experince and write a more complete account of the neglected area. Of course, I liked the idea and, as a result, this little book saw the light of the day. It includes descriptions of some 45 routes to the peaks and mountains of central Montenegro which can all (even the most distant ones) be reached in less than 2.5 hours by car from Nikšić.
The larger, overview map contains the names and locations of all “processed” mountains, roads (asphalt and macadam) which lead to them and their peaks, and finally, the names of more import-ant places and villages which you have to go through on your way to these mountains.
The smaller, topographic maps (1: 25000) ordinarily depict only the walking parts of the routes.
It is important to point out that all the tours can be done as one day trips. Minimal equipment is required – the only exemptions may be the winter climbs on Prekornica and Vojnik. The “exact” times needed for individual ascents have not been specified (except in a couple of cases) because it depends on many things: your orientation skills, physical characteristics of the terrain, difficulty of an ascent, how fit you are… Still, it is safe to say that a well trained group can climb most of the peaks in less than 3 hours.
You will see that the most frequently recommended season for climbing is May-October. The reason for that is really simple: a large number of mountains in this area cannot be reached during winter. Accessing roads are covered with snow and they are rarely or never cleaned because there is no economical need for that – our mountains are practically uninhabited from November to April/ May. Besides, my friends and myself are not particularly fond of walking over deep snow for 4-5 hours (or more) in one direction, and that is why in January and February we usually climb the lower mountains from the first group and a number of smaller hills/ mountains in the vicinity of Nikšić (Kablena glavica 1151, Maša-nova glavica 1150, Viroštak 1119, Gola brda 1430, Budoš 1215, Dažnik 1625…). However, if you are young, ready, and willing, there are several winter ascents you might be interested in: Vojnik, Prekornica, Borovnik…
It is also good to know that in most cases the trails to the summits are unmarked, and sometimes even non-existent. There-fore, every route is described in a way that a mountaineer does not depend on whether waymarks exist or not. I have tried to be thoro-ugh where necessary and as accurate as possible, but unfortunately, it is a well known fact that sometimes even the best description and the map are not enough. That is why all route descriptions are accompanied with the appropriate photographs.
And finally, last but not least, the “teaching” which says that snakes rarely inhabit areas above 1600 meters above sea level does not apply to the mountains of central Montenegro – you will come across these creatures even at 2100 meters!
So, pace yourself and good luck!