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The Hargita is characterized by a series of authentic volcanic structures formed along the rupture line of the Transylvanian basin: craters, lava flows, volcanic slopes, steep lava domes, tuff structures etc. The volcanic activity left behind a layered volcano containing a great variety of rock types, from lava rocks, holystone and volcanic bombs to the ashes of eruption clouds.

The center of the massif contains a huge caldera measuring 5 km in diameter, drawn off from the south- west by the Vargyas stream, penetrating deep into the volcanic surface characterized by peaks of 1450 – 1500 m in altitude. Several eruption points and rising cones can be found on the brim and on the inside of the caldera. With its northern direction, the brim of the semi-circle shaped caldera hosts the peaks of the Mihály havas (1685 m), Madarasi Hargita (1801 m), Rákosi-Hargita (1758 m), Madéfalvi Hargita (1710 m) and the Csicsói Hargita (1761 m).

The drawing off of another volcanic crater can be observed nearly in parallel with the Vargyas stream, in the valley of the Ivó stream as well. According to some explanations the Madarasi Hargita tourist resort is located on the common brim of two adjacent volcanoes. Seen from the top, as well as from the higher points of the plateau, this explanation seems to make the most sense.

The Madarasi Hargita is the highest part (1801 m) of the Hargita mountain range and is widely regarded as the “holy mountain” of the Székely (Szekler) people. Its peak offers a stunning view of the impressive 20 – 25 km wide Hargita plateau, the Libán peak, the Görgényi „alps”, the Gyergyói „alps” and the Hagymás mountains. To the west there’s a great view of the Ivó-feje, the Berszán corner, the Kecskevész rock and behind them, just about the whole Transylvania plateau. In case of clear weather and good visibility the south–southwestern side features views of the Rika mountains, Királykő, the Fogarasi mountains as well almost the entire range of the Southern Carpathians. To the southeast we find the Rákosi-Hargita while to the east, the Csíki “alps” and the Csíki plateau.

Located 36 km’s from Székelyudvarhely, the Hargita holiday/excursion center is currently the Szekler Land’s most popular ski resort, with altitudes between 1500 and 1760 m and offering a total of 4,5 km’s of slopes. The area is covered in snow from mid December until mid April, but in case of suitable weather the season can last until mid May as well. The slopes get continuous maintenance with the help of snow groomers and the mountain rescue service operates around the clock.

 Ski slopes:

  • learning slope: 100 m
  • blue slope: 1500 m
  • red slope: 1500 m
  • black slope: 600 m
  • extreme slope: 700 m

 

Ski lifts:

  • plate system: 650 m
  • pickax system: 700 m
  • learning lift: 200 m
  • learning lift: 170 m
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IMG_1749Via Ferrata (climbing trail)

The climbing trail was erected in the summer of 2012 on Madarasi Hargita rock named Kecskevész.

Usage is free of charge and open to anyone at their own responsibility, though children younger than 14 and shorter than 150 cm are not recommended to climb (or if they do, adult supervision is required).

Both experienced climbers and total beginners say that the beauty of a via ferrata climb, apart from the stunning views is the fact that the climber can experience the sensation of a pro climber without a significant amount of experience. The climber must also face his fears, and this – coupled with the significant physical effort needed for the climb – makes for a unique sense of accomplishment at the end.

Though climbing the via ferrata does not require special skills or experience, its creators recommend enlisting the help of a professional climber on out first attempt. The safety equipment (helmet, strap, special via ferrata harness and carabineer) are also essential requirements of a safe climb. Those that do not have their own can rent professional equipment at the Súgó Inn nearby (25 RON / 4 hrs / set). For an even safer adventure though, even those with their own equipment are advised to check in at the inn before and after the climb.

The Kecskevész rock is about 60 m high and has around 200 m of cables and iron steps to help the climber get to the top. Two separate paths start out at the bottom, linked at a height of about 25 m by a so-called “Vietnamese bridge”, meaning two tight-rope-like cables.

The climbing path is of medium difficulty, providing a decent amount of fun for beginners and the more experienced alike. The only training required before the climb is for the climber to be aware of the basics of using a carabineer and sit-in harness. Though abiding by all safety precautions is important, the climbing trail is completely safe: only certified equipment was used in its construction, the wall was thoroughly checked, supporting bolts were only installed in stable areas, the whole path is over-secured and the cables can support several tons.

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