The Tatra Mountains span 785 square kilometers, with 610km of the range in Slovakia and the remaining 175km located in Poland. The mountains are the highest in the Carpathian Mountains, and are governed by the Tatra National Park of Slovakia and the Tatra National Park of Poland.
The landscape of the mountains is similar to the Alps, and its origination is from the Alpine orogeny.
While similar in landscape, these mountains are much smaller than the Alps. The range consists of two main mountain chains:
- Western Tatras
- Eastern Tatras
The ranges can also be found in the High Tatras and the Belianske Tatras.
What’s interesting about these mountains is that they’re easily accessible. The accessibility allows the mountains to be a hotspot for tourists. And many scientists will also visit the mountain for study.
Winter sports are a major draw for the mountain in the winter months, and there are many famous resorts on the mountain, including: Poprad and Tatranska Lomnica.
Situated in a temperate climate, the mountain has an average wind speed of 6 m/s, and the fastest wind speeds seen in the area were in 1968 when the winds reached a dangerous 288 km/h.
Damaging winds also struck in 2004, causing two deaths and countless trees being uprooted.
Temperatures range from -40C in the winter to as high as 33C in the summer. Temperatures fall below 0C for 192 days out of the year on the mountain summits. Temperatures vary all across the mountain range, depending on the altitude and time of year.
Mountaineers are recommended to consult with local weather stations to ensure that they don’t scale the mountain in the midst of a dangerous storm.
In terms of rain, precipitation can be found on the mountains for up to 228 days per year. It thunderstorms 36 days out of the year on average.
Flora and Fauna Diversity
The Tatra Mountains are captivating, and one of the most impressive features of the mountain is the flora diversity. Plants and vegetation that grow along the mountain are benefitted from the higher elevation, and there are over 1,000 vascular plants alone.
Over 900 fungi and 700 lichens can be found on the mountain, along with 450 mosses and 200 liverworts.
Plants are distributed among five different planes from 1,300m up, to 1,550m, 1,800m and 2,300m. The Subnivean, or the highest point listed, is bare for the most part except for some lichen that grows at such a high altitude.
The wildlife diversity of the Tatra Mountains is equally as impressive. The mountains are home to many species of animals, including wild boar, the Eurasian lynx, bear, red deer, roe deer, snow vale and even brown trout.
There are over 200 species of bird that call the mountains home as well as 162 spiders. In total, there are 43 species of mammals that have been recorded in the mountains.
When mountaineers enter the mountain, they’re encouraged to avoid the Orla Perc trail. This is a dangerous path that is public, yet it’s meant only for the most experienced climbers. Found in the Polish Tatras, the path is so dangerous that over 100 people have died on the path alone since 1901 when it was founded by a poet and mountain guide.
Those visiting the mountain will find that the path is marked with red signs and warnings. This should be a cause for caution for any inexperienced hikers or mountaineers who want to attempt ascending the mountain. The impact of human activity can be seen all around the mountains when humans mined and cut down trees on the mountains. These harsh human activities have all come to an end, but there is still evidence of it all around the mountains.