Italian Sport Climbing in April


Original Post
Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067

Hey everyone, just looking for people who have been to italy to give me some beta on the best areas for climbing. We will be going the first couple of weeks in April and plan on traveling from Naples to Venice, so we will be fairly open to multiple areas along the way as long as the season is right in April.

I'm not taking the trad rack so just sport climbing, and I'm mostly interested in limestone tufa and stalactite climbing in the french 7's (5.12s). Anyone who has been and would be willing to share any info you have would be greatly appreciated.

Also, please let me know what guidebooks I should get, and if anyone has any guides that they are looking to get rid of please let me know what you have and how much you want. Thanks!

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,116

Looks like your route was chosen to avoid the obvious famous Sport climbing areas.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067
kenr wrote:Looks like your route was chosen to avoid the obvious famous Sport climbing areas.
Well, if you wouldn't mind letting me know what those obvious famous sport climbing areas are I'm sure the route could be adjusted accordingly. I obviously know nothing about the climbing in Italy, which is why I asked this question.
Andrew Vinzant · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 343

Ken vs Ken

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

I cannot say enough about Arco, but I'm not sure about spring conditions. The arco guidebook has about 10,000 routes. It is a little sparse on details, but is available in English. Policromuro, aka Mason, is a great classic crag with lots of 7s and tufas. The warm ups are super polished, but polish disappears at about 6c. The town, which is very cool, revolves around climbing. Also, Osp in Slovenia is only 5k from Trieste, and has two amazing tufa caves (osp cave and Misja Pec)

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 297

I don't know Italy well either but I've found that the "find a crag" feature on ukclimbing can be really handy for scoping out European destinations. Climbeurope (a guidebook site) has some decent overview beta too. You could also post your question on ukclimbing. Good luck and have fun!

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

I also forgot to add that Arco has a climbing shop just about on each block, and they all sell the book in Italian, German and English. The city also distributes a more limited, but free guide at various businesses/kiosks.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490

Arco is about as far away from Naples as it is possible to get and still be in Italy.
Just north of Naples is the Amalfi coast area which has plenty of climbing, a bit south of Rome (100km) is Sperlonga which is one of Italy´s most famous areas. The surrounding region (Lazio) has 3000+ routes and a challenging guidebook!
Further north near Pisa there´s a fair amount of climbing and then along the coast Finale Ligure which is huge.
The east coast (Venice side) has nothing.
The motorway from Naples north to Rome is appalling!
Naples is hideous.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067
Optimistic wrote:I don't know Italy well either but I've found that the "find a crag" feature on ukclimbing can be really handy for scoping out European destinations. Climbeurope (a guidebook site) has some decent overview beta too. You could also post your question on ukclimbing. Good luck and have fun!
Cool, Thanks for the info, I didn't think of posting over on ukclimbing, but that's a great idea. I did checkout climbeurope but didn't find a ton of useful info there, maybe I'll delve a bit further into the site and see if I can find more.
Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

I was going to mention Finale since you'll be in Naples. A bit further west but looks really nice. I've only been to the town (Finale Ligure) but was without a car (or gear) so didn't get to sample,the climbing..I'm pretty sure there's a decent amount of climbing near Naples that is pretty low on the radar here. Aren't Sperlonga and Gaeta somewhat close to Naples? Both look pretty nice.

I have been to Arco and spent a couple of rewarding weeks there back in the late 80s. Got real strong real quick climbing with the locals. That entire area is lovely. Arco, as well as the towns close to Lago di Garda: Riva, Torbole, Limone (on the opposite side of the lake) is gorgeous. There are also long trad climbs, a via ferrata, even good mt. biking. It is farther north however and I don't know how the weather will be in April. Though I'd love to go back, given where you're starting and ending, I'd suggest finding out more about the stuff near Naples. There's so much limestone over there it's silly.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067
Jim Titt wrote:Arco is about as far away from Naples as it is possible to get and still be in Italy. Just north of Naples is the Amalfi coast area which has plenty of climbing, a bit south of Rome (100km) is Sperlonga which is one of Italy´s most famous areas. The surrounding region (Lazio) has 3000+ routes and a challenging guidebook! Further north near Pisa there´s a fair amount of climbing and then along the coast Finale Ligure which is huge. The east coast (Venice side) has nothing. The motorway from Naples north to Rome is appalling! Naples is hideous.
Thanks for the info Jim! Sperlonga is the area that seems to be coming up most often in my searching, so it's good to hear that it's a good option. We really don't have any desire to go to Naples, except for possibly hitting up the Amalfi coast, but if we can get the same kind of experience in Sperlonga, maybe we'll skip Naples altogether. Too bad there isn't anything on the east coast near venice since my wife really wants to go there, I guess I'll just have to suffer through that portion of the trip;)
Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067
Fat Dad wrote:I was going to mention Finale since you'll be in Naples. A bit further west but looks really nice. I've only been to the town (Finale Ligure) but was without a car (or gear) so didn't get to sample,the climbing..I'm pretty sure there's a decent amount of climbing near Naples that is pretty low on the radar here. Aren't Sperlonga and Gaeta somewhat close to Naples? Both look pretty nice. I have been to Arco and spent a couple of rewarding weeks there back in the late 80s. Got real strong real quick climbing with the locals. That entire area is lovely. Arco, as well as the towns close to Lago di Garda: Riva, Torbole, Limone (on the opposite side of the lake) is gorgeous. There are also long trad climbs, a via ferrata, even good mt. biking. It is farther north however and I don't know how the weather will be in April. Though I'd love to go back, given where you're starting and ending, I'd suggest finding out more about the stuff near Naples. There's so much limestone over there it's silly.
Thanks Fat Dad, I'm worried about the weather in Arco that time of year, so we'll probably end up doing more climbing near Naples as you are suggesting. we probably won't be able to make it as far west as Finale on this trip, but thanks again for the beta!
kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,116
Ken Noyce wrote:I'm worried about the weather in Arco that time of year
What's the "worry" about Arco weather in April?
Main "worry" I'd have would be how to get away from all the German climbers hitting there in prime season.

And Arco is vaguely within driving range of Venice. Your wife is right, Venice is really special.

Closer to Venice (and farther from Germany), I've heard there's some decent sport climbing near Vicenza.

Also a bit closer to Venice than Arco is Cortina d'Ampezzo (the queen city of the Dolomites). Mostly too early for climbing (still ski season) - (though there's a decent lower altitude S-facing sport crag not far off the road along the way up from Venice).
But just driving some of the mountain pass roads around Cortina is amazing unforgettable. Lots of summer climbing around Passo Falzarego -- could take the lift up to top of Lagazuoi for some great mountain views (and if bring headlamps an interesting visit to extensive underground WWI fortifications).

Might find that the Cortina area jumps to the top of your list for your next Euro climbing trip in summer.

Ken
Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 13,702
kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,116
Brian in SLC wrote:Arco is fairly cold in April.
Must be some different Arco.
Or some very confused website you got it from.
. . (perhaps they got their Lat-Long a little off and are giving temperature estimates
. . . for some higher peak on the ridges above Arco?)
. . (or some other "Arco" name in Italy, or somewhere else?)

Here's some stats for Riva del Garda, which is just 4 km from Arco, and a bigger better-known town, and with a name less likely to be confused with other places around Italy (or the world) -- so weather services are more likely to get it roughly accurate ...
http://www.holiday-weather.com/lake_garda/averages/april/

Here's some for Arco (in Celsius / Centigrade)
http://www.accuweather.com/en/it/arco/216223/april-weather/216223

https://en.climate-data.org/location/13584/

As I say, the main problem in April is all the Germans driving down confident of some of the world's best limestone climbing in nice comfortable weather, close by a big lake.

April 8-23 might be especially bad: the week before and the week after Easter.

The problem with going to Arco in the summer is that it's often hot, but if careful to choose which exposure crag in which time of day, that can be worked with.

Here's a climbing website with comments about seasons to visit - (and a termperature graph)
http://www.climb-europe.com/RockClimbingItaly/arco-logistics.htm

Ken
Nick Votto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

Ken, I assume you're driving right?

Umbria and Marche sport climbing will be perfect that time of year, and you'll pass right through the middle of them if you just do a slighty detoured route (adds 2 hrs or so). There's a new tunnel connecting Umbria and the coast though, and it's a work of art, it turned what used to be a 2.5 hr ride into a 1 hr ride. You'd want to focus just east of Foligno.

Hardest part is finding beta for the crags. This seems to be the go-to guide, which you'd have to buy. Good news is the GBP is wayy down so it's pretty cheap!
http://www.climb-europe.com/RockClimbingItaly/Marches.html

If you have any interest in tasting wines, hunting truffles or anything in Umbria along the way, I can set you up. It's an incredible region.

Nick Votto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

Also.....if you wanted to pull a really cool move you could fly from Naples to Sardegna (Cagliari) for super cheap and then fly over to Venice. It'll cost you a bit more but gas and tolls in Italia are so expensive that flying is often close to the same cost.
The climbing there is world class

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 13,702
kenr wrote: Must be some different Arco. Or some very confused website you got it from. . .
I think you're right.

Should be warm enough especially as there's plenty of crags with sunny aspects.

Purportedly some weepiness in the early spring, though.

Arco is great!
Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

Wow, put Nick's name in my Italy database.

Honestly, I'm not sure how cool it might be at Arco in April. Could be perfect. Could be cold. I was therr in July and it was warm but pleasant. Definitely not uncomfortable.

Someone mentioned the area around Cortina d'Ampezzo, but that right up against the Dolomites (though close to Venice). Looks amazing though.

Finally, I went to a slideshow at someone's house while I was there and saw a sildeshow of someone's recent trip to Sardinia. Looked AMAZING.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,116
Brian in SLC wrote:Arco is great!
. . . but . . . Best to assume around Arco that any worthwhile sport climb at Euro grade 5c less (and the better or more accessable routes even at 6a) is highly polished.

Generally for less-polished rock, get one of the newest guidebooks which includes outlying sectors, and check the web for new sectors not yet in the guidebook.

. . . also . . . Access to some of the famous close-in sectors is on some remarkably narrow roads (rent a scooter?), sometimes with very convoluted navigation (use GPS after having gotten lat-long coordinates in advance).

Via Ferrata: For a special cross-cultural climbing experience available around Arco, rent a Via Ferrata kit. There are VF routes at a wide variety of difficulties and lengths. A more difficult one is VF Monte Albano (the runout polished start can be avoided off to the right). The hard test-piece "big wall" experience is VF Rino Pisetta. If it's dry (later in April), Torrente / Rio Sallagoni is amazing in a narrow gorge (I've done it three times). Over in the Adige river valley north of Trento, Rio Secco is another gorge route (check if it's dry enough to be open already in April) which I go back and do whenever I'm in the area: Lots of interesting "free" moves with hands and feet directly on the rock.

Ken

P.S. Italy from Rome on north is not large by western USA standards. If you're willing to pay the tolls on the autostrada (interstate) and drive several hours at a stretch, doing a trip that includes Naples (? but Why?), Rome, Florence, Milano, Venezia, and Arco is doable.
Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067
kenr wrote: . . . but . . . Best to assume around Arco that any worthwhile sport climb at Euro grade 5c less (and the better or more accessable routes even at 6a) is highly polished. Generally for less-polished rock, get one of the newest guidebooks which includes outlying sectors, and check the web for new sectors not yet in the guidebook. . . . also . . . Access to some of the famous close-in sectors is on some remarkably narrow roads (rent a scooter?), sometimes with very convoluted navigation (use GPS after having gotten lat-long coordinates in advance). Via Ferrata: For a special cross-cultural climbing experience available around Arco, rent a Via Ferrata kit. There are VF routes at a wide variety of difficulties and lengths. A more difficult one is VF Monte Albano (the runout polished start can be avoided off to the right). The hard test-piece "big wall" experience is VF Rino Pisetta. If it's dry (later in April), Torrente / Rio Sallagoni is amazing in a narrow gorge (I've done it three times). Over in the Adige river valley north of Trento, Rio Secco is another gorge route (check if it's dry enough to be open already in April) which I go back and do whenever I'm in the area: Lots of interesting "free" moves with hands and feet directly on the rock. Ken P.S. Italy from Rome on north is not large by western USA standards. If you're willing to pay the tolls on the autostrada (interstate) and drive several hours at a stretch, doing a trip that includes Naples (? but Why?), Rome, Florence, Milano, Venezia, and Arco is doable.
Thanks for all the info! I'ts good to hear that Arco should be good that time of year, From all the comments here, we'll probably drop Naples from the trip, and yes, we will definitely be renting a car!
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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