January 9, 2019 - Mountain Hajla on the border of Montenegro and Kosovo, on the second weekend of January, will host mountaineers from all over the region for the 22nd Memorial "Winter Climb of Safet Mavrić Ćako" organized by Mountain Club Hajla and the Tourist Organization of Rožaje. This year's climb is on Friday, 11 January.
The Hajla Memorial is one of the largest mountaineering events in Montenegro and carries the name of the famous mountaineer from Novi Pazar, who tragically hit the cliffs of Hajla on 6 January 1997. Safet Mavrić Cako spent a lot of time on Hajla preparing himself for numerous climbs and expeditions to the most demanding mountaineering destinations in the world. Thus, in January 1997, he was practicing here before heading for the Himalayan peaks. He was unlucky, and fell through the snow shelter near the tip of Hajla and lost his life," explains Anisa Bemić, a member of the Hajla Mountain Club and the Rožaje Tourist Organization Officer.
According to her, the memorial is a sporting challenge, but also an opportunity for mountaineers to remind themselves of the cautiousness and respect they need for the mountain. Hajla is still not tourism-valued, but has exceptional potential for the development of mountain tourism, primarily through offering content for winter sports.
photo by Zoran Radonjic
"The 22nd Memorial Climb attracted hikers from across the region and beyond. Like every year, we have mountaineers from Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, and Turkey. In recent years, more and more hikers are interested in participating."
Mountaineers will stay in “Katuni” in the village of Bandzov and in the mountain hut "Grope” at the very foot of the highest peak of the mountain of Hajla (2403 MNV). At the height of 1980 m, “Grope” is unique in the region. The capacity of the house is 40 beds and the other necessary accommodation facilities the Rožaje Tourist Organization provides in cooperation with the local population who has “Katuni” on the slopes of Hajla.
photo by Zoran Radonjic
The climb starts at the mountain hut, and this is a very demanding track, so the participants are obliged to bring the complete mountaineering equipment.
"Of course, the weight of the rise dictates the weather. Last year, all the participants managed to get to the top of Hajla, while two years ago the weather conditions were such that only four mountaineers managed this," explains Anisa, who has been participating in the memorial for many years. According to her, last year's visit was the largest so far, and 146 hikers reached the top of Hajla.
Asked how much Hajla's natural resources contribute the tourist offer of the Rožaje region, Anisa Bemić explains:
"The Municipality of Rožaje has developed a project for the future ski center on the mountain wreath Hajla-Ahmica-Stedim within the framework of the IPA Cross-border Co-operation between Montenegro and Albania, which is the basic prerequisite for the devised economic development of this area with exceptional natural potentials," said Rožaje Tourism Organization official.
According to her, such development projects are entirely justified and should become the cornerstones of the future development of this part of Montenegro, which also shows a great interest for snow borderers, freeride skiers, round skiers and other adrenaline snow sports fans for Hajla and the surrounding mountains.
The Ahmica Mountain Club is developing a large mountain lodge near the border with Kosovo, which should complement the mountain offer of Rožaje.
"We hope to link Stedim, Ahmic, Hajla and village Bandzov soon and be able to offer an integral story in summer and winter," Anisa says, calling on tourists and Montenegrin citizens to discover the mountain masses in the east of Montenegro.