Orla Perć (English: Eagle's Path) is a tourist path in the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland. It is considered the most difficult and dangerous public path in the entire Tatras and is therefore a suitable destination only for experienced tourists and climbers. The path is marked with red signs. Since it was established, more than 120 people have lost their lives on the route.
The route is located in the centre of High Tatras. The total length of the accessible route is 4.5 km. Total walking time (summer, depending on trails conditions) varies between 6 and 8 hours. The highest point is Kozi Wierch at 2291 m amsl. The path starts at Zawrat pass (2159 m amsl) and finishes at Krzyżne pass (2112 m amsl), leading through several peaks and traversing others. The path is exposed, leading mostly along the mountain ridge. Numerous aids for tourists are provided at the most steep and vertical stretches, including ladders, stepladders, chains and metal steps. The most frequent ground constitutes mainly granite slab, rough rubble and uneven surface. The path is linked to other routes; there are altogether eight junctions with other paths, leading to mountain shelters and chalets. The stretch from Zawrat pass - Kozi Wierch is one-way only. Falling stones and avalanches are possible along the route.
The path was conceived in 1901, the brainchild of Franciszek Nowicki, Polish poet and mountain guide. The route was constructed and marked by Walenty Gadowski between 1903 and 1906; however the junctions and other auxiliary routes were led and marked by 1911. After several fatal accidents, in 2006 a mountain guide Irena Rubinowska and Piotr Mikucki, a film director, launched an appeal to the authorities of the Tatra National Park to dismount all climbing aids along the path and change it to via ferrata. The appeal met with different reactions from groups and professional lobbies involved in the tourist business. It was concluded that this is a historic trail, and will remain unchanged. As many accidents that took place when passing the tourists going in opposite directions Directorate TPN since July 2007 has introduced a one-way traffic at the merest track on the section from Zawrat to Kozi Wierch.
- Dariusz Dyląg: Orla Perć: przewodnik wysokogórski, Oficyna Wydawnicza Rewasz, Pruszków 2006, ISBN 83-89188-50-3
- Orla Perć – wypadki i akcje ratownicze (retrieved 15 November 2009)
- Zabójcza Orla Perć?
- Tatry: Orla Perć (retrieved 15 November 2009)
- Orla Perć (retrieved 25/11/08)
- Zofia Radwańska-Paryska, Witold Henryk Paryski: Wielka Encyklopedia Tatrzańska. Wyd. Górskie, 2004. ISBN 83-7104-009-1.
- Juliusz Wysłouch "Via ferraty dla tatr Wysokich, "Na szlaku" 10/2003
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