Fagaras Mountains, Vinatoarea lui Buteanu Peak, Romania is a short but challenging track which starts from glacial Lake Balea. It takes 2 hours to reach the peak Vinatoarea lui Buteanu, 2507 m altitude.
Fagaras Mountains are the highest mountains in Romania, with 5 peaks over 2,500 m the highest being, Moldoveanu Peak with an altitude of 2,544 m. The access to the mountains is by car, driving on Transfagarasan road which crosses the mountain and is famous for its numerous hairpin turns, tunnels and viaducts. Transfagarasan road was featured in Top Gear in November 2009 and considered one of the best mountain roads. The road was constructed between 1970 to 1974, with military forces, during the Ceausescu communist period. Many soldiers lost their life during the road construction as they were not trained in blasting techniques.
Fagaras Mountains, Vinatoarea lui Buteanu Peak is a loop hike starting at Balea Lake. The total distance was 4.44 km. The route has a total ascent of 404.68 m and has a maximum elevation of 2,435.17 m. It took us 4 hours to complete the loop! From Balea Lake we climbed to Saua Caprei (Capra Saddle) 2249 meters altitude on blue Triangle for one hour, and afterwards we followed the blue cross track to Vanatoarea lui Buteanu (2507 M). From Capra Saddle we turned to north east and walked along the ridge towards Vaiuga Saddle, where we come across the trail that climbs from Vaiuga Valley marked with blue dot.
Walking on the ridge, we enjoyed spectacular views of Lacul Capra (Capra Lake).
As the ridge track was challenging, we decided to take a short break and consider our options. The decision was to return to Lake Balea, via Vaiuga glacial cirque. We returned to Vaiuga Saddle, from where we followed the track marked with blue dot.
This proved to be a brave decision, as the descent was very steep through a lot of scree. We made it safely to the bottom and reached the track marked with blue stripe, which we followed back to Balea Lake.