Ledno plezanje po zaledenelih slapovih, Ice climbing on frozen waterfalls Foto: Šenk

Ice climbing on frozen waterfalls

An extreme and adrenaline-filled experience for the most daring adventurers.

    Ice climbing on frozen waterfalls and rock faces in the Slovenian Alps

    Ice climbing is one of the most challenging and exciting winter sports activities there is. It is practised by the most daring mountaineers and climbers. In the winter months, the mountains of Slovenia are transformed into an incredible winter playground with a large number of frozen waterfalls and ice-covered rock faces that invite the most daring ice climbers to set off on new adventures.

    Many winter mountaineering trips include ice climbing. This is an excellent way to gain experience on the ice while also learning about the other elements of mountaineering.


    Slovenia offers numerous opportunities for ice climbing in winter, when the majority of waterfalls and mountain streams freeze. This opens up new opportunities for winter activities. The largest number of frozen waterfalls suitable for ice climbing are found in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and the Julian Alps. Smaller waterfalls that attract fearless climbers are also found elsewhere in Slovenia.

    Ledno plezanje po zaledenelih slapovih, Foto: Šenk

    Ice climbing in Jezersko
    Photo: Šenk

    Where to go ice climbing in Slovenia?


    Kamnik-Savinja Alps


    The beautiful Alpine valley of Logarska Dolina makes an excellent starting point for an exciting ice climbing expedition. There are more than 40 waterfalls in this glacial valley that freeze in winter. Guided ice climbing expeditions to suit every ability are available: easy climbing routes suitable for beginners, intermediate routes for those who want to improve their climbing skills, and difficult routes for experienced climbers. Logarska Dolina is also a popular destination for climbers in summer, with its steep rocky walls offering several marked climbing routes.


    Nowhere else in Slovenia offers as many waterfalls covering such a wide range of difficulty levels as Logarska Dolina. The number of climbed waterfalls on the slopes above the valley currently stands at 39, including 11 with a rating of at least grade 5. Climbers who love long routes might be disappointed, since these waterfalls are quite short. The majority of the waterfalls, with the exception of the most difficult ones, freeze every winter.


    The waterfalls on the eastern side of Logarska Dolina lie at heights of between 900 and 1,200 metres above sea level. The majority of them are not reached by the sun’s rays until late spring, with the result that the climbing season lasts slightly longer here than elsewhere. After heavy snowfalls, the slopes in the upper part of the valley become avalanche-prone and dangerous. Considerable caution is therefore necessary! If you are not an experienced climber, you should not attempt climbing walls or set off into the mountains alone. You should always go climbing with experienced guides.


    Waterfalls suitable for ice climbing: Firštov slap (80 m), Raztočnik (160 m), Palenk (100 m), Slap pod tunelom (100 m), Slap pod Sušico (150 m), Slap na Klemenči jami (130 m), Spodnji Ivovec (100 m), Levi Ivovec (300 m), Desni Ivovec (180 m), and many others.

    If you are not an experienced mountaineer, do not go up the climbing walls and mountains alone. Go climbing accompanied by experienced guides.

    Ledno plezanje po zaledenelih slapovih

    Ice climbing


    Jezersko plays a similar role in the Grintovec group (part of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps) to that played by Tamar Valley in the Julian Alps. It is the oldest, best known and most popular Alpine destination. There are not many waterfalls in Jezersko, especially not easy ones. The waterfalls in the cirques of Makekova Kočna and Ravenska Kočna are very difficult. Conditions for ice climbing on waterfalls are best from mid-January onwards.


    The waterfalls below Čedca are visible from the road to Zgornje Jezersko. Access to the falls is not difficult, but it is somewhat long. Owing to the steepness of the rock faces, there is a high risk of avalanches in this section. Some waterfalls popular with ice climbers are found in the Ravenska Kočna cirque.


    The best known waterfalls for ice climbing in Jezersko are: Teranova smer (350 m), Ledinski slap (140 m), Vikijeva sveča (150 m), Sinji slap (150 m). The last of these is very popular and has belay points, which makes it suitable for beginners. Teranova smer on Dolgi Hrbet is considered one of the most beautiful winter snow-and-ice routes in Slovenia.


    The Kokra Valley is flanked by steep slopes down which numerous tributaries flow into the Kokra. The valley’s position means that the majority of streams and waterfalls in it freeze quickly.

    Three easy waterfalls in the valley between Korito and Strah graben are suitable for training or an afternoon visit. These include Grapa presenečenj (“Ravine of Surprises”) and Kratek slap (“Short Waterfall”).

    The most interesting waterfalls in the valley are: Gozdna vila (100 m), Desni slap (80 m), Levi slap (80 m), Slap nad mostom (150 m), Grapa presenečenj (300 m), Strah graben (240 m).


    Kamniška Bistrica is a popular Alpine Valley in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. The Kamniška Bistrica stream, which rises in the valley, has formed numerous pools, waterfalls and channels along its route. A number of small waterfalls in this wonderful valley freeze in winter and are suitable for ice climbing.


    The valley of Matkov Kot lies just a few kilometres from Logarska Dolina. There are a few short waterfalls in the valley directly below Veliki Vrh (Slapič, Ledena bariera, Slap ledenega rora). Three other very interesting waterfalls are Fakin (200 m), Fakinček (80 m) and Fakinof (140 m).


    The Levi Lopčki waterfall (100 m), located in the glacial valley of Robanov Kot, freezes in winter and attracts numerous climbers.



    A number of extremely popular waterfalls that attract numerous climbers every winter can also be found in the Julian Alps.


    Bohinj is a very popular base for mountain excursions. It boasts the largest natural lake in Slovenia, Lake Bohinj, and the high-mountain ski resort of Vogel. Numerous streams flow down into the valley from the high peaks, creating pools and waterfalls along the way. The most famous waterfall in Bohinj is the Savica Falls. Owing to its high flow, this waterfall never fully freezes and is therefore unsuitable for ice climbing. The nearby valleys do, however, contain a number of waterfalls that become perfect ice climbing destinations in cold winters. There are two waterfalls in Soteska: Slap v Soteski (200 m) and Vis-à-vis (100 m). From Planina Voje you can climb the 300-metre Lušev graben.


    Numerous streams flow into the Soča in the Soča Valley. The valley also contains numerous waterfalls and in winter offers many opportunities for ice climbing. Popular waterfalls include those in the Krn and Kanin mountain ranges, those in Log pod Mangartom and those in the picturesque Trenta Valley. Very occasionally, low temperatures make it possible to climb the very difficult Boka Falls, which has the highest water volume of any waterfall in Slovenia. Climbing here is a real treat and a unique challenge for the very best ice climbers.


    There are around 100 waterfalls of different sizes in Log pod Mangartom. Many of these freeze in winter and are suitable for ice climbing. The Loška Koritnica Valley, through which the Koritnica stream flows, is a less frequently visited valley containing several waterfalls, most of which are suitable for ice climbing: Kanja (110 m), Desni Laštanovec (120 m), Reščev slap (100 m), Zeleni slapovi (400 m), Desni slap pod Belo skalo (180 m), and others.


    The Mlinarica stream descends through several rocky ravines on its way through the Trenta Valley, creating numerous waterfalls. These freeze in winter, creating ice sculptures that are suitable for ice climbing. They include Kukla (120 m), Juliana (160 m) and Skriti dragulj (“Hidden Jewel”; 200 m).

    Ledno plezanje po zaledenelih slapovih

    Ice climbing on frozen waterfalls

    Kranjska Gora and Mojstrana


    True ice climbing addicts must climb Lucifer at least once in their lives. This is the famous frozen waterfall in Gozd Martuljek. A number of other, smaller waterfalls in the area are also suitable for climbing.


    The Tamar Valley has quite a few waterfalls that freeze under favourable winter conditions and can be climbed. The following waterfalls are usually prepared to ensure safe climbing: Sveča, Skriti slap (aka Nad votlino), Centralni slap, Desni slap, Zadnji slap.


    Beginners and the curious can have a go at climbing a waterfall in the Mlačca gorge in Mojstrana. This climbing centre – the only one of its kind in Slovenia – offers everything you need to try ice climbing, including belay equipment, guides and gear hire. Mlačca is a small gorge that is 200 metres long and 45 metres high and contains an ice climbing centre with a complex of three waterfalls between 15 and 30 metres wide and between 30 and 40 metres high. If you are attracted by the idea of climbing frozen waterfalls in safe conditions, Mlačca will not disappoint you.


    Peričnik is a waterfall in the Vrata Valley. The lower falls rarely freezes because the volume of water is too high. The upper falls freezes more frequently, making it suitable for ice climbing.


    There are a number of waterfalls of varying difficulty on the north side of the valley, below Vršič. These waterfalls freeze quickly because of the higher elevation. Those most frequently ready for climbing include two shorter waterfalls below Prednja Glava in the Krnica Valley. The first and second waterfalls in the Krnica Valley (50 m) can be climbed when there is not too much snow. A wide frozen waterfall often forms to the right of Hudičev žleb (“Devil’s Gully”) and offers several climbing routes. This is known as Levi slap (“Left Falls”; 80 m).




    When it gets cold enough, even the waterfalls in the Pekel pri Borovnici gorge near Ljubljana freeze over. You can climb five waterfalls of about 20 metres in height, some of them with vertical sections. Since Pekel pri Borovnici lies at a low elevation, the waterfalls rarely freeze completely.




    There are even a few waterfalls in the Primorska region that freeze in cold winters and are suitable for ice climbing. Idrijska Bela has several waterfalls that are popular with ice climbers: Slap v ovinku (80 m), Slap izgubljene rokavice (“Lost Glove Falls”; 150 m) and Slap za kapelico (150 m). A ravine by the bridge over the Idrijca contains Pripravniški slap – a 250-metre high ravine for apprentice climbers.

    Ledno plezanje po zaledenelih slapovih, Foto: Šenk

    Ice climbing in Kamnik-Savinja Alps
    Photo: Šenk

    Ice climbing with an experienced guide


    Ice climbing is an adrenaline-filled winter activity that can also be dangerous. If you want to try climbing an ice-covered cliff or frozen waterfall and have no experience, you will need an experienced guide or instructor, as well as all the necessary equipment. A guide will teach you:

    • how to use climbing equipment correctly;
    • climbing techniques for ice-covered terrain;
    • how to climb frozen waterfalls;
    • about potential dangers and climbing mistakes;
    • about belaying on ice, and so on.

    A good guide will also belay you securely, which ensures 100% safety even in the event of the ice breaking.


    An experienced guide will ensure that your ice climbing adventure is safe and unforgettable.


    Ice climbing equipment


    The basic equipment for ice and mixed climbing includes:

    • a climbing harness;
    • locking carabiners;
    • ice screws;
    • webbing;
    • climbing ropes;
    • auxiliary ropes;
    • a first aid kit;
    • a helmet.

    A helmet is essential, since falling ice can cause head injuries.


    Ice climbing equipment consists of:

    • a pair of ice axes
    • winter climbing boots
    • crampons
    • ice climbing belay equipment (ice screws, ice hooks, carabiner systems, tools for Abalakov threads).

    Ice tools (ice axe with hammer) are used for climbing, and crampons are attached to the boots. Lead climbers use ice screws to protect themselves.


    The difficulty rating depends both on the steepness of a pitch and on the shape of the ice (ice frozen to rock, icicles, ice mushrooms, etc.), which determines the possibility of the ice breaking. The actual difficulty depends on the conditions on the pitch (volume of ice, hardness of ice relative to temperature, etc.).


    The best time to go ice climbing


    The winter months from mid-January to the end of March usually offer the best conditions for ice climbing. Temperatures are lowest at this time of year and ensure ideal conditions for freezing.