On the weekend of February 2-3 I went down to Paklenica for the first time. I went with Marc Tasovac, an American with Croatian parents, who's also living here for about a year. Saturday was warm (over 15C in the sun), there was no wind, no other climbers, and it was beautiful. I couldn't believe it was February! We had our choice of every route . It was quite, calm, and really pretty. Now I'm beginning to understand why people talk about it being such a special place. Not only is there a huge amount of climbing (with potential for 2~3x more routes), but the whole location is a dramatic, beautiful landscape.
Of course, I found out how out of shape I was, and my partner and I got well and truly spanked on one route ( Slovenski/PIPS). It's way too early in the season for me to be attempting off-width/stemming 5c+ limestone water grooves. People at the club here in Zagreb suggested that the route is underrated. I'd like to take solace in that, but the rating feels "right" (from a Seneca/Gunks underrate-everything sandbag-the-tourists perspective).
On March 15-17 I went with the Velebit climbing club for a weekend trip to Paklenica. I knew a couple of people on the bus, and knew a couple of other people who'd be there that weekend from my climbing club (Zeljeznicar). We left Zagreb at midnight, in a light rain. The weather forecast wasn't great, but I was still looking forward to being outside.
When we arrived at the park, at about 5:30, dawn was just breaking and it looked like a nice day already. I spent most of the day doing short sport routes or lying around in the sun, then did a 4 pitch sport route, "Spit Bull" (5 pitches, 6A) at the end of the day (finishing up too late!).
The next day, Klatsko and I did "Tinkara" a new, 6-pitch trad route on the Veliki Cuk formation. While the route feels a bit overrated, the crux section that I lead was certainly a challenge. The weather remained beautiful, and it was very nice to have a view of the Adriatic from the top of the climb. The descent, downclimbing and then descending the scree field in the Anika Cuk gulley, made me appreciate the Seneca Rocks "Stairmaster", but it brings you to the stream and to wonderful views up the valley.
I've got plenty of photos of the approach to the park, and some shots from the top of Tinkara.
We got back to Zagreb at about midnight, and it was great to get a lift home from one of the other climbers. A weekend's climbing had left me tired, sore, and very happy. [an error occurred while processing this directive]