Mountain huts see record footfall, over half foreign visitors
Ljubljana, 26 October - Slovenian mountain huts are looking back at a record season, having reported 120,000 nights spent by hikers by the end of September 2022, which the Alpine Association of Slovenia says is slightly above the record figures posted in 2019.
"Most nights were spent in the Julian Alps, in particular in the mountain huts in the broader area around Mt Triglav," Slovenia's highest peak, the association's official Dušan Prašnikar has said.
"Some huts around Mt Triglav had more than 75% foreign visitors. In general, the proportion of nights spent by foreigners in Slovenian mountain huts has topped one half, this year they represented 58%," Prašnikar added.
Like every year August was the busiest month but this year July was only 10% behind and even in June the number of nights spent was the highest in recent years, although September was below average due to poor weather.
"Notwithstanding the very successful mountain hiking season, the summer season in highlands [altitudes of up to 1,500 metres] was good, but not above average, except for some exceptions," said the official.
The weather this summer season was fine and mostly dry. Huts that depend on rainwater grappled with shortages and had to apply rationing measures.
"Huts restricted, some even turned off water for visitors to wash, at Kredarica, [the country's highest altitude mountain hut] the number of beds was reduced for a period of time, the huts restricted the use of water for staff, and in some places disposable paper or cardboard containers were used instead of dishes. In most cases, visitors tolerated those measures," said Prašnikar.
One problem is hikers leaving behind their rubbish at huts rather than taking it with them to the valley, which Prašnikar attributes to new groups of visitors who lack the awareness and the right attitude to mountains.
In the meantime, some of the mountain peaks have already been covered with fresh snow, which calls for particular caution lest accidents should happen.