Each spring, the seaside town of Starigrad beneath Velebit in Croatia is occupied by countless climbers, hikers, and other tourists who come to enjoy the breathtaking canyon of Paklenica, which has also served as the setting for the filming of the unforgettable western Winnetou. When I first visited the canyon, the setting used by the filmmakers was actually still in place. Back then, we camped right up the canyon beneath the magnificent face of Anića Kuk, but the whole area has since been declared a national park where camping isn’t allowed, so visitors sleep in organized camps, apartments, and hotels in the towns of Starigrad and Seline.
This year we departed for the sacred Croatian climbing centre in heavy rain. The forecasts by three different websites promised nice weather for the next couple of days, so we decided to trust the computer algorithms, even though they can often be misleading. The following morning dawned nice and clear so Katarina and I went to climb Pero, a route on Stup, which greeted us with dry slabs and slightly wet corners and cracks. Despite the dampness the climbing was very enjoyable and the sun was quickly drying the rock. By the time we reached the top, the sun-soaked wall was almost completely dry. We abseiled back down and started on our way down the canyon. Climbing isn’t just about sheer rock faces; meeting old friends is just as important, and I’m always happy to unexpectedly run into people I know. Such was the case this time as well, as the canyon was full of familiar faces. To finish the day, my family and I enjoyed a beautiful walk along the coast, where we marvelled at the stunning sunset.
Next day we didn't celebrate May Day; instead we climbed single pitch sport routes and Boštjan Potočnik dispatched two difficult routes in the Hram sector (a 7c+ and an 8a).
On our third day we decided to head home. It turned out that we’d taken the right decision, as the next morning brought heavy rain and strong winds.