While not known for high mountains, Ukraine's westernmost corner reaches one of the most spectacular parts of Carpathians. Not even in Romania have I ever witnessed mountains so desolated and free of any human settlements, it is Ukraine where Carpathians reach its purest form. With traditional rural lifestyle still present, with somewhat differently working infrastructure and with historical connection to my homecountry of Czech Republic, Ukraine was always country I wanted to visit.
Main Chornogora ridge
Evening on Pop Ivan prepared one of the few visually pleasant evenings during this hike through Chornogora. While heavy rainclouds moved from the east and over Smotrych mountain, sunlight "fought" the darkness and painted main ridge with summits of Brebeneskul, Menchul and Dzembronia in yellowy light.
Emptiness of space
Cold and windy evening under the peak of Pop Ivan Chornogorsky. The wind brings dark clouds from the east and the fading evening sun remains their only counterweight. The last rays of the sun touch the snowy plains as well as the slopes of mount Smotrych, so that they do not appear at all for the next few days.
Into the mountains
Ascent to the main Chornogora ridge from village of Luhy leads through a few smaller polonynas. Here on Wertopy you can overlook significant part of the ridge for the first time and see what awaits you next. It is still aroung 600 meters of height to the summit of Pop Ivan visible in the center.
One of many snowy passages on the main ridge. With heavy backpack on your shoulders these snowfields make difficulties on your path, tire and slow you down. Looking back towards Pop Ivan Chornogorsky.
Path over Dzembronia
Easier part of the main Chornogora ridge route, leading over mountain Dzembronia. Mountains in its purest form, slowly waking up after winter. While in the western valley sun was shining, clouds quickly formed over the peaks and minutes later it was already raining.
We pack the tent in the only moments when it stops raining. The mountains are still trapped in fog. Only on the plain below the peak of Turkul do the clouds spread for a moment so it is possible to see the path winding up. But even in such seemingly unfavorable conditions, the mountains remain breathtaking and beautiful.
Before the storm
The road winds somewhere below the distinctive peak of Petros and offers views towards the Hutsul Alps. However, the rest of the journey to Kvasy is still long. Behind the ridge, it thunders and immediately afterwards heavy rain starts as storm clouds roll over from behind the ridge. Spring shows its strength, two more storms are coming that day.
Altough it was still early spring during my visit to Chornogora mountains and weather was rather unfriendly the whole time both in terms of photography and hiking, one thing that makes this season extraordinary are blooming crocuses. While most of the landscape is still in shades of brown and gray, these flowers present unique form of colour. Looking towards Hutsul Alps from below Petros.
Overlooking endless Carpathians from Pereval saddle below Pop Ivan in Chornogora range. Most of the highest peaks in the distance present todays border between Ukraine and Romania. Maramures mountains on the left, Rodna further back and Hutsul Alps on the right. Shot not far from the tent which had to be set up in the saddle instead of on top of Pop Ivan due to high winds.
After the storm
Fresh spring forests and pastures are nice change after days up in the mountains where the only things you see all day are rocks, snow and fog. This applies especially when you are tired after a long hike and get caught in storm three times during one day. Here overlooking one of smaller polonynas over village of Kvasy towards Svydovets mountains.