From Small to Big Cold Valley through Priečne sedlo (mountain-saddle). Both Small and Big Cold Valley belong among the most visited valleys in the whole High Tatras. Many consider them the most beautiful valleys of this mountain range.The tour is all-day long
and difficult which satisfy also demanding tourist fans and lovers of high-mountain hiking. Good equipment and clothing is required. Priečne sedlo (mountain-saddle) which we are going to pass is located in the altitude of 2352 m.a.s.l. In its lower part we often walk across the snow fields even in the summer time and the terrain above requires more climbing than hiking.
Our starting point is the upper stop of funicular train called Hrebienok (1285m.a.s.l.). It is very important to set off early in the morning because we have at least 9 hour tour ahead of us with the elevation of 1100 meters.We will follow the red tourist sign right from the funicular train stop walking on wide flat foot trail above waterfalls of Studený potok (Cold creek) and Reiner´s shelter till we get to Starolesnianska poľana, where is the crossroad of the red and the blue tourist tracks. We will keep following the red sign. The foot trail will change into more rocky. We´ll cross the creek on the wooden bridge heading to the Monumental waterfall which creates the last rock barrier of Small Cold Valley before it flows into Big Cold Valley. Going above the massive rocky gully, probably the highest one in the Tatras, we´ll get to Zamborského chalet (chalet). It is located in the very nice environment on the interface between wood and knee timber. The chalet is in all-season operation offering wide choice of dishes and refreshments. It is important to gain new strength and refill water before the alpine part.
Further behind the chalet we get to the area of knee timber and we have the wonderful view of the whole valley seeing Téryho (Tery´s) chalet on the other mountain side. The journey from Hrebienok to Zamborského chalet takes about an hour and from there to Téryho chalet another two more hours. From Zamborského chalet we will follow green track because red would lead us to Rocky mountain lake (Skalnaté pleso). In the valley there are mixed vegetation zones which means that right after knee timber zone we will see tall spruces again. On the left side we will see Middle ridge (Prostredný hrebeň) with Middle peak (Prostredný hrot, 2441 m.a.sl.), which separates Small and Big Cold Valley. On the right side starts a saddlebow of Lomnický shield going from Lomnický ridge till Lomnický shield and we will have a beautiful view of it from Téryho chalet and Priečne sedlo (saddle).The most difficult part between the chalets is right bellow Tery´s chalet. We will have to climb between the rocks till we reach the altitude of 2015 meters. There we will get the open view of the Five Spiš mountain lakes and surrounding ridges, folds and shields. It is a reward for the hard climbing. Now we get to another level, we are in the heart of high mountains and we can truly say we´ve been to the Tatras and not only at the edge. Here you find only rocks, glacier lakes, creeks, little bit of grass, snow and all around you see the highest shields of the Tatras right after the Gerlachovský shield- which is only 20 meters higher than the Lomnický shield (2634 m.a.s.l.), more to the left is the Proud shield (Pyšný štít- 2623 m.a.s.l.) and further on the north is the Glacial shield (Ľadový štít- 2627 m.a.s.l.)- which is also the highest shield of the Tatras´ main ridge.
After a enjoying this spectacular view and a break at the Tery´s chalet we will keep following the green track till we reach the crossroads in the Dolinka pod Sedielkom. Here we will change from green to yellow tourist track and turn left heading to Priečne sedlo (mountain-saddle). I have to mention at this point, that this is the last chance to turn back for those who don´t have the appropriate equipment. The Priečne mountain-saddle is only one-way and passing through here without adequate equipment is life-threatening. The snow fields in this area in July are quiet normal and going across them without tourist staves is at least very exhausting and slow. Climbing-irons are also very helpful. Cap, gloves, waterproof sports jacket and warm clothing are needed. If the conditions are fine, the climb from the Tery´s chalet to the Priečne sedlo takes an hour and half. We have to count with fog which can appear in a few minutes, snowing and frost cover are possible also in summer. We move on the reef with clips and chains. When we finally get to the top in front of us opens a completely new view of the High Tatras- the Gerlachovský shield at the back, to the left in front of it is a saddlebow of the Slavkovský shield which looks even better from the north than from the south and persuades us that it deserves to be called a shield. Below us are wide high-mountain wolds all around the Shooter´s tower surrounded with many mountain lakes till the Zbojnícka wold.
From the Priečne mountain-saddle we descent with the help of the footrests inserted in the rock. The tour afterwards is not that challenging anymore, but we have to stay careful about the rock screes. Slack rocks move under the feet and we have to watch every step. After we come down to the mountain-saddle we will go a long way through the rocky wolds to reach the Zbojnícka chalet. We will be going through the kingdom of chamoises and marmots and it is quite possible that we will get to see some chamoises in this area. Along the Starolesnianske and the Sesterské mountain lake we will get to the Zbojnícka chalet in another hour and half. This chalet is more remote and quieter than the Tery´s chalet. It is ideal place for relax. After refreshing break we set off for the Big Cold Valley- Hrebienok. From Zbojnícka chalet we will follow the blue track. The track leads along the Long and the Vareškové mountain lake down across the rocky barrier into the Big Cold Valley. We will cross the Cold creek that will be making our journey pleasant by its purl and roar of the waterfalls. After two hours of lively walking beneath the Slavkovský shield ( 2452 m.a.s.l.) we will get to the Starolesnianska poľana to the red tourist sign and in another 20 minutes to our starting and also final point- Hrebienok. Here we can once again look at the map and see what we have passed and overcome- all together we will walk 16,5 kilometers in high-mountain terrain and in our heads and hears we will carry impressions from another beautiful part of the Tatras- Small and Big Cold Valley in the High Tatras.When planning the tour, keep in mind that the funicular train leaves every half an hour from 7 am. to 7:30 pm. If we miss the last one, we will have to walk another half an hour down to Smokovec.