Guide to SKOPJE

Winter hike – weekend in the mountains


“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory” was written by famous high-altitude mountaineer Ed Viesturs, the first American to climb all 14 mountain tops higher than 8,000 meters in the world, in his book where he describes his accomplishments. Far simpler adventures begin with a difficult decision – to go or not to go. Our friend Saso Noveski decided to conquer Solunska Glava top on Mount Jakupica in Macedonia for the first time. His journey has been immortalized in two ways – by writings in his log and by taking excellent photos. Enjoy the climber’s log and his photo gallery.

Ceples – Dautica – Solunska Glava

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It is a regular weekday for me until 18:30 so I packed my rucksack and prepared for departure in advance. At 19:20 we caught the train to Bogomila and at 20:10 Robert was waiting for us at Bogomila station with his car ready to take us to Papradiste. When we reached the village we made a short break to prepare ourselves for the walk to Ceples mountain hostel. After only a few hundred meters it started raining. I guess we are tough guys and it was the right time to prove it.

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After a half-an-hour walk we met another group of climbers from Makedon Mountaineering Club in Skopje heading to Ceples. After the usual greetings we decided to continue together and we reached the hostel at 22:00 hrs. We got acquainted with all the people that were staying in the hostel, had a chat with them over a cup of hot rakija or tea and went to bed. We had a long day ahead of us and we needed a good night’s sleep to clear our minds.


We got up, stretching lazily, at 05:30 am on Saturday morning. After breakfast and some hot tea we were ready to go. However, due to the thick fog, we postponed the start for another hour. We finally set off at 7:05. The sky was clear and the visibility was good.

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The fog went down the mountain, lying over Nezilovo, Papradiste, Cresnovo, Bogomila Orese, Oraovdol …

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We had good weather all the way through the forest road and the winter trail until the ridge above the upper meadows. On the left side of the ridge we could see Plavnik but not Jakupica, only the peaks of Jakupica were standing proudly above the dense fog. On the right side the visibility was barely 50 meters and we couldn’t see Nezilovo rock and Solunska Glava peak. We waited patiently and ten minutes later the sky cleared and we could see Nezilovo rock. Just imagine …

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Solunska Glava peak is 2540 meters high. Its name means “Thessaloniki Head” because on a bright clear day you can see all the way to Thessaloniki.

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At 12:00 we started getting back to Ceples hostel down the summer trail. We walked quite fast and we had enough time to rest before lunch. It was a combination of fine food, delicious salad and wonderful people. Mountains make us better people. We had planned to spend the night in Ceples but at about 21:00 we got this idea to go down to Papradiste mountain hostel and so we did. We packed the rucksacks and hit the road. We went through the beautiful forest passing by amazing little waterfalls that murmured in the night. Imagine this magical moment with a little light from the moon and our head lamps.

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We weren’t in a hurry. We took our time and enjoyed a good conversation until we reached the village. There was nobody at the hostel. 20 minutes later Emil, the housekeeper, arrived. He opened it and showed us to our rooms. We stayed late into the night trying to summarize the impressions of this great trip.


We stayed all day in Papradiste. A group of Russian children arrived in the morning. They came to Macedonia to learn the language and get to know the country better. We talked to them trying to answer all the questions these curious children had. We had a lazy day off befitting a Sunday, resting and chatting, admiring the beauty that surrounded us.

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At about 16:00 hrs Robert, the man who was hired to take us to Bogomila, arrived. At 18:35 we caught the train to Prilep. 45 minutes later we were home in Prilep. We parted and hurried home to take a shower and get some rest because Monday, at least for me, is a workday.

If you decide to climb this peak for the first time as I did, you must be well prepared and you should find people who know the mountain well so they can show you the best places and take you to the top safely. I was impressed by this adventure. I hope you will be too.

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Saso Noveski