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Gerlachovsky stít, Slovakia

Gerlachovský štít, (translated into English as Gerlach Peak) is the highest peak in the High Tatras, in Slovakia, and in the whole 1,500 km (900 mi.) long Carpathian mountain chain, as well as in northern and eastern Central Europe. Until the Treaty of Trianon it was Hungary’s highest point.

Usually listed at 2,655 metres AMSL (8,711 ft), its exact elevation is actually 0.6 metres (2 ft) lower. The pyramidal shape of the massif is marked by a huge cirque. Despite its relatively low elevation, the about 2,000 m vertical rise from the valley floor makes Gerlachovský štít soar. Mistaken for an average mountain in the rugged High Tatras range in the more distant past, it has since played a symbolic role in the eyes of the rulers and populations of several Central European nations, to the point that between the 19th and mid-20thcentury, it had four different names with six name reversals.

It managed to be the highest mountain of the Kingdom of Hungary, and of the countries of Czechoslovakia andSlovakia within the span of only about two decades of the 20thcentury. Gerlachovský štít shares its geology and ecology with the rest of the High Tatras, but provides a worthwhile environment for biologists as the highest ground anywhere in Europe north of the parallel linking approximately Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna.

The mountain used to be particularly treasured as the loftiest point to climb to by Czechs, eastern Germans, Hungarians, Poles, and Slovaks during the period of restricted travel in the 20th century. It continues to attract its share of visitors although the local authorities have been continually adding new restrictions on access.

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