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The Giant Mountains (Karkonosze in Polish) are the highest range of the Sudetes, and their total area covers 650km2. On Polish side there is a 185km2. We can distinguish three main ridges. The biggest and most important of them is Silesian Ridge of average height 1350-1450 m. It covers the area from Szklarska Pass in the west to Pass under Śnieżka in the east. Further east, in the vicinity of Śnieżka there is a Black Ridge that reach Sow Pass. Behind it is the Kowarski Ridge.

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The highest peak, Sněžka (English: Snowball, Polish: Śnieżka, German: Schneekoppe), is the Czech Republic’s highest point with an elevation of 1,603 metres. It is also the highest peak of Sudetes. It belongs to the Black Ridge, although it is located near its border with the Main Ridge.
The climate here is very harsh, the average annual temperature is 0.1 degrees celsius, and sometimes snow falls even in July. Strongly winds blows here for 290 days a year, and the mist covers the peak for 296 days a year.

Fog covering the top of Snowball (Sniezka)
Fog covering the top of Snowball (Sniezka)

In the 17th century, pilgrims arrived here to chapel, later ordinary tourists and even candidates for kings. In the 18th century it was arguably the most visited summit in Europe. In 1900 an astronomical observatory was built here, which held its function until 1976.
In my opinion, winter is the most beautiful time to visit this place. If you manage to hit beautiful conditions you will be delighted. My road to the summit started in a slight blizzard and a fog. Such conditions was until Silesian House and many tourists gave up before reaching the top. Truly beautiful conditions turned out just before the peak when I went above the clouds, and at the top shine sunshine. The wind blew the clouds later…

Gallery from the top:

It is worth to mention Snow Boilers (1244-1490m) – these are the most glamorous glacial boilers in the Giant Mountains. They include the Little Snow Boiler and the Big Snow Boiler. Formed by local mountain glaciers in Pleistocene time. Over the boilers is a characteristic building of the Radio and Television Broadcasting Center.

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