Important - the building of the shelter as you see it on the pictures here will be removed in the beginning of August, 2018. Staying in it will be impossible for at least half a month until the new shelter is finished!
The Koncheto Shelter is a small wooden building secured to the rocks with metal ropes. It is located at 2760 m of altitude on the narrow ridge that separates the Bayovi Dupki cirque to the north from the steep southern slopes descending towards the Vlahina River. In good will or in need, up to 10-12 people can spend the night in the shelter. The space is small - there are just a few square metres of air which quickly goes stale when there are more people inside. All the ventilation comes from a small 30cm x 30cm window – the freshest place for sleeping is right next to it.
The beds are wooden and hard, so a sleeping mat would be a plus, although you could do without it. The beds to either side of the entrance can easily accommodate two people each and, with proper squeezing, even three. The bed opposite the door is narrower and fit for a single person. The conditions are suitable for the easy to please.
There is no water near the Koncheto Shelter so if you’re planning to stay in there make sure you take enough water on setting off. If you’re planning to stay longer in the summer, finding water will be problematic, because there will be no snow to melt and, generally, the shelter is made to be used in emergency situations.
Apart from water there is naturally no toilet. Where you’ll go when the need strikes is up to your own judgment. This last point is especially valid in cases when the need is big. Alas, it seems like there are people who, tired after the hike to the shelter, are too lazy to take an extra walk – evidence of that is sometimes found near the shelter.
The evening temperatures, even during the hottest days of summer, are low and it’s often windy. So, if you want to enjoy the beautiful starry nights, in addition to a sleeping bag and sufficient amount of water, you better also have a warm piece of upper clothing. How warm is up to you. I’ve been freezing like mad at the end of July, dressed in a thick fleece sweatshirt, a down jacket and a windproof jacket on top.
The shelter is part of the E4 European long distance path. You can learn more about it in the travelogue describing Bulgarian part off the European long-distance path E-4 Vitosha, Verila, Rila, Pirin, Slavyanka.
The most popular routes to the shelter start from Yavorov Hut (about 4 – 4.30 hours) and from Vihren Hut and across Vihren Peak (5.30 hours).
In the winter reaching the shelter requires very good mountaineering skills, good assessment of the conditions and the weather at hand as well as proper equipment. In the beginning of the summer season (in case of snow in the gullies) or in late autumn (when there are frozen areas), the hike to the shelter hides a risk of slipping. That’s why instead of crossing steep snow- or ice-covered areas you should try surrounding them from above, if it’s possible. In some cases it’s better for one to give up on a planned hike than exposing oneself or his or her companions to unnecessary risk.
In good weather and summer conditions, when the paths are dry, the ascent to the shelter from any of the abovementioned starting points is nice, to a certain extent heavy, experience that combines overcoming a few steep spots with beautiful views.
Neighbouring tourist sites:
Koncheto (The Marble Ridge) – 30 min
Kutelo Peak – 1 h
Kazana Shelter – 2 h 30 min
Banderitsa Hut – 4 h
Vihren Peak – 2 h 40 min
Vihren Hut (across Vihren Peak) – 5 h