Mălăiești Cottage in winter – truly amazing

Before we got to ski in Poiana Brașov we did a winter trail that we’ve dreamed of doing for about two years. I can’t exactly explain why we got so fascinated about Mălăiești Cottage  in the Bucegi Mountains right after we heard about it.

Brief useful information:
Date: 3rd – 4th of January 2017
Route: Râșnov (Glăjeriei Valley) – Mălăiești Cottage
Distance: 4.8 km
Slope: + 760 m
Duration: 2.5 h (in winter with plenty of snow, breaks included)
Difficulty: medium (going up hill almost all the time)
Telephone (for bookings): +4 0741 074 884
Price: 30 lei/pers/night (~ 7 euro/pers/night)
Day1: Going up to Mălăiești Cottage
turn right at the first crossroad, follow the sign
we left our car here and then walked another 800 m to the right until the trail starts and we leave the road
we leave the road and take left over the creek and over the wooden bridge
We were pretty worried about the forest road leading up to the start of the trail. We started in Râșnov and continued on the Glăjeriei Valley on a road that gently climbs into the forest and that is not cleaned of snow. Well, it was ok and there are a few pictures above for you to see the road.

At the crossroads you’ll find indicators towards the trail leading to Mălăiești Cottage. You’ll finally reach a creek that you have to cross and that’s where the trail starts and where you can leave your car. However we didn’t manage to reach that point and had to leave the car just 15 min. away walking distance since there was quite a bit of snow and we didn’t manage to go up on the slope.
crossroad: to Diham Cottage if you go down and to Mălăiești Cottage going up to the right
We have to climb 800 m in 5 km so this trail is almost always going up 😋 It’s not always terrible climbing but I can’t deny that it was quite challenging. We did a lot of short breaks just to catch our breath. In winter daylight is limited so we pushed harder to reach the cottage on daylight.

The climb through the forest was very interesting. It’s absolutely quiet and met just a few tourists on the trail. Of course it was during the week, not during the weekend. However you should know that this trail is one of the most popular trails in Romania and because of this the trail was walked on so we didn’t have to clear the snow ourselves. That was a huge advantage!
One hour after we set off on the trail we reach the only belvedere spot on this route (image above). It’s actually a ravine that looks similar to the Rusty Ravine in the Apuseni Mountains, but on a smaller scale. It’s a great place to take a longer break and maybe eat something as there are some benches and a wooden table here.

After we sat a bit at the edge of the ravine we continued on a rare flat surface along this route 😀 It’s quite long as well and we went full speed ahead surrounded by the beautiful spruce forest. As a matter of fact this flat part was well worth it after the tough and pretty steep climb up ’till here.
Heavy snow started to fall immediately after we crossed an open section out of the cover of the forest. We put our technical waterproof and windproof jacket and continued on our way.
After a tight turn to the right, where I suspect there could be a small risk of an avalanche, we continue through big boulders and even wooden stairs as far as we can tell. We called it Mălăiești Highway 😊 I don’t want to know how busy this trail is during the summer.
We were already feeling that we were getting closer to Mălăiești Cottage. The stone walls surrounding us and the big boulders the trail was winding around were good indicators of this. Unfortunately as we got closer and closer fog was beginning to lay in the valley and when we reached the cottage it completely obscured the great Mălăiești Valley surrounded by impressive stone walls 😕

However after we entered the cottage and dried up for a while the fog lifted for a couple of minutes and we got the chance to see the greatness of the rock walls surrounding the cottage. This is what we came here for: for these huge walls. We were satisfied even though it was only for a few minutes. Images below.

The original Mălăiești Cottage burnt in 1999 and the current cottage was built in 2006. It has a capacity of over 100 people in rooms varying from 2 in the room up to 20 in the room. During winter, when the cottage is not full, you get heat from the stoves built in each room. The cottage also has central heating based on wood but I think it is only turned on when the cottage is full of tourists.

For this reason tourists are compacted together in rooms so that they burn wood efficiently. Fire is set only after 6 PM. You can buy food and drinks at the bar but the prices are quite high. Let’s not forget we are at over 1700 m altitude and everything here is brought by people on their backs. When the snow melts they use horses to carry everything up here.

Good to know

Bring your sleeping bag during winter even if you set fire in the stove but the fire will finally run out since no one will stay up until morning to keep an eye on it and keep it running

– Bring a 2 L bottle of water. At the bar a 0.5 L bottle of water costs more than a euro

– There is a Turkish bathroom outside the cottage

– There is no running water

– There are plugs in the dinning room for charging your phone

– We had no signal in the Orange network

Day 2: Trying to climb further up the valley and returning to Râșnov

Early next morning we wake up and see a bright light shining outside our window. We take a look and see perfection! We see the rocky walls, we see the blue sky and the white snow! It’s wonderful! This is exactly why we came here for. Let’s get dressed, let’s get packed and let’s go outside! 
I simply stood and watched what I’m surrounded by for several minutes. Most probably with my mouth wide open. I’ve seen photos of this place before but nothing compares to the real deal! Believe me! It’s grand, impressive, wonderful!

Then, tens of photos later, frozen hands and a very quick breakfast we set off on the trail signposted withwhich leads to Omu Peak. Basically we are continuing on the trail from the previous day. Our target: the upper valley lip just under the main ridge. The great rocky walls that surround us are obsessing me and can’t really go more than 10 meters without taking a photo from what I think is a completely different angle than the photo taken 10 meters back 😀
When I studied this trail the other day it seemed pretty clear. Well, this morning might just have been sunny and the sky clear but the trail was no more due to the strong wind. No matter, we tried to go but it was so frustrating since sometimes we were deep in snow and could barely move.

In other words, after several hundred meters we had to turn back right before the steep climb to the valley’s upper lip. Kind of frustrated to be honest but we got to see Mălăiești Cottage from further up the valley and we got to see the spectacular rocky walls from a closer distance. Very beautiful!
So after this failed attempt we decided to go back to the car while enjoying the sensational weather. The sunshine made the forest even more beautiful as you can see in the images below. A perfect winter trail! On our way back we met with at least 20 people that were climbing up to Mălăiești.

It’s a place that you have to see if you are a mountain lover. At least once in your life. For us it was a dream come true and we promise to come back here during the summer and complete the trail up to Omu Peak!
Our route on the map:

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