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Kjurkov Dol
Written by Kjeaja   
Tuesday, 17 February 2015 11:41

On 15.02.2015, 5 mountaineers successfully "cut" Bistra mountain to reach Kjurkov Dol, the highest peak in its central massif. The peak above the Galichnik's sheepfolds Saltanica and Solomunica which often provided low temperatures even in the middle of the summer, this time "offered" spring among the space of snow and ice which allowed not to experience the fatigue from the long movement in winter conditions and enjoy the view stretching in the distance in every direction. Maybe its name is a little bit strange and associates with turkey, but it is explained by the fact that in the past, people from galichnik and the rest of the Mijaks when bridging the main paths leading to Mavrovo (the first from Galichnik at the west side, the second fro Lazaropole at the east side) to avoid the ambushes from the thieves through the valley of Jadovska River, often had to ascent to the small saddle between the peak and the rock and to descent in the vale towards the neighboring peak Golem Brzovec, covering themselves with kjurkas (part of the traditional mijak clothes similar to furs) so that they can withstand the cruel weather conditions on these heights.


This winter ascent is described in details using the photos of Borche, Bore, Zoki, Slavcho and Velimir, and it is dedicated to Kjirilo Jankuloski from Galichnik, great expert of Bistra who even in the last moments of his life did not stop deifying its heights and valleys, in winter and in summer. We hope you will enjoy the way he did.



Preparing to start the tour in front of the ski center in Mavrovo with the required equipment (boots with hard sole, crampons, ice axe, ... and a scarf).


The trail follows the upstream of Mavrovska River, entering the forest. Before entering the forest, three more "mountaineers" joined without any equipment and we doubted they could follow us to the peak. Because of the possibility of encountering deep snow above the source area, we took short cuts on two occasions.


Finally, at the exit from the forest, near Chavkarnik sheepfold, Kjurkov Dol shows its northern face.


View of Mavrovo and Shar Mountain.


View of Gorna Cherkezhica.


"The pyramid" above Chavkarnik sheepfold.


In deep snow conditions, the standard winter trail leads across the hills above Chavkarnik and Solomunica peak (on the photo, in front of us) with a dozen smaller ascents and descends. The tomb of the oldest known hero from Galichnik, Levendi Gjuro, is found near Solomunica.


Although deep, the snow was frozen, which saved us time and instead using the winter trail, we decided to "cut" the huge karst field Cherkezhica to reach the foothills of the peak.


Although most of the karst depressions were covered with snow, this one below the snow eaves of Dolna Cherkezhica was clearly noticeable.


Through the valley which connects Cherkezhica with the valley of Jadovska River and the foothils of Kjurkov Dol.


At the peak's foothills, near Jadovska River which encircles it from the north and west. The steep slopes of the peak have several avalanche parts and because of that the its approach has to be careful.


Because we came from the valley which connects with Cherkezhica, we started ascending using the steep north crest. If the approach is made from Solomunica, then the less steeper northeastern crest is used.


View of the valley of Jadovska River, the longest on Bistra mountain and one of the largest sinking rivers in Macedonia. The part from its source to the place where it sinks at the northeastern side of Kjurkov Dol is also known as Bistrica. It appears again at Jadovo area at the peak's southwestern side. Only in extreme moist weather the water manages to connect the whole riverbed.


Among the rocks of Kjurkov Dol there is a small cave which was now "closed" by the snow.


"The hut keeper" of the cave, at least till couple of years ago was a bear which is unusual because it is found at almost 2000 m a.s.l. Bore and the dogs did not mind the possibility of waking her up.


The view of Korab mountain with its highest peaks opened up.


Just below Kjurkov Dol, the peak Mal Brzovec can be seen and behind it Lazaropole village with the whole massif of Stogovo mountain at the end.


The peak Golem Brzovec (2085m a.s.l.) with Kjurkov Dol are the two highest in the central part of Bistra mountain. In the background Kichevo part of Bistra with the peaks Bistra 2102 m a.s.l. and Dumovica 2042 m a.s.l. can be seen.


Cooling of the rakiija at the frozen pile on the peak.


Magnificent view of Mavrovo Lake with the peaks Kozha, Morava and Lera above it and far behind the other peaks of the southern part of Shar Mountain: Radika, Mala Vraca, Golema Vraca, Mala Rudoka and Golema Rudoka.


The dogs "manly" endured this ascent (although there was one "girl" among them) and enjoyed the view of Veli Vrv peak and Suvo Pole in front, as well as the three "pharaohs" of Deshat mountain: Crvena Plocha, Rudina and Golem Krchin.


We forgot the Mijak flag, but we had a good replacement.


On the way back, we descended the first steep part more westward than the ascent trail, but the snow was so good that we rested our feet well.


The second downhill towards Jadovska River was also easy because in the meantime the sun softened the snow a little bit. Luckily it wasn't the case with the snow at the field, so we could use the same path without having trouble of sinking in deep snow except in 3-4 occasions when we sank till the waste at the places where junipers grow.


Besides several rabbits which cleared the snow for us on the way, at the entrance of Mavrovo village we saw a flock of ducks too. Maybe we did not encounter bears and wolves but we had a good company of rabbits, dogs and ducks.


For ascending to Kjurkov Dol, in normal conditions it is better to start from the parking place in front of the hotel "Makpetrol", but this Sunday we expected lots of visitors  of the ski center and we could easily get caught up in the traffic jam.


Back to the civilization at the crowded ski center. Although the whole ski center could be seen fro the peak, the crowd and the noisiness could not reach there. That is the beauty of these ascents and we are always sorry that they could not last longer.


Most of the passed trail overlaps with the summer trail, which had to be avoided in winter conditions because of the large amounts of snow above the source area of Mavrovska River. Also you have to be careful during the passing of Cherkezhica field, if you sink into the snow above the knees then it is better to turn eastward and through Chavkarnik sheepfold along the crest of Solomunica to reach Kjurkov Dol. By doing that you may lose an hour or two, but you will be more rested.


At the peak we measured 2123 m a.s.l. On the newer maps it can be found 2110 m a.s.l. while on some older it says 2141 m a.s.l the same as we measured couple of years ago, which means that the latest measurement is in the middle and probably the most accurate. No mater the height, when you reach the peak it feels as you had are standing much higher because of the lower neighboring peaks and the huge space of high pastures covered with snow which enables the view to stretch far on all sides. The length of the trail in the two directions did not pass 17 km because of our "shortcuts", compared to the standard trail which could exceed 20 km. The time spent during the ascent was 4 hours and 10 minutes, during which we did not forced the movement at all in order to enjoy the magnificent environment, but the total time spent was 8 hours including several smaller breaks and the longer stay at the peak.