There aren’t many arranged and equipped polygons for the free climbing in Montenegro. Although the potential is immeasurable, this sport is undeveloped and has not yet been recognized as an attractive part of the tourism offer, so the investments are small too. Yet, with enthusiasm of individuals and smaller organizations, several boulders are equipped with routes that by their aesthetic, difficulties and dimensions completely correspond to the modern world trends.
In Kotor, Ljuta, Dobrota and Herceg Novi several routes with diverse difficulty levels are equipped, ranging from 10-40 m in height. The climb in Kotor is located above the bus station, with firm and demanding bouldler, around 40 m high and 150 m wide. Routes on the very end of the left part of coating, with southeast exposition, don’t reach the peak of the rock, roadsteds are set up at about 20 m of height, and they are difficulty within the spread of VI+ to VIII- of the UIAA scale. Existing routes are equipped with glued axels, run-outs are short, and no matter how much we enjoy the climbing, your eyes are constantly wandering on the still untouched and unequipped lines. This climbing place has a large potential that maybe waits just for you to leave a route as your own legacy. In Ljuta and Dobrota there are around the routes designed for the beginners and climbers who look for enjoyment on lower degrees of difficulty. On both climbing spots, five to six directions are arranged with identical characteristic, on firm and solid boulders and with short access. Above Herceg Novi, minor exercise grounds are equipped on the boulders Čakotin and Šilobod, as training polygons for speleologists and climbers.
The famous free climbing polygon in Montenegro is located in the area of the main city in a little village Smokovac, on the way out of Morača Canyon. The cliff is about 30 m high and 200- 250 meters wide, which accentuated heights and characteristic relief created by calcium-carbonate sedimentation. Its general orientation is towards west, so even during the summer months it provides good conditions for morning climbing (until noon), although the best climbs are during the spring and autumn. Access is short and arranged; the terrain below is the routes is flat, suitable and securing. Difficulty is ranging from V+ to X-, and the routes above the VII degree dominate. Although the equipping of these routes has started recently, the quality of the rock and attractive routes have already promoted this climbing spot as a leading Montenegrin climbing spots in this category.
There is one more equipped rock in Podgorica, in the very heart of the city, on Ljubović Hill. The routes that range from IV to VII+ difficulty provides an easily accessible rest for those that don’t have too much spare time, but yet wish to somehow break the usual rhythm of functioning the city’s uproar and rush.
Near the monastery Ostrog, in the Povija village, there is a climbing area with routes of diverse heights, from short bolder problems to classical multipitch lines. The equipped part is the 1-20 m high boulder, characterized by a tower shape, where climbing is possible from all sides. Difficulties are in V-VII range and their south orientation, without wind interruptions, make climbing pleasant even during the sunny winter days. On Jasenovo polje, few kilometers north from Niksic, towards Šavnik is a rock, also equipped with several routes. Up to 20 m in height, route difficulties are in the VII-IX range. The only artificial cliffs in Montenegro are, for now, in Nikšić. The first in on the outside wall of the unfinished Dom Revolucije ( Revolution Center), accessible to all and the other is in the indoor Sport Center. Climbing on its possible by arrangements with the members of Mountain Skiing Association “ Javorak”.
On the way of Kolašin towards ski center “Jezerine”, in the Biočinovići village, there is an equipped free climbing polygon on a 40 meters high crag. It is dividend in two sectors, where the first one is directly next to the road, while the other one is ten minutes away, along the path through the woods. Terrain is situated in the pinewood shade and offers excellent conditions for escape from summer heat. Routes are equipped systematically, with a goal to cover ad much wider range of difficulties as it is possible and to adjust space for climbers of different level of knowledge, skill and physical predisposition, especially for the beginners and less ambitions amateurs. Equipping the routes of higher difficulties is left to the future climber’ s interests, since at that time beginning of the works on equipping of the route, beside few enthusiasts willing to try this discipline, rarely anyone in Kolašin was interested in free climbing. Arranging of this polygon was founded in May 2008, with the assistance of the Austran-Montenegro Partnership “Bjelasica and Komovi” and members of the Outdoor Club from Podgorica.
Few kilometers away from Rožaje towards Novi Pazar, in the Ibar River canyon is, for now, the only equipped climbing place in this region. Rock is located along the river, behind the first tunnel on the main road that leads from town to the north. Since the routes are under the royal line, the acces is rather difficult, and the safest way to come down to their bottom is by a rope. The routes are in VI-VIII range, of medium difficulty.
The development of free climbing on Prokletije received an unexpected surge in May 2008. On four locations in the Gusinje surrounding, several free climbing polygons were equipped with 65 routes in the III-X UIAA range. Polygons are located on Alipašini izvori ( 30 routes), Troja ( 10 routes), Đerani (13 routes) and in the Grbaja valley near mountain home ( 13). As in the Kolašin climbing sport, these polygons are primarily intended for beginners and recreational climbers, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that about half of the routes include line difficulties over VII, so that even the best climbers won’t be bored.
Free climbing season in Montenegro lasts in general during the whole year, but optimal conditions on individual locations vary depending on exposure, altitude and current temperatures. Spring and autumn are always the most secure options, while during summer and winter everything depends on the temperature. In lower and area closer to the sea, average winter temperatures are about 10˚C, which is completely acceptable for climbing. It is even better if the rock is exposed to the Sun during some period of the day. On the other hand, these rocks are totally “non climbable” during summer, since no one enjoys the temperature +40˚and more, therefore it is necessary to search the rocks on higher mountains, of the ones that are in total shade. All this means that a global season doesn’t exist for this discipline, instead there are more micro-seasons and individual best conditions. Therefore, during any time of the year suitable conditions can be found. All arranged climbing rocks in Montenegro are in direct vicinity of good and frequent traffic corridors. Whichever you choose, the access will not take more than half an hour walk from the car, just as much as it takes to drive from the nearest city to the last parking zone.
NOTE: It is not known whether any kind of tax on free climbing is charged anywhere in Montenegro. State regulation does not include such mechanisms and as long as you stick to the public property, your freedom to climb to your heart’s content won’t be jeopardized by anyone. It the routes are in the marked private property, than it is necessary to get approval from the owner, which may include a certain monetary compensation. The routes on the territory of national parks also do not fall under regime of special charges, but in order to climb in such places you should pay an entrance fee to the park or general residence tax.
As for all mountain activities, one of the main asset of Montenegro in the field of free climbing is that it is almost completely undiscovered. Despite familiar and frequently visited climbing destinations in Europe and USA, where routes are literarily few meters away from each other, here is common not to have single route on entire mountains, although there are thousands of possible routes. If you want to add to the list of climbed routes some that are completely yours, you will find an ideal terrain in Montenegro. You will more often be left without inspiration for route names, then without routes for new climbers.
If you want to complete your stay in Montenegro with enjoying in free climbing, you will have to bring the full equipment. Although there are few teams or individuals that are doing free climbing and have to acceptable equipment, and are sometimes willing to borrow it, there is not a single shop where you could by some pieces of technical climbing equipment-climbing shoes, rope, chalk or quickdraws, etc. Therefore, check that you have not forgotten something.
Montenegro Hostel Team