In 199, Vladimir Trpovski and Lazar Lazarov opened and climbed the first sport climbing route in this sector “Jambo Jet” 6c+. After, in 1992, Vladimir organized the first climbing competition on natural rock on the routes Speleoloska, Macedonia Cup and A1 Dino. Year by year, new sport climbing routes were opened.
The first 7a route in Macedonia is also in Matka, on the sector Centrala, opened and climbed by Vladimir Trpovski. The name of the route is Centrala Extreme. From that time, a lot of climbers learned how to work on new routes and many opened up in Matka. Many thanks to Leo Urbanc, Zoran Pejkovski, Dejan Petrovski, Alexandar Corbeski, Sveto Antovik, Ilija Ristovski, Kostantin Ciriviri, MIha Golob, who helped Matka become a legendary place for sport climbing in Macedonia
MATKA is 15 km west of Skopje, on the way to Tetovo. It offers both traditional and sport climbing routes. Matka is a wilderness area centered on the River Treska and Lake Matka. In the area there are Macedonian Orthodox monasteries dating from the 13th century that are accessible along easy trails. You can get to Matka by car or by bus No 60 from Skopje. The bus leaves every 100 minutes from Skopje central bus station, above the city Railway station.
The first landmark for the trails around Matka is the hydroelectric plant near the dam outlet. To find the hydro plant from the small parking lot at the gate, continue by foot on the paved road along the river. A couple hundred meters beyond the hydro plant, right on the shore of the lake is a mountain refuge.
To find it, head right at the hydro plant and follow a trail cut into the rock. The refuge, also named Matka, offers food, lodging and camping in the vicinity. Another lodging place for sleeping is refuge "Konak” place in monastery St. Nikola Shishevski, high above the refuge on the other side of the lake. The refuge is a couple hundred meters beyond the hydroelectric plant at the dam, along a trail cut into the rock. St. Nikola. Most of the routes are accessible by the trail that begins over the large dam outlet near the hydroelectric plant or by taking a small boat from the refuge to the opposite shore and scrambling up the slope. There are two springs along the trail.
*Rock structure: The rock is a limestone conglomerate, giving it a very craggy appearance. Be carefully on this-- sometimes there is loose rock, especially after winter when the rock gives a false impression of solidity.
*Climbing season: With good weather, you can climb in Matka all year round. The periods from March through June and from September through November are best, although in winter there are also some good days for climbing. During midsummer, early morning and late afternoon climbs will keep you out of the heat.
*Protection: Traditional routes are relatively well protected with pitons. Because of the rock composition, the security of pitons can vary - be careful. Sport climbing routes are bolt protected. In the summer be aware of snakes.
*Equipment: Standard gear for traditional or sport climbing: dynamic rope, 15-25 quick draws (depending of the route), helmets, shoes, harness etc
CLIMBING SECTORS AT MATKA
Sector: OTMAR'S ROCK
Location: Take the trail that leads down to the lake from St. Nikola Shishevski to the base of the south/southwest side of this crag. At the fork in the trail, take the path on the right. The routes are easy to find since they are marked with small blue and white painted signs. All routes on Otmar's finish on the top of the ridge that also defines the route Novogodishen. Follow this route back to the monastery. It’s usually always in sight and makes a good landmark.
Sector: MATKA HUT
*Location: There are several routes on the rock face immediately around the refuge. Late spring, summer and early autumn are best for climbing in this area, since it is north facing. Be careful after rain, the rock dries slowly.
*Location: This crag is on the right of the main trail when you are going to the monastery St. Nikola Shishevski, about 200 meters on the left side from the hydro plant as you are approaching.
*Climbing season: Summer. Cliff is north facing.
*Location: This rock is located up to the refuge Matka, on 200m distance from the lake. It is on the right side of the main mountain trail, this start from the mountain refuge Matka.
Sector: MATKINO TRLO
*Location: From St. Nikola, take the first trail on the right which generally follows a ridge system toward Mt. Vodno. There are small blue sings painted on rocks to help find the way.
*Rock structure: The rock is hard limestone.
*Climbing season: All year, depending on weather and time of the day. All routes are south facing.
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