Day 21 – Jezersko’s Adventurers

A small village for great adventurers

Today, instead of tiring you with our usual routine, we want to talk about Jezerso’s people.

Jezersko -which means land of the lake- was originally named after the large lake covering the bottom of the large valley. The lake started disappearing because of a series of earthquake beginning in 1348, although in 1689 a reporter described the village as dominated by a large lake. The two small remaining of the lake are definitely small.

Originally part of the Austrian Region of Carinthia, Jezersko now belongs to the Upper Carniola Statistical Region, which is almost entirely alpine in nature and includes mount Triglav itself.

With 638 inhabitants, it is one of the smallest, numerically speaking, municipalities in Slovenia, even if its surface extends over 68.8km2.

Of these 638 people, some have recently entered history books thanks to their achievements. Like skiing down the Everest, Annapurna and all the Seven Summits, the highest mountain of each continent. And here we are, hosted by the daughter of Davo Karničar: the man that in 2000 skied down the Everest, from summit to bottom with no interruptions. This was the first top-to-bottom descent of Everest’s south face without removing the skies. Before this unique achievement, he skied down the summit of Annapurna with his brother Drejc. And, finally, in 2007 he became the first person to have skied all the Seven Summits.

However, as they explained us, he couldn’t take advantage of his fame, which was particularly appreciated by Americans. He was a simple man, he liked skiing, mountaineering, working in the nature and, as his numerous descendants testimony, women.

Davo Karničar died last year cutting a tree in his beloved birth village. He was planning to build a hut for welcoming tourists in Jezersko, but something went wrong when he was cutting a pine, a branch broke violently and threw him dead to the ground. The only regret he might have had is K2, he never managed to ski down this deadly mountain.

For those not born in Jezersko

Here it seems normal to have cycled until China, Patagonia, to have climbed Mount Blanc at 16, or to ice climbing… but for someone who lived in a ‘normal’ environment it is not. Even if we are both passionate about mountains, this is something recent for us and we didn’t really took part to great adventures yet, even it we can be considered somehow adventurous. This is why we open our mouth and eyes wide when Anja tells us she first climbed Mount Blanc when she was 16, as her birthday present, and after a year she went back to climb it again and ski down the summit. That she has skied all the mountains around here, that she climbed all over the valley, and she did some amazing ice climbs as well. She is the president of Jezersko Alpine Club and has beens part of Jezerso’s alpine rescue team. With three kids she now hike from time to time and ski in spring.

Her mother is the actual manager of Češka Koča, Slovenia first mountain hut that, as the name recalls, was built as the Czech branch of the Slovene Mountaineering Association based in Prague. In summer she spends three months in the hut and descend and climb back once a week.

Matej was the one who cycled until China, and a bit further, actually. He left Jezersko and in some 6 months reached China. Then he continued to Laos, and Thailand, with as final goal Vietnam. After a series of problems he doesn’t want to share with us, he took a bus to Bangkok and flew back to Europe, Vietnam remaining unreached. With a budget of 10 euros per day, he managed to spend less, people are very welcoming in some eastern countries, especially in Iran, where he was systematically hosted and fed by locals. With Anja they cycled across Patagonia…

Matej is currently part of Jezersko’s alpine rescue team. Today he was alerted because someone was stuck on the via ferrata we did last Tuesday, he was ready to go on the rescue mission, but a colleague of his was already at Češka Koča hut and managed to control the situation. Mountain rescuing, as he says, is one of his hobbies.

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