From Fear to Enjoyment
We continue the story of the hidden pearls of our nature, Montenegrin canyons of which is little-known and written. This time we bring the story of the canyon on river Grlja, one of the natural wonders of Prokletije.

                                                       For those who love challenges

We continue the story of the hidden pearls of our nature, Montenegrin canyons of which is little-known and written. This time we bring the story of the canyon on river Grlja, one of the natural wonders of Prokletije.

Prokletije, or the "Southern Alps", often called, are one of the most interesting Balkan mountain ranges that characterize many features. This mountain is of particular interest to fans of mountaineering activities, re-presenting an unexplored part of the Mediterranean and probably of Europe. Its valleys are unique concentration of natural phenomena, characteristics and curiosities. Grbajsko-doljskas’ valley, the most beautiful pearl of Prokletije and picturesquely glacial valley Vruje in Gusinjskas’ part of this mountain range. This valley is dividing into two directions and its wellspring part, downstream to the  limestone rungs of Suk near Vusanje called Ropojana. In a relatively small space, about 10 kilometers long magic valley, alternating different types of natural rarities: geomorphologic, hydrological, floristic etc. Relieve diversity of the valley is morphological spectacular and attractive that makes the group of sharp jags Maja Šćokišta, powerful rocks and peaks Karanfil and vertical Bjeliča. 

The river flows through the valley Skakavica, which, with its smallish  course of 2.5 km and further course called Grlja, which flows through the canyon of the same name, 500 meters length, makes hydrographic rare, and certainly the most beautiful sight for the heart and soul of the visitors to this area. Skakavica is impetuous river with numerous cascades and very cold and clear water. The special beauty of this river gives its waterfalls, especially an unusual waterfall that is one of the largest karst springhead in Montenegro. Skakavičko springhead (Savins’eye) emerges from sinkholes in the Ropojana valley at an altitude of 1,010 m. The depth is 12 meters and eject to 10 m3 of water per second.


                                                             Canyon Grlje

 After 2.5 km through the valley Skakavica in the village Vusanje meets Vusanjskim stream and from there through flows the spectacular canyon named Grlja, coming out of the canyon to the angrier in Ljucu named Vruja. Grlje canyon is a phenomenon in itself, a mystical piece of nature for centuries has provoked curiosity and fear. For him, there are various legends. Local residents are particularly shunned the entrance to the canyon, a large crater in which the roaring waterfall falls down and looks like the entrance to an underground world. Probably people are imagining the gate of hell like this. The idea of this natural phenomenon by locals, increased the number of accidents to young people who have their adventure, curiosity to see the edge of the crater in the dark bowels of rocky and swallowing fiery latch and carelessness paid with their lives. The canyon has remained unknown and mystic until 1982, when two climbers from Plav managed to get into the canyon and went about 200 meters, where they were greeted by an insurmountable obstacle: a large waterfall. Honor of the first pass through the canyon belongs to rescue mountaineering team from Belgrade -"Kopaonik" led by renowned caver Milutin Rudaković. Using caving and rock-climbing equipment, in a difficult and risky operation, the team was able to break through the canyon in October 1987. After winning the canyon engineer Rudaković has developed a draft of its longitudinal profile. Since then, a small number of adventurers passed the canyon, and still, because of the technical characteristics and the water temperature is a major challenge for the experienced canonists.

The canyon Grlje is a narrow canyon notch, which river is broke through the limestone rung called Suk. In the emergence of the canyon, there is a scientific theory on which he was originally a subterranean riverbed, glacial creek that delved into this midriff. After melting of glaciers, where the riverbed has inherited Grlja, there was a ceiling collapse sinks. At two locations, there are natural bridges, which are the ceiling and testify about the former riverbed of the gulf. The canyon is 500 meters long, about 50 meters deep, a width between two and seven meters. The height difference from the entrances to the exits of the canyon is 65 meters.

The best time to pass through the canyon is early autumn, because the water level is the lowest. Anyway, due to its technical features and characteristics, passage requires exceptional readiness, experience and adequate equipment. One of the specific features of this canyon is the water temperature, which does not exceeding more than five degrees. Because of the cold water, it is so easy to earn hypothermia and the air temperature in the canyon, at the time when the passage is possible, it is three times lower than outside. Therefore, the canyon Grlje is the coldest in the region and this is the first issue of three, which are: vertical overcome weight and required time for the passage. Anyway, the passage of the canyons requires four to five hours, which is a feat in these conditions. The canyon is quite dark and reminiscent of the cave. In some parts, it is necessary to carry the lamp....

(Read the complete text of the printed issue of Renome number 7.)

By: Milan Radović

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