The highest mountain in Romania is located in the Făgăraș Mountains in the Southern Carpathians, which have an alpine character compared to the majority of the more hilly Carpathians. A beautiful route to the summit starts at Lake Balea at the highest point of the Transfăgărăşan road and beautifully follows the main ridge of the mountains, which clearly towers over its surroundings. Usually two days are planned for the return hike, but fit hikers can easily do it in one (long) day.
At dusk, I climb to the first saddle in the light of the headlamp, and at sunrise I pass the next small lake, Capra. For the early start, I am rewarded by beautiful morning light and solitude. On the first half of the route it goes neatly up and down, while the second half to just below the pre-peak follows the contour lines without much effort. Along the way, I pass over narrow grassy ridges, with beautiful views into cirques and valleys. Just before I reach the summit, unfortunately, the clouds spill over the ridge. On the way back, an impenetrable white soup hangs on the north side of the ridge and clouds of mist give the mountains a completely different appearance. In the late afternoon, I get back to the lake and am somewhat overwhelmed by the crowds there.