Via Ferrata “White Wolf” – Women’s Cave, Galbenul Gorge, Baia de Fier, Gorj (21 routes) (English) (A; B; C; D; E)

Main route: D      ↔ 400m      ↑ 100m      ⏱ 1h vf / 1h30 total

View details in Romanian.

The via ferrata routes in Baia de Fier, Gorj county, were built by “White Wolf” mountain club. There are a total of 21 routes, ranging from easy to very difficult: 1) “Spirala Muierilor” (Women’s Spiral), 2) “Creasta Pesterii” (Cave’s Ridge), 3) “Marea Crapatura” (Big Crack), 4) “Spirala Mica” (Small Spiral), 5) Loreley, 6) “Pantera Roz” (Pink Panther), 7) “Amfiteatrul Zmeilor” (Dragons Amphitheater), 8) “Saritoarea Ursului” (Bear’s Jump), 9) “Spirala Medie” (Medium Spiral), 10) Laura, 11) Vanturilor, 12) Virus, 13) Antivirus, 14) Kuky, 15) Mecanicul, 16) Jnepeni, 17) Giuliana, 18) Dodo, 19) Iulia, 20) Irina, 21) Gelu.

Schita harta trasee la Baia de Fier
Overview of all routes at Baia de Fier

Summary:

  • Length main route 400m; 13 routes in total
  • Vertical climb main route 100m
  • Difficulty main route D
  • GPS acces/Parking: 45°11’35.1″N 23°45’17.4″E or 45.193083,23.754833 (geo)
  • Access hiking duration: 5 min
  • Via ferrata duration main route: 1h
  • Return hiking duration: 20 min
  • Total time: 1h30
  • Best time: May – October, except for when it’s rainy and the rocks become slippery

Compared to other Romanian via ferrata routes, these routes have fewer artificial holds, on their difficult sections only. The cable is loose and thinner than recommended in the EN 16869 standard, “Design/construction of Via Ferratas”, so be extra careful if you decide to try these routes. Alternatively, you can find other routes in Romania with a regular, thick cable.

Access: The Women’s Cave (Pestera Muierilor in Romanian) in Baia de Fier can be easily reached by car, being located at 8km from the national road DN67 Râmnicu Vâlcea – Târgu Jiu. The easiest way to get here is by searching “Pestera Muierilor” on your maps app and get directions for it. Use the GPS coordinates above as an alternative.

The first 3 routes have a common starting point. Heading to the Women’s Cave entrance, bypass the stairs on their left, up to the base of the stone wall. You’ll find here a panel with via ferrata info. Start GPS coordinates for the routes “Spirala Muierilor” (Women’s Spiral), “Creasta Pesterii” (Cave’s Ridge) and “Marea Crapatura” (Big Crack): 45°11’32.6″N 23°45’14.4″E or 45.192390,23.754000.

“Spirala Mica” (Small Spiral) starts a few meters further, at GPS 45°11’32.0″N 23°45’16.0″E or 45.192230,23.754440.

„Saritoarea Ursului” (Bear’s Jump) and „Spirala Medie” (Medium Spiral) start at  45°11’28.8″N 23°45’18.4″E or 45.191320,23.755110. From the starting point of “Spirala Muierilor” you continue for a few minutes on the footpath below the climbing routes, until you reach an area marked with “Zona G” and a signpost with the two via ferratas. Walk a bit further and you’ll find the start to “Dodo”.

“Loreley” and “Pantera Roz” (Pink Panther) start at 45°11’33.8″N 23°45’21.9″E or 45.192730,23.756090, on the opposite side of the river, before the bridge that crosses over. You’ll also find here a via ferrata info panel, from where you’ll climb a short but steep footpath up to the start of the iron cable.

“Amfiteatrul Zmeilor” (Dragons Amphitheater) start at 45°11’21.9″N 23°45’23.6″E or 45.189420,23.756560. Next to it start the routes “Virus”, “Antivirus”, “Laura”, “Iulia”, “Irina”.

“Kuky”, “Gelu”, “Mecanicul”, “Jnepeni”, and “Giuliana” can all be accessed from the exit of Women’s Cave.

Difficulty: Grades are from A (very easy) to E (extreme).

Route 1 – “Spirala Muierilor” (Women’s Spiral) or “Spirala Mare” (Big Spiral)

  • Length: 400m
  • Vertical climb: 100m
  • Difficulty: D (hard, difficult)
  • GPS Start Via Ferrata: 45°11’32.6″N 23°45’14.4″E or 45.192390,23.754000
  • Duration: 1h
  • Can be done at night; the stone wall is lit but you’ll need headlamps too
Via ferrata route “Spirala Muierilor” (Women’s Spiral) in Baia de Fier, Gorj.

This is the fifth hardest route in Baia de Fier, after Laura (E), Irina (E), Gelu (E), and Amfiteatrul Zmeilor (Dragons Amphitheater) (D). The first segment is shared with “Creasta Pesterii” and “Marea Crapatura”. After that, you continue on your left at the first cable split. It has many difficult sections and a retreat option via “Spirala Mica” route, one third of the way up. You’ll see the retreat option when you reach an “Indian Bridge” (optional). After this point come the harder sections.

You return to the base of the mountain by following the ridge line for a few meters, then turn right and follow a visible footpath through the woods, downwards.

Route 2 – “Creasta Pesterii” (Cave’s Ridge)

The first segment is shared with “Spirala Muierilor” and “Marea Crapatura”. After that, you continue on the left at the second cable split. It contains a more difficult vertical section, in the third part of the route. You return to the base of the mountain by following the ridge line for a few meters, then by following a visible footpath through the woods. Alternatively, you can go down on the via ferrata route “Marea Crapatura” paying extra attention to other people climbing up.

Route 3 – “Marea Crapatura” (Big Crack)

The first segment is shared with “Spirala Muierilor” and “Creasta Pesterii”. You keep up and right past two cable splits and continue all the way to the top. You return to the base of the mountain by following the ridge line for a few meters, then by following a visible footpath through the woods.

Route 4 – “Spirala Mica” (Small Spiral)

This route is usually used to climb-down from “Spirala Muierilor”, the main route, in case of abandon or weather changing. If you want to use this route to get to the top of the rock, you’ll also be doing a big part of route 1, “Spirala Muierilor”, which is rated “D”, including the hard parts.

Route 5 – “Loreley”

  • Length: 300m
  • Vertical climb: 105m
  • Difficulty: B (easy)
  • GPS Start Via Ferrata: 45°11’33.8″N 23°45’21.9″E or 45.192730,23.756090
  • Duration: 30min
  • Opened in December 2015

The first segment is shared with “Pantera Roz”. After that, “Loreley” goes straight up, almost up to the ridge. You return via the hiking route “Belvedere”, left or right, marked with a red dot, or climb-down on the same route.

Photo by: JetSetYourselfYouTube and Instagram

Route 6 – “Pantera Roz” (Pink Panther)

  • Length: 500m
  • Vertical climb: 250m (154m by cable)
  • Difficulty: D (hard)
  • GPS Start Via Ferrata: 45°11’33.8″N 23°45’21.9″E or 45.192730,23.756090
  • Duration: 1h
  • Opened in Spring 2017
Via ferrata route “Pantera Roz” (Pink Panther) in Baia de Fier, Gorj. Photo: Gorjeanul.ro

The first segment is shared with “Loreley”. After that, you continue left at the first cable split. A horizontal grassy traverse gets you to 3, very fun, caverns (3rd one is quite narrow), that you will have to pass through. After the caverns come the hardest part of the route, a more demanding vertical climb, then a horizontal traverse to the right, then up to the ridge. You return via the hiking route “Belvedere”, left or right, marked with a red dot, or climb-down on “Loreley” – the shortest exit.

Route 7 – “Amfiteatrul Zmeilor” (Dragons Amphitheater)

To enter the route, you start in the big parking lot, in front of Vila Nico pension, just after the main road crosses the river, when going towards Women’s Cave. From here, you follow the river downstream, on the right side of it, on a footpath right next to the water. In a few minutes you reach a tree with a “via ferrata” sign and an arrow pointing right. This is where you start hiking towards the rocks, following a visible, but narrower, footpath. In a couple of minutes you reach the start of the via ferrata cable for the route Laura. 10 meters further is the start of this route.

After climbing this route, we believe it to be tougher than Spirala Muierilor (Women’s Spiral), Wild Ferenc, or the main route at Astragalus. There are no artificial holds/aids, only the cable (8mm thick only) and the rocks.

The first part of the via ferrata is relatively easy, with the hardest sections being at the end. After the first segments which we believe to be B/C, the route reaches a 10 meters tall chimney, with a small entrance at the bottom. Up to here, there is just one slightly more difficult passage – if you struggled so far, consider going back, since the route gets harder.

The route through the chimney is easy enough, with the exit being, again, quite narrow – could not go through with a backpack on our backs.

After the chimney, you can rest at the bottom of a tall vertical wall, which is traversed by the via ferrata cable in a zigzag pattern. A rest here is recommended because the vertical wall ahead can be demanding. This wall can be avoided by going left at its base, then up around it (warning, this section is exposed!), although we did not personally verified this option.

After the zigzag section, the route continues upwards with the last segment, which is again, difficult. Before heading upwards though, you can enter “Grota Corbului” (the Raven’s Cave). Here you have the option to skip the last vertical section by entering the Raven’s Cave and exiting it to the right, then following a narrow valley downwards, marked with blue and red paint. We did not personally verified this option either, so tread carefully.

The route can be done in about 1 hour and 30 minutes – we did it in 2 hours, with some rests.

From the top, you can return to Pestera Muierilor (Women’s Cave) by going straight up until you reach the ridge line, on markings with a blue dot and red circle. At the ridge, keep going forward and follow the same markings until you cross the tourist path marked with a Blue Triangle. At this point, turn right, downwards to Pestera Muierilor.

Route 8 – „Saritoarea Ursului” (Bear’s Jump)

It starts in the same point as the Medium Spiral (route 9 below) and the first, easy part, is common between the two routes. You reach a junction where the Medium Spiral route goes to the right and the Bear’s Jump continues straight upwards. The next part is the crux of the route: a crack between two vertical rocks. This is where the route gets its name from. The route builder advised us to follow the crack, but we found it easier to first go upwards into the right dihedral, then immediately cross left into the main crack. Use caution here as the last fixed anchor is below you at this point and there are no artificial aids except for the cable. The only easy way to bail out and exit the route here is by going back, the same way you came in.

Next on the route is another, much smaller, vertical section that you’ll need to “jump” over, into a short couloir that ends into route 3, “Marea Crapatura” (Big Crack) – the junction is marked with a horizontal tree, placed as a barrier. You are now near the ridge and you can, if you keep right, cross a wire bridge, or skip it by turning left and go straight on the ridge.

You return to the base of the mountain by following the ridge line for a few meters, then turn right and follow a visible footpath through the woods, downwards.

Route 9 – „Spirala Medie” (Medium Spiral)

Heading to the Women’s Cave entrance, bypass the stairs on their left, up to the base of the stone wall. You’ll find here a panel with via ferrata info for the first 3 routes. Continue for a few minutes on the footpath at the base of the climbing walls, until you reach an area marked with “Zona G” and a signpost for the common entrance to “Saritoarea Ursului” and “Spirala Medie” via ferratas.

“Spirala Medie” can be split into 3 segments: the first part is common with “Saritoarea Ursului”, a standalone middle part, and a third part in common with “Spirala Muierilor”.

The first part is relatively easy. You then reach a crossing where “Saritoarea Ursului” continues upwards and “Spirala Medie” to the right, with a long horizontal traverse.

The route then intersects “Spirala Muierilor” just before the hardest section of it, a vertical section where you’ll find a few artificial aids in place as well. The only easy way to bail out and exit the route before the hard, vertical part is by going back the route, the same way you came in, but take into account the number of people on the route at that time.

After the vertical section, the route’s difficulty is medium. At the end you cross a wire bridge.

You return to the base of the mountain by following the ridge line for a few meters, then turn right and follow a visible footpath through the woods, downwards.

Route 10 – Laura

  • Length: 180m
  • Vertical climb: 100m
  • Difficulty: E (very hard)
  • GPS Start Via Ferrata:  45°11’22.5″N 23°45’22.9″E or 45.189578,23.756361
  • Duration: ?
  • Opened in September 2018

To enter the route, you start in the big parking lot, in front of Vila Nico pension, just after the main road crosses the river, when going towards Women’s Cave. From here, you follow the river downstream, on the right side of it, on a footpath right next to the water. In a few minutes you reach a tree with a “via ferrata” sign and an arrow pointing right. This is where you start hiking towards the rocks, following a visible, but narrower, footpath. In a couple of minutes you reach the start of the via ferrata cable. 10 meters further is the start of Amfiteatrul Zmeilor (Dragons Amphitheater) via ferrata.

The route is mostly vertical, with no artificial aids except the cable itself. Good climbing skills are required.

Route 11 – “Vanturilor” (a close translation would be “Of the Winds”)

  • Length: 250m
  • Vertical climb: 140m
  • Difficulty: D (hard)
  • GPS Start Via Ferrata: pending… (close to Spirala Mica’s start)
  • Duration: 1h
  • Opened on February 9th, 2020

Route 12 – “Virus”

Route 13 – “Antivirus”

Route 14 – “Kuky”

  • Vertical climb: 100m
  • Difficulty: B (easy) with variant C (medium)
  • GPS Start Via Ferrata: 45°11’12.5″N 23°45’21.3″E or 45.186793,23.755909
  • Duration: 30min
  • Opened in 2021

Kuky starts near the stairs going up to the exit of the Women’s Cave. Be very careful on this route because there are many loose rocks just above the rock climbing wall and the stairs used by visitors exiting the cave. Return trail is to the left at the end of the cable, marked with a blue dot and red cross.

Route 15 – “Mecanicul” (the Mechanic)

Mecanicul starts right at the exit of the Women’s Cave, past the metal rail. After a few exterior sections, you enter a bright vertical cave, where three routes meet. The Jnepeni route is on one wall, Gelu on another, and metal rings on yet another wall. The metal rings are part of Mecanicul route. We recommend a personal anchor device with an HMS carabiner for this section, in case you get tired on the longer vertical parts. After the cave come easier sections. Return trail is to the left at the end of the cable, marked with a blue dot and red cross.

Route 16 – “Jnepeni” (Junipers)

Jnepeni starts near the exit from Women’s Cave. To access it, you need to go across the metal rail and move forward on the narrow trail at the base of the rock wall. After a few moderate sections, you enter a bright vertical cave, where on one wall you climb Jnepeni and on two other walls you can see the routes Mecanicul and Gelu. There’s a traverse next, a heart shapped cave, and a final section with rock ridges and grass. Return trail is to the left at the end of the cable, marked with a blue dot and red cross.

Route 17 – “Giuliana”

Giuliana starts a few meters next to Jnepeni. Like all the other routes, you climb mainly on natural holds. The top is above the routes Mecanicul, Jnepeni, Kuky. Return trail is marked with a blue dot and red cross. You’ll see it on your right as you go down a bit on the ridge after you finish the route.

Route 18 – “Dodo”

Route 19 – “Iulia”

Route 20 – “Irina”

Route 21 – “Gelu”

The route “Gelu” starts right next to the exit from Women’s Cave. It contains a section with a wooden plank which slides on the cables, similar to some adventure park concepts.

Prices: free.

Mandatory gear: alpine helmet, alpine harness, via ferrata set. Optionally, gloves.

You can rent equipment from White Wolf Mountain Club, but call ahead.

WheaterMeteoblue Baia de FierViewweather Pestera Muierilor.

Emergency calls+40.SALVAMONT, which is actually +40.725.826.668, or 112, the European all around emergency number.

Videos:

Photos:

Sources:

2 thoughts on “Via Ferrata “White Wolf” – Women’s Cave, Galbenul Gorge, Baia de Fier, Gorj (21 routes) (English) (A; B; C; D; E)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.