With its 2851 meters Polezhan peak is fourth in height after the Pirin peaks Vihren, Banski Suhodol and Kutelo. It is located in the northern part of Pirin, on the Polezhan ridge, on which lie its smaller brethren – the peaks Jangal, Small Polezhan, Small and Great Strazha, as well as the Jangal gate, Jangal ridge, Ushitsite.
The Poleznah peak is granite. To the north its slopes are steep and descend to the Polezhansky circus, and to the south they are more sloping (and it is on them that two of the most beautiful Pirin lakes are located – the Polezhansky). To the west its slopes reach the Gazei ridge, and to the east – to a ridge that ends with the not unknown peak Bezbog.
Until 1942, the peak was called Manger Tepe. The word “manger” is Turkish and translates as “coin”. They called it Polezhan in this way, because it is covered with stone slabs, which also jingle like coins when you walk on them. Today the granite giant is located on the territory of Pirin National Park and is part of the Yulen Reserve.
Popular classic routes
The most convenient starting point for climbing Polezhan is Bezbog hut. Therefore, it is no wonder that this summer tourist route is the most popular among tourists. If you decide to try your hand and conquer one of the most beautiful Pirin peaks, our advice is to take this route.
Bezbog hut – Polezhan peak
If you are staying in a hotel in Bansko, in order to reach Bezbog hut, you must first set off from Bansko in the direction of nearby Dobrinishte, and then head to Gotse Delchev hut. If you get there you have to park your car and go to Bezbog hut.
You can reach the hut in two ways – by lift or by a marked hiking trail. With a lift the ascent is not only quick and easy, but you will be literally in 20 – 25 minutes in front of the hut.
If you want to climb on foot, you should take the hiking trail in green markings that connect the two huts. However, it is good to know that the distance between the two huts is not small and the time it will take you to get from one to the other is about 2 – 2.30 hours.
Conditionally, the route can be divided into several stages
Bezbog hut – Bezbog / Polezhan turnout
The beginning of the climb starts from the hut, following the markings for the route to Popovo Lake. The marking is in yellow and green. The first few hundred meters are quite easy to walk, as the trail is almost without displacement. After the initial easy start, it is time to climb the Bezbozhkia preval, which the locals also call the Dushevadkata.
The path from almost flat becomes quite steep and you have to make a little more effort to overcome the hill. After about 30 minutes of walking on the steep path, you can congratulate yourself on successfully overcoming the first obstacle and enjoy the views from the hall to the hut and Lake Bezbog.
As soon as you overcome the hill, the path enters for a while in high squats, but you continue to follow the markings, already looking for theturnoutfor Polezhan. When you reach the fork, you have to take the unmarked path on the right.
We repeat that you have to go on the tourist path to the right, because if you continue on the marked path on the left, it will take you to Popovo Lake.
Turnout – Bezbozhka saddle
This stage is a bit more difficult, as the trail climbs up the mountain and becomes steeper and dotted with a lot of stones. The good news is that although quite steep, the climb is relatively short, after the trail takes you to the saddle between Bezbog and Polezhan. Here again there is a turnout, as the path on the right leads to Bezbog peak, while the other continues to Polezhan peak.
The saddle – Polezhan peak
The trail continues along the eastern slope of the peak, following the edge of the saddle. The path is not marked, but it is clearly visible, and in some places there are pyramids of stones, which further show the direction. At the beginning of this stage you will reach an almost flat meadow, through which you will pass relatively quickly and almost without load.
When you reach the edge of the ridge, however, a steep and quite strenuous climb to the top awaits you. This is also the most difficult stage of the whole route, because you will have not only a steep and long climb, but also a climb that you have to do on stone screes, which are unstable. Therefore, you must be very careful where you step so as not to fall and injure.
The closer you get to your ultimate goal, the more beautiful views unfold before your eyes. To the right of you rises the beautiful Bezbog, below in the lower part you can see Desilishko Lake, in front of you is Polezhan, and a little behind it appear the Great Straza, Ushitsite and Nameless Strazha. Carefully choosing your way up you will reach your final destination after about an hour of climbing.
This route is 3.4 km long, its displacement is 611 m, and the time it will take you to overcome it is about 2.30 – 3.00 hours (in one direction). The level of difficulty is average.
Demyanitsa hut – Polezhan peak
Since 2017, this route has been officially authorized by the Ministry of Environment and Water. The tourist trail starts from Demyanitsa hut, then climbs steeply, crossing the Gazeyskia tsirkus. From there it turns along Gazeysko Lake, then descends into the saddle between Polezhan and Small Polezhan.
Compared to the first route we introduced you to, the ascent of Polezhan from Demyanitsa hut is neither so popular nor so safe. Therefore, our advice is, if you are not an experienced mountaineer, to stick to the popular summer route from Bezbog hut.
Combined summer routes
Bezbog hut – Polezhan peak –Small Polezhan peak
If the ascent to Polezhan is not particularly difficult for you and you still have the strength to continue the tour of the beautiful Pirin peaks, then after climbing it (following the route we have already introduced you) you can continue to Small Polezhan. The Small Polezhan is located in the southwest direction from Polezhan, and the distance between the two peaks is not more than a few hundred meters.
Bezbog hut – Polezhan peak – Bezbog peak
If you choose this route, you have two options. The first is from the starting point (Bezbog hut) to follow the marked path to Popovo Lake, then at the turnout to go on the unmarked path to Polezhan and Bezbog.
Once you reach the turnout in the path, instead of going up to Polezhan, turn onto the other path that will take you to Bezbog peak. Then you have to go back on the way back and take the path to Polezhan. The second option is to first climb Polezhan, and on the way back to Bezbog. If you are looking for our opinion, our advice is to choose the second option.
Bezbog hut – Polezhan peak – Popovo lake
And with this route the better option is to first climb Polezhan, and on the way back to deviate to Popovo Lake. The path you need to take is marked in green. The route is pleasant and easy to cross, as the trail does not have a large displacement, and the pavement is mostly dirt (no stones and screes).
It will take you no more than 20 minutes to get to the lake, and once you get there you will certainly want to stay a little longer. After a well-deserved rest by the shores of the lake, you just have to return to the path and continue down to Bezbog hut.
Popovo Lake is the largest lake in Pirin and is one of the most popular places to visit near Bansko and Dobrinishte. Located at an altitude of 2233.5 meters, on an area of 123.6 acres, the lake will impress you with beautiful views of the peaks Momini Dvori, Sivria, Jangal, Kralevi Dvori and Jano, which surround it.
Popular winter routes
You can also attack Polezhan in the winter. To do this, however, you must have enough experience with winter hikes and mountain climbs.
One of the most popular winter routes is again the starting point Bezbog hut. When you get there, you have to go past the Bezbozhkoto Lake (or straight through it, if it is frozen enough), and then start climbing the Dushevadkata.
As this climb is not very easy in the summer, you have to be very careful and keep to the left along the squats. If you overcome this steep section, continue along the path, then turn right to Bezbog peak. If you approach the top, you have to cut it and get on the saddle to Polezhan. Then you have to keep moving along its edge and finally start climbing to the top.
Tip: If you decide to try your hand and climb Polezhan in the winter, do not go alone. Instead, hire a mountain guide who has experience climbing mountain peaks in winter conditions. In addition to the appropriate winter equipment and enough water and food, be sure to bring poles, snowshoes and cats (to climb the last meters to the top).
In addition to this winter route, there is another one, which according to experts is a little safer. It starts from Bezbog hut, passes through the saddle and goes up a hill that descends north of Bezbog peak. Then continue straight up to Polezhan.
Although this route is a little safer and to overcome it requires experience and very good winter equipment. And here you must be equipped with mountain poles and snowshoes.