Hiking Parangul Mare Peak via Jietului Valley – Parangul Mare Peak is the fourth highest peak in Romania and the highest in the Parang Massif.
The Parang Mountains are similar in view to Fagaras Mountains and Retezat Mountains, having both august alpine ridges and numerous glacier lakes. Seen from Petrosani, the Parang Mountains seem like an immense mountainous bastion.
General description: Parang Massif contains all the mountains between Olt, Jiu and Strei – the Parang Mountains, Capatanii Mountains, Lotrului Mountains, Cindrel Mountains, and Sureanu Mountains, forming a vast expanse of about 100 km long (west to east) and 70-80 km wide (north to south), being the widest massif in the Southern Carpathians (Carpatii Meridionali).
The Parang Mountains occupy the south-western region of the massif, with a length of 32 km (west to east) and a maximum width of 33 km (north to south). The Parang Mountains pertain to the administrative counties of Gorj (south), Hunedoara (north) and Vilcea (east).
Parang Mountains’ natural borders are some important rivers: Jiul, Jiul de Est, Oltetul, Lotrul and their tributaries.
Description of the route that leads to Parangul Mare via Jietului Valley – Touristic marker: red circle
Access: you will have to get to Groapa Seaca Cabin, from where the touristic marker begins. The access road is DN7A which links Petrosani and Voineasa.
We recommend you set off from Petrosani city, the most important city from the upper basin of Jiu, with a population of over 30,000 inhabitants. The city dates back to the eighteenth century and it started and expanded as a centre of the coal industry. Communication with the main cities of Romania is established via railway or highway.
From Petrosani you will have to drive (preferably your personal car, or any rental car), because the road (DN7A) is not very circulated, and the Groapa Seaca Lodge is found at about 20 km away from the city.
Parking lot: setting off to Parangul Mare you can leave your car near the Groapa Seaca lodge. You can consider this area as safe.
Camping or accommodation: if you wish to stay for a couple of days in the area, you have a few options:
Camping- along the route recommended by Travel Guide Romania you won’t find any spots for camping. In Romania you can camp in any place since it is considered bivouac. You have though the option of camping (for several nights) near Obirsia Lotrului Cabin.
We recommend camping in the route’s access area, without bringing extra equipment for camping on the mountains. You will only have a heavy load and it will impede your physical ability of hiking.
The refuge – along the route, approximately two hours away from the concrete road (Petrosani-Voineasa) there is a shelter (Agatat Shelter) where you can spend the night. Its conditions are quite good, and the advantage is that you don’t have to carry your tent if you decide to spend the night in the mountains.
The lodge – you can spend the night at Groapa Seaca Cabin or at Obirsia Lotrului Cabin.
The ‘red circle’ touristic route starts from approximately 200 m from Groapa Seaca Cabin, towards Petrosani, near what is identified on the map as Coltul Jietului, near the former forestry Jiet cabin (1200 m altitude).
Duration of the route – it depends on the team’s pace, but it should be about 5 to 6 hour and a half. If you reach the area of Lung Lake in more than 4 hours, we suggest you return to avoid possible unpleasant situations.
The total distance is 13 km.
The level difference is 1300 m.
The first part of the route is a hike on a forestry road along the Jiet Valley and the Plaiul lui Dancila Knoll of approximately 4 km. Upstream there is the Jiet Brook that forks into Rosiile Brook and Gheres Brook (1415 m altitude).
The ‘red circle’ touristic marker continues along the Rosiile Brook. Next is an ascent through the woods for about 20 minutes until the Agatat shelter area (1440 m altitude).
We continue the ascent on a slope covered with thick mountain pines, with species like Pinus Cembra. We must be careful because the path forks here (many routes are for domestic animals which are sent to grass).
The ‘red circle’ touristic route continues on the right side of the versant on our direction. At approximately 100 m level difference level, the route reaches the valley again.
The vegetation in the Parang Massif – beyond the upper limit of the forest (approximately 1800 m altitude), numerous mountain pines knit the edge of the coniferous trees. There are large areas of juniper bushes, snow rose bushes, blueberries, and blackberries.
On the inferior glacier cauldron one could see the Zanoaga Stanei Lake (near the Stana Rosiile) which can be easily spotted after the immense block of stone in the south-eastern corner. It is also called Taul Stanii. There is the Mic Lake nearby, towards the east.
Stana Rosiile (1925 m altitude), a former sheep fold, is currently an abandoned mess of rocks which unfortunately cannot be used not even for a bivouac.
On the middle glacier cauldron there are two glacier lakes: Rosiile Lake (the widest and deepest glacier lake in Parang, with a surface of 3.76 ha and a depth of 17.6 m) and the Lung Lake, a lake with an elongated and narrow shape.
From here you can see very well the rocky hillside that divides the two superior compartments of the Rosiile Cauldron trough Tancul Rosu. This is the access route to the main ridge from Rosiile Cauldron in the wintertime.
We continue our hike towards the superior glacier cauldron where we can find Mandra Lake (surface of 1.12 ha and a depth of 8.3 m), situated at 2160 m altitude, this being the highest situated lake in the Parang Mountains. We recommend you take a short break before climbing the 300 m level difference that will lead you to the main knoll of the Parang and then to the Parangul Mare Peak.
At the intersection of the main ridge of Parangului mountains (Sura Gruiului area) you will encounter the ‘red stripe’ marker (route used for covering the main ridge of the Parang Mountains). Twenty more minutes along the knoll, with Rosiile Cauldron on the right side, and you will reach Parangul Mare Peak.
Parangul Mare Peak, altitude of 2519 m. A concrete landmark and a metal post will signal the fact that you reached the fourth highest peak in Romania. We recommend you take a break here to view the excellent picturesque scenery offered by the mountains. It would be also good that before your return to the lodge to grab something sweet to eat to replenish your stamina.
The return – if you do not wish to continue the route for the knoll (only if you are prepared for the bivouac!), we recommend you follow the same marker and trail (the ‘red circle’). It will take you approximately 3 hours. Try to dose your effort; the route is strenuous even in descent.
The geology of the place: Jietului Valley, the one from where we ascend, hosted the greatest glacier in the Parang Mountains, with a length of 5.5 km, having a series of lateral glaciers as tributaries (east-west). Parallel to the glacier, but southern, there used to be the Calcescu glacier, with a length of almost 5 km. There are still many glacier lakes present in the glacier cauldron.
Taking a closer look in the Parang Mountains segment and it will reveal the former existence of several glacier lakes that are currently choking.
To be noted is that on the surface of the Jietului Valley, the glacier descends until the Cotul Fietului region (1100 m, from where the ‘red circle’ marker starts), area where you can see accumulations of various granite blocks, abandoned by the glacier.
The recommended period for covering the route – in the Parang Mountains, the cold season extends on a period of approximately 8 months, from October until May, usually with persistent snow on higher grounds. The warm season (June-September) alternates between humid and dry periods, favourable for hiking.
Recommended nutrition – because the route takes about 16 km (both ways) and a level difference of 1300 m, you will have to eat a considerable amount of carbohydrates (e.g. pasta), that would give you strength throughout the day. We suggest you take in turns: dried fruit, peanuts and sweets.
Don’t forget to hydrate throughout the hike. The minimum recommended water intake for effort is 2.5 l. If you overlook the water intake, you won’t be efficient.
Useful tip – try to avoid drinking energizers, especially if you haven’t drunk before. You won’t know your body’s reaction to the substances, and the mountain isn’t the best place to experiment with your body.
Necessary equipment – for a day trip in the summer, take a jacket and pants against wind and rain (at over 1800 m altitude, the weather is quite unstable, changing at any time), pocket knife, a torch – in case you spend the night on the trail – survival tarp (in extreme cases it can be used for the bivouac to avoid hypothermia), a small rucksack, water recipient and a cap that could prevent any cases of heatstroke.
Don’t take many items with you, in the sense that you won’t have a large rucksack that might impede your advancement in the mountains. We suggest you take a camera with you, because the scenery is truly unforgettable.
In case of emergency or accidents -the urgency call in Romania is 112 – you will then be directed to your area’s Mountain Rescue Team.