Maja e Arapit / Arapi (2217m) – The Dark One

Maja e Arapit (Arapi, Harapit) is one of the most prominent mountains seen from the Theth Valley. The mountain is “merely” 2217m high (while most surrounding it are 200-400m higher) but its impressive 800m south wall (considered the highest in the Balkans) plunges in one go down to the bottom of the valley, making it to one of the prime landmarks and a hot destination for many hikers.

At the foot of the mountain few caves are located, including Albania’s longest horizontal cave. Bulgarians explored it to a length of 2585m (while rising 346m). Behind it to the north the endless karst plateau stretches out, full of hostile looking, razor-sharp grey limestone formations.

The Eastern saddle is called the Peja Pass (a city in Kosovo to which caravans traveled) and the only access point to the northern massif as well as route to Montenegro’s village Vusanje (Vusaj). This suits also as an approach route to many mountains including Jezerca and Popluks. Experienced hikers can cross the karst plateau to arrive after a long day of hiking in the village of Nikc in the neighboring Kelmend region.

If you’re interested in climbing the big wall of Arapi you can find more information on summitpost, let us know if you need assistance.

Tour 1: Circumnavigation of the Great Wall

A journey around Mt Arapi, we hike clock-wise around the peak, enjoying breathtaking views back to the valley as well as to surrounding peaks. A hike suitable only for experienced hikers.

The track was recorded when guiding a group around Arapit, starting from the Roza Rupa guesthouse. The trail can be shortened by staying at the closest guesthouse (Mirash Kometa) or camping near the trail head which is a fresh water spring (see waypoints). One can also approach the starting point by car, thus saving more than 9km distance.

Be aware that the western approach is difficult to locate, follow the old road and then cairns into the forest. The western route is rated more difficult as locals discontinued using it, hence the trail is overgrown and half-destroyed – orientation is often difficult, I recommend taking a guide for this part.

The eastern route follows the marked and well trodded donkey path up to Qafa e Pejes at the rim of the plateau from where the summit of Arapit can be scaled (see sepearate track) It’s highly recommended to ascend on the steeper western trail and descend on the good path from the Peja Pass. On your way up you will pass two caves, the first one you can enter without special equipment but to advance further caving equipment is required. Near the entrance one will find the prepared camp spots and outdoor kitchen of the cavers.

Expect walking times of around 10h. Please be cautiousness as the western route leads close to a cliff and is often slippery, the high karst plateau on the backside of Arapit (at around 2000m) is often hit be adverse weather conditions.

Scaling the Dark One
Only on the eastern ridge an approach to the summit is possible without climbing skills and rope work. We ascend first the Peja Pass, then, if the weather condition allow for it, we continue to the summit and return on the same path