Negoiu Peak, Calțun Peak and Lespezi Peak, Făgăraș Mountains

The fourth stage of Romania’s 2500’s cycle
Piscul Negru (1.200 m) – Lacul Călțun (2.135 m) – Portița Călțunului (2.259 m) – Strunga Doamnei (2.348 m) – Vârful Negoiu (2.535 m) – Căldarea Berbecilor – Vârful Lespezi – Vârful Cornul Călțunului (Călțun) (2.505 m) – Vârful Lespezi (2.517 m) – Stâna Lespezi (1.560 m) – Piscul Negru (1.200 m)

Access

In ciclul 2500-arii Romaniei, mi-am propus sa abordez cucerirea tuturor varfurilor inalte de peste 2.500 metri din tara noastra, pe traseul cel mai rapid. After studying several options, I came to the conclusion that the Negoiu, Călțun and Lespezi peaks must be tackled “as a package” starting from Piscul Negru, in a hard tour. There was another idea to combine a 2-day tour including the ascent of Vânătorea lui Buteanu, but I would have repeated a lot of the Fagaras – full ridge route from last year, stage 2 and stage 3.

About the Făgăraş Mountains

The Făgăraș Massif has 8 of the 13 peaks over 2500 m altitude located in Romania. Among them, Vârful Negoiu, with its 2,535 meters above sea level, is the second highest peak in the country. Vârful Cornul Călțunului (or Călțun) – 2,505 meters above sea level – is the only 2500’s peak in the Romanian Carpathians, which does not have a marked, approved path, thus being the most difficult accessible 2500’s. Its bigger “brother” is Vârful Lespezi – 2,517 mdm -, which is the 5th highest peak in Romania.

Route Map

(click on objectives for extended version)

Technical Box

Difficulty: difficult

Duration / distance: 10 – 11 hours (with 2-hour breaks) / approx. 20 km

Marking: blue triangle / red stripe / blue stripe / unmarked / red dot / unmarked / red dot

Water sources: on the Călțun stream, at the Călțun Lake, then the spring / spring at the exit from Caldarea Berbecilor, at Stâna Lespezi

Minimum altitude: 1,200 meters above sea level at the base m la bază

Maximum altitude: 2,535 meters above sea level in Vârful Negoiu

Difference in level: +1,900 m / -1,900 m

Observations: prohibited in winter, to be avoided in periods with electrical discharges, requires orientation according to the “momma” on the Cornul Calțunului and according to the map on the shortcut that comes out of Caldarea Berbecilor

1. Piscul Negru (1.200 m) – Călțun Lake (Lacul, 2.135 m)

blue triangle // medium // 3 hours

We take a group picture on the go. We pass in front of the accommodation locations in the Piscul Negru area (Transfagarasan), on the right bank of the Capra River, where there is a church, then an abandoned house and some treehouses (La Insule).

The blue triangle marking will guide us to Caltun Lake for 3 hours. It starts in parallel with the blue dot. We climb through the forest and blow the whistle from time to time. We cross the line of the Caltun valley on the left bank.

After passing a hill through its lower part, we climb a threshold between Valea Caltun and Valea Paltinul. We enter an afinis and complete the breakfast on the go. Careful! For those who want to go to Saua Paltinului, in afinis there is a branch of trails – 1 hour 15 minutes from the start – but it is faintly marked on a stone! We continue to the left and cross Valea Paltinului. Above the level of the forest, the glacial composition of the valleys and caldera is clear. To the left rises the side wall of the Lespezis, after which we make a bend, climbing another glacial threshold.

In the upper caldera, we meet the blue cross marker, which joins us, and which connects L. Caltun to the Argesan end of the tunnel from Balea. This intersection is not easily identifiable either – 2.5 hours from the start. On the next glacial threshold is Lake Călțun, the place where we camped last year, and where I sadly note that the old refuge has been dismantled, leaving the new one with a more futuristic shape, located a little higher, available.

After 3 hours we find ourselves at Calțun Lake.

Piscul Negru Tourist Complex

we started from Piscul Negru

Paltinu Monastery

we climb through the forest

wooden deck

indication

sheepfold

sheepfold

Calțun Stream

cranberry

branch weakly marked

cranberries

Calțun Stream

intersection with the path from the Transfăgărășan tunnel

Lespezi Peak (Vârful)

Călțun Lake (Lacul)

2. Călțun Lake (Lacul, 2.135 m) – Portița Călțunului (2.259 m)

red band // medium // 15 minutes

We stay for 30 minutes near Calțun Lake and stock up on spring water. The water source is a trickle that trickles to the right of the lake on the Lespezi – Caltun wall, imposing from its base. Lake Caltun is located at an elevation of 2,135 m above sea level, has a depth of 12 m and occupies 0.7 ha. It is a very good camping place, chosen by many tourists who “do” the ridge.

I took a short cut on the right side of the lake, the one from the spring, and entered the path now marked with a red stripe. We were climbing a gorgeous glacial threshold, the path walking a lot on stone.

After 15 minutes of climbing from the lake, we are at this threshold, which is called Portița Calțunului.

Portița Călțunului and Negoiu Peak seen from Călțun Lake

on the rock below the Lespezi Peak, the spring trickles down

Lespezi Peak seen from Călțun Lake

Portița Călțunului and Negoiu Peak seen from Călțun Lake

Călțun Refuge and Lăițelul

Călțun Lake (Lacul)

ascent to Portița Calțunului

3. Portița Călțunului (2.259 m) – Strunga Doamnei (2.348 m)

red band // medium // 30 minutes

At Portita Călțunului (or Portita Negoiului) there is a belvedere point to the right of the path as we went up, from where you can see Caltun Lake from the upper floor, now “smaller”, Laitel with its famous climb, and in the weather hello, we recognize the triangle Vistea – Moldoveanu. At our feet, to the north, is the Fagaras Country, to our right, being the towns of Cartisoara and Porumbacu. Continuing the direction from which we came, you can sense the marked path that crosses a grohotis on the level curve and then surrounds the peak in the center, called Vârful Dintre Strungi (2,476 mdm), because on its left is Strunga Doamnei, and on the right is Strunga Dracului. To the right of this peak, there is the Negoiu Peak. On the left, the steep Lespezi – Caltun impresses. The three are the target of our excursion today. We have a little more. How cool it looks! I stayed for about 15 minutes in Portita Caltunului, because it deserves some pictures.

I followed the same red lane through grohotis. Half an hour from Portița Calțunului we arrive at the Strunga Doamnei.

At the entrance to Strunga Doamnei, the path forks. On the left, it goes up steeply through the chimney of Strunga Doamnei located to the left of Vârful Dintre Strungi. The other option continues a little further, then climbs steeply to the left through another chimney, something more spectacular, Strunga Dracului, to the right of Vârful Dintre Strungi. The Strunga Dracului variant has been closed to tourists for several years, following some accidents due to rock falls. The prohibition is clearly indicated on the route. From that moment in Strunga Doamnei, which thus became the main access solution from Lake Caltun to Vf. Negoiu, the marking was doubled until then, the yellow band with the classic red band ridge marking, which before was only in Strunga Dracului.

Lake Calțun seen from Portita Calțunului

Vârful Negoiu seen from Portița Calțunului

towards Negoiu through Strunga Doamnei

Strunga Doamnei (l), Strunga Dracului (r, closed)

4. Strunga Doamnei (2.348 m) – Negoiu Peak (Vârful, 2.535 m)

red band // difficult // 1 hour

We climb carefully on the double marking, the yellow lane and the red lane, through Strunga Doamnei, also helped by the safety chains. In the upper part of the chimney is a narrower point, where you have to sneak skillfully, especially if you have a big backpack with a tent.

Once out of the chimney, we are on the other side of the mountain and we see Caldarea Berbecilor in front, on the left a superb view with Vârful Cornul Calțunului, the first from us, and Vârful Lespezi, the next and we understand why these peaks cannot be climbed directly from here on the ridge line and why from these peaks you can’t go down directly to Lake Călțun or is there not a shortcut to the main ridge towards Laitel and Paltinul.

The path from here is easy, friendly, it goes around Vârful Dintre Strungi behind to meet later with the old version from Strunga Dracului. A little further ahead, on the left, the path that we will follow after conquering Negoi is left in the caldera. Until then, we are scanning the horizon and fixing the Cozia and Buila Vanturarita Mountains.

The red band path begins to climb again and slowly reveals to the left up and in front the first high goal of our hike, Vârful Negoiu. Half an hour from Strunga Doamnei we cross the bifurcation towards Caldarea Berbecilor. From the portion of the last ascent on Negoiu, there is a very good angle towards Vârful Șerbota and Custura Sărății, the most difficult marked route in Romania, described in last year’s article.

After 1 hour of walking from Strunga Doamnei, respectively 2 hours from Lake Calțun, we reach the maximum elevation of this hike, Vârful Negoiu.

Strunga Doamnei

me in Strunga Doamnei

ridge path

Lespezi Peak

Cozia Mountains

landscape

branch to Caldarea Berbecilor

Negoiu Peak

5. Negoiu Peak (Vârful, 2.535 m)

After 5 and a half hours with breaks, we enjoy the highest point of the route, Vârful Negoiu. On the top is a large stone pillar, a flag and in a box a diplomatic bag with a diary of impressions. Vârful Negoiu (2,535 mdm) is the top 2 in Romania, after Moldoveanu (2,544 mdm) and before Vistea Mare (2,527 mdm), which we will visit in a later stage. I still propose two horizon tours.

North and West Horizon Tourhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3AImNDP_Vo&list=PLlH9tlgCODG8Bl-3vzuVTpUAIunWRLMmr&index=10

South and East Horizon Tourhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9ACkocoeT4&list=PLlH9tlgCODG8Bl-3vzuVTpUAIunWRLMmr&index=11

Towards the North of Tara Fagarasului and the Olt Valley, you can see towards the NW and Sibiu. To the West in the last plane, the Parang Mountains, then coming to the near plane, the Capatanii Mountains, the Buila Vanturarita Mountains, and the peaks of Fagaras: Ciortea, Scara, Serbota and Custura Saratii which spectacularly connects the Serbota river with Negoiu, to the SW Coiza Mountains, to the South Caldarea Berbecilor in an immediate and easy plan to SE Lacul Vidraru fed by the Capra River but also by other tributaries, from where the Arges River is formed. Towards the West, wow, Vârful Cornul Caltunului (2,505) and Vârful Lespezi (2,517) where we will also head after the main lunch break taken here on Vârful Negoiu.

ere is our group at the top. Bravo to all: Petra, Bogdan and Costi. Me too!

Custura Sărății seen from Negoiu

Șerbota seen from Negoiu

Negoiu Peak (Vârful, 2.535 masl)

me on Negoiu Peak (Vârful, 2.535 m)

Calțun (r) and Lespezi (l) seen from Negoiu

Vidraru Lake seen from Negoiu

Cozia seen from Negoiu

View from Negoiu

Custura Sărății seen from Negoiu

View towards Parâng from Negoiu

Negoiu Peak (Vârful, 2.535 m)

6. Negoiu Peak (Vârful, 2.535 m) – Căldarea Berbecilor

red band / blue band // medium // 1 hour

On Vârful Negoiu I read a letter of motivation from my daughter, Denisa (11). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYdFwn60q0M&list=PLlH9tlgCODG8Bl-3vzuVTpUAIunWRLMmr&index=12

We leave Vârful Negoiu with difficulty after a break of 1 hour and 15 minutes. We descend at the beginning on the same route where we climbed Negoiul on the red lane, until the rather poorly marked branching towards Caldarea Berbecilor and Saua (Seuta) Lespezi, from where it continues with the blue lane. After half an hour of descent from the top, we reach the branch.

We descend quite far into Caldarea Berbecilor, at its bottom. In some places, we open our eyes well after the marking, less often than before. We pass through a stony caldera, always having the back of Caltun on the left, which obviously we cannot climb directly. A trickle of water washes a cyst; it is clear that only there we will start the climb through which we leave Caldarea Berbecilor.

branch from the ridge towards Caldarea Berbecilor

the marker from Caldarea Berbecilor

landscape

we go around under this megalith from Caldarea Berbecilor

good water, here we change direction vertically upwards

7. Căldarea Berbecilor – Lespezi Peak (Vârful, 2.517 m)

blue band / unmarked / red dot // difficult // 1 hour

At the trickle of water, the path changes direction 90 degrees to the left. A steep climb follows, on tufts of grass.

Careful! About halfway up the climb, the marked path crosses the small valley and turns sharply right on the level curve towards Saua Lespezi. Although it is perhaps the safest option, being marked, here we approach a shortcut identified on the mapy.cz map but also in the terrain, and we continue to climb very steeply, unmarked, until we reach the ridge in the small valley where we find a mark, this time red point, which connects Saua Lespezi to Vârful Lespezi. It took 20 minutes to complete the unmarked shortcut and I cut a tip of a sharp triangle. Attention to orientation in the fog!

We are on Culmea Podeanu, that’s the name of this foot of the mountain that descends from Vârful Lespezi. On the left, an agglomeration of rocks forms Cornul Calțunului, which we are getting closer to, with Vârful Lespezi in front. Red dot marking. The red dot path climbs towards Lespezi Peak. We see some “momâi” to the left, but the map indicates that we are not yet deviating towards Cornul Caltunului, be it as the map! But in just a few minutes we wake up on Lespezi Peak.

the small valley we come out of Caldarea Berbecilor

here we leave the marker and climb vertically up the small valley

burrow

Călțun Peak (l), Lespezi Peak (r)

we exit the unmarked into the marked ridge

8. Lespezi Peak (Vârful, 2.517 m) – Cornul Călțunului Peak (Vârful, 2.505 m)

red dot / unmarked // difficult // 20 minutes

Lespezi Peak. It means that we had to follow the temptations found below. I had read that there is another path between Vârful Lespezi and Vârful Cornul Caltunului, which follows the mathematical ridge. Yes, it is, I identified it in the field, but it is much, much more exposed. So, Dan, take it back a little, until “momai”, because it seems more reasonable. And so until I reach the top, I fear that I will not be able to overcome the exposed passages! We go down 5 minutes from where we came on the red dot. We now even see two paths with “mommai” (stone turrets for orientation), which join further on.

The path with “momai” is bumpy, on stone cliffs (as in Retezat), but practicable, with care, on the ankles! I also reach the slightly exposed passage where it is easier and better to pass facing the rock. It’s not as terrible as I thought. I encourage myself by remembering Denise’s message. After this there are two possibilities, one climbs a slight hornulet in the mathematical ridge where it makes the junction with the other path, wow, as if it was there, good that I took it “down”, on the level curve. To avoid taking an aerial path to the top, stay below the ridge, on the rocky level curve, it’s more frinedly, and climb more steeply on a large smooth rock when you see the top on the right. Phew! I have arrived!

"momâie" for orientation

the unmarked road to Calțun Peak

where do we climb?

9. Cornul Călțunului Peak (or Călțun) (Vârful, 2.505 m)

We also reached the only 2500’s without marked path in the mountains of Romania! It was hard. But not as hard as I imagined. At the top we have an enigma to solve. There are 3 peaks! on one plate it says 2,505 m altitude, on another 2,510 m altitude, and ahead is a “mega “mummy””. Now decide, because the ranking of the top peaks is turned upside down…. Whatever, I’m finally on Vârful Cornul Călțunului or simply Vârful Călțun, considered in the old documentation as the only 2500 ar approachable only by climbers. Well, it’s not really like that!

In the background of the peak pictures we see Vârful Negoiu, where we came from. The wide horizon tour is similar to the one on Negoiu, but what we see in addition, otherwise, is unique is the Calțun Lake, small and shining in Caldarea Caltunului, where we passed a few hours ago. How pretty!

Cornul Călțunului Peak

Lake Călțun seen from Călțun Peak

me on Cornul Calțunului Peak (Vârful, 2.505)

10. Cornul Călțunului Peak (Vârful, 2.505 m) – Lespezi Peak (Vârful, 2.517 m)

unmarked / red dot // difficult // 20 minutes

We return on “momâi” and then on the red point from Vârful Călțun to Vârful Lespezi.

unmarked over granite slabs

this is where the unmarked begins

Lespezi Peak (Vârful, 2.517)

11. Lespezi Peak (Vârful, 2.517 m)

We are on the Lespezi Peak at an altitude of 2,517 meters above sea level, the 5th highest peak in the country. In some documents, it appears with an altitude of 2,522 mdm, which would push it one position higher. Wonderful!

The horizon tour is similar to Negoiu. Now we have an even better zoom on the trapezoid Vistea Mare – Moldoveanu (to the E), but also to Lake Vidraru (to the S), and an exceptional view towards Cornul Caltunului and Negoiu (to the W). For the first time I ticked 3 peaks of 2500 meters altitude in the same day! Well done Costi, well done!

me on Lespezi Peak (2,517)

Calțunului Peak seen from Lespezi Peak

trapeze Viștea (l) - Moldoveanu (r)

Vidraru Lake (Lacul)

Lespezi Peak (Vârful)

12. Lespezi Peak (Vârful, 2.517 m) – Stâna Lespezi (1.560 m)

red dot // medium // 1 hour and 15 minutes

We start the descent from Vârful Lespezi. This is the fastest way down from Lespezi to Piscul Negru. We followed the red dot marking all the way. When we start the descent, we have a clear perspective on the route because our destination, Piscul Negru, can be seen below the level of the forest. In the upper part, it descends on a secondary leg of Mount Lespezi, through an alpine gap, on a visible path. We turn our heads a little to say goodbye to Lespezi Peak and notice a huge polished rock to the right of the path. On the left, there are frames with a view towards Paltinului Tower (what a sight to see!) and towards Transfagarasan, the serpentine sector of Arges.

We quickly lose altitude and the edge of the forest and a barn appear on the horizon in our path. We have an alert pace on the way down. The legs work mechanically, but we have to be careful because one wrong step, wrong footwork, can ruin your mood right at the end. The marking is very clear. From time to time we come across some massive conglomerates and tanks or isolated rocks as if planted by someone in the grassy alpine hollow. I descended at a brisk pace and in 70 minutes I arrived at Stâna Lespezi.

our mark

Lespezilor Foot

landscape

Turnul Paltinului (Paltin Tower)

landmark rock

marking on Lespezilor Foot

on Lespezi Ridge, (l) Lespezi Valley

Lespezi Sheepfold

13. Stâna Lespezi (1.560 m) – Piscul Negru (1.200 m)

red dot // easy // 45 minutes

We go around Stâna Lespezi on the right. We arrived closer to the bed of the Lespezi river and we receive from the left and from the right 2 more trails before entering the forest. In the forest the path got lazy. We are reactivating the whistle, just for safety! Anyway, a few hours later, from the car, on the way home, we would meet no less than 7 bears in 4 different places, already a constant presence on Transfagarasan, due to the distorted behavior of the people who feed them, although the bear as a wild animal must hunt and procure his own food.

Piscul Negru. I went down in 1 hour and 45 minutes, but I had a fast pace, Analyzing this route, it seems tiring to walk in the opposite direction, when it seems to be an endless climb. Moreover, 3.5 hours should be considered for the ascent.

sheepfold

Stâna Lespezi

marking

we got off from Stâna Lespezi

last descent

Piscul Negru Tourist Complex

Brown bear

Conclusions

Negoiu Peak, Călțun Peak, Lespezi Peak – a difficult route that requires a good physical condition, some orientation skills, a little courage for the few steep or exposed sections of the road, lucidity, maybe weather without lightning on the ridge, minimum water reserves 2 liters, preferably specific boots, mountain ice, whistle in the lower area of ​​the forest, energizers, fruit, snack. The only option to break the tour in two, I mean the intermediate overnight stay, is in a tent or at the Călțun Refuge. The route is spectacular, offers generous perspectives, but long and with a considerable difference in level. Although I was somewhat afraid of how the more exposed portion between the Lespezi and Călțun peaks would be, now that I have walked it, I can say that it is not really that scary. Anyway, much below the emotions spent a year ago in Custura Sărății. There is still a section with chains in the steep chimney from Strunga Doamnei, but it is nothing insurmountable. The variant through Strunga Dracului is still closed. Strunga Dracului is another steep, more rocky chimney, which I crossed long ago in my youth.

All the best!

Steps: