/ Sicily climbing

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Skyfall - on 29 Jan 2012
Thinking about Sicily as a destination this Spring, just for a week. Has anyone been and can comment on the quality of the climbing (up to about f6b)?

San Vito appears to be the 'easy' option with a recent guide and a lot of single pitch sports climbing. However, the other areas look good with more variety but the guide giving overall coverage of the island is older and not sure about the level of detail, or logistics of getting around.

Of course I could just buy the guides and have a look but any initial comments on the climbing and logistics would also be welcome.
jimtitt - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to JonC:

The 2008 guide to the whole island (Di Roccia Di Sole) is pretty well up to date except for San Vito and the area around Messina which are the only two areas really worth going to.
San Vito is near enough to Palermo for day trips so covers a huge amount of climbing of all kinds but youīd need a car. For just San Vito you donīt need one.
For the Messina/Taormina areas you need transport (and some local info as well!).
There should be a complete update for the San Vito guide (Gebro Verlag) on their website in a couple of weeks as the authors are going there next week.

Jim
Skyfall - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to jimtitt:

Jim, sorry, a bit confused by your post. Are you saying the only two areas worth going to are San Vito and Messina?

Have you seen the new'ishh (2011) San Vito guide and is it any good?

Any general comments re the climbing?
jimtitt - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to JonC:

One manīs meat is another manīs poison! They are the only areas Iīd bother to fly to from the UK (and Iīve been to all the others) but no doubt someone will come along and disagree. There is probably someone who enjoyed going to Pagoda! By San Vito I also include the Palermo areas by the way.

The San Vito guide is accurate and easy to use and nearly completely up to date, yes it is good and so it should be since I contributed most of the information in it but there again Iīm biased.

The climbing is brilliant, either sharp grey walls or red rounded stuff in your grades, the routes are mostly quite long. Well bolted, nice place, easy access, grading average but the length of the routes makes some feel harder.

Jim

Fiend - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to JonC:

It's worth it. The climbing is very typical euro-lime sport climbing but it's equally typically good and extremely convenient in the San Vito area, and the Titts are a gold mine of information for it.

There is this too: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=145679 ;)

And trio of smoked fish with lemon and olive oil too.
jimtitt - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to Fiend:

Iīm sure Iīve seen someone just like you `hangingīaround on that route!
Skyfall - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to Jim and Fiend:

Great, thanks.
In reply to JonC:

Mark Glaister was there last month and I specifically asked him about lower-grade (6b and below) stuff. He commented that it was pretty limited and overall the grades were tough.


Chris
jimtitt - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Certainly not at San Vito, 270 routes of 6b and below in the guide and at least 50 more to be updated.
fatbuoybazza - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to JonC:

Myself and some friends climbed at San Vito for a week around New Year time, the climbing was very good and there would plenty for you around that area alone, the guidebook is very good also..

Check my logbook and you'll see theres plenty around the 6a/b grades, short routes, long routes, steep routes, slabby routes, something for everyone.
A couple of routes i especially liked were 'welcome to Sicily', 'Pump it up' and 'Rosso e Nero', Watch out for some of the routes put up by Mr Gstoettenmayr, they can be a graded pretty stiffly..
In reply to fatbuoybazza and Jim:

Interesting, might need to look at this again!

Thanks,


Chris
jimtitt - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:
Thereīs bound to be plenty of easy routes, thatīs all I can climb! Coming from Kalymnos you might find the grading a bit stiff but the Italians think they are typical for Italy and most of the continent and Iīd agree. Most of the Gstoettenmayr sandbags have been adjusted but you still want to be able to pull for the whole 30m to get the tick!

Iīm just finishing an article for UKC on the 650m route Scott and I put up over New Year, fun and games all round as usual!

Jim
Skyfall - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to jimtitt:

Thanks. Any recommendations for where to stay? Will hire a car and would prefer somewhere nice (not looking for cheapo accom); hotel, apt or villa would do if in a nice spot.
webbie_05 - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to JonC: Went to San Vito for a week in November and had a great trip. Climbed lots of interesting and varied low 6's and thought the routes were very well bolted, loads to go at as well at each of the different sectors. Jim and the other developers have done a grand job.

We stayed in the town itself and walked in each day which took about 30 mins, the other option is the campsite which is below the crag.
Skyfall - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to webbie_05:

what's the town like? thanks for the info
webbie_05 - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to JonC: I liked the town. We were there out of season which meant it was very quite with alot of things closed down though. That said there was still a couple of restaurants open down by the beach where we had some great food and were reasonably priced. Theres a supermarket along the main high street where you can get your essentials such as your bottles of red peroni, and being a town theres all the other amentities such as post office, pharmacy etc if you so require them. The beach is lovely and nice to enjoy an ice cream or beer after a days cragging.

I'd imagine in the summer its alot more lively, but for a chilled out week sport climbing in November it ticked all the boxes.

jimtitt - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to JonC:

There is a seemingly endless supply of apartments, hotels and villas, it is a tourist beach resort for Italians and finds place for 50,000 guests in the summer!
We always stay in the campsite so canīt recommend anything in town, maybe someone else can? The campsite has small bungalows which we use, the advantages being easy to nip back at lunchtime and the cost is what you pay (a lot of people get a cheap apartment and donīt notice the cleaning, laundry, electricity etc charges which get whacked on the end!).

Plenty to go for on those rest days with ruins, medieval cities, hot springs and such like around, our favourite is the boat to the islands nearby and look at all the Venetian buildings, Favignola is great.

Or go and develop another cliff, thereīs plenty around and we wonīt bolt your trad routes!

Jim
Skyfall - on 29 Jan 2012
In reply to jimtitt:

Sounds really good and the list of things to do on rest days is helpful.

I think this will be a sports only trip and we're happy to follow in others' footsteps but thanks for the offer :)

Would I be right in thinking that probably best not to go later than May for ideal climbing temperatures? Probably thinking of April/early May anyway.
scott titt - on 30 Jan 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to JonC)
>
> Mark Glaister was there last month and I specifically asked him about lower-grade (6b and below) stuff. He commented that it was pretty limited and overall the grades were tough.
>
>
> Chris

In reply to Chris Craggs:
What?? Out of the 261 routes on the UKC database for San Vito 183 are 6b or under. Many of these are 30 metre routes on steep superb rock. Where did Mark go?
N.Gibson - on 03 Feb 2012
In reply to JonC:

Hello, apologies for hijacking your thread, but Ive been meaning to ask a similar question.

I wil be in Malta at the end of Febuary for a few days. I'm thinking about extending the trip untill mid March, to go climbing in Sicily, or Malta.

How easy is it to meet climbing partners out there? Any climber hangouts worth checking out?

I'll have a rope and draws with me, but possibly no transport, depends on prices.
Climbing around 6a / 6b possibly 6c

Cheers, Nathan
ads.ukclimbing.com
Fiend - on 03 Feb 2012
In reply to N.Gibson:

It will be easier to meet people in Sicily I think, as the San Vito campsite is climber-friendly and right by the cliffs.

Malta there isn't really one area that climbers would congregate in as much, although Victoria Lines and Wied Babu are popular. However get in touch with coverdale on this forum who will have contacts. Worth doing so if you can as Malta is diverse and interesting.
N.Gibson - on 03 Feb 2012
In reply to Fiend:

Allright mate! thanks for the reply. I hope you're well....still climbing hard, and enjoying Scotland!

Forgive my ignorance, but who is coverdale? Any contacts would be greatly apreciated. (I havent been on these forums for a long while.)

Sounds like you've climbed at both destinations, for a two week trip starting and finishing in Malta, do you think its worth the travel to Sicily?

Cheers
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Hi Chris, Jim etc.

Sorry Chris I think I said that it was limited at grade 5+ and below. Between 6a and 6b there is plenty to go at.

I thought that it was a very nice spot to go to.

Cheers

Mark
ealderson on 06 Mar 2012 - pool-108-8-234-111.spfdma.east.verizon.net
In reply to JonC: Would San Vito be a good place to spend the month of January? What are the temps that time of year? From the weather history it looks like it rains a bit.
Simon Caldwell - on 06 Mar 2012
In reply to Mark Glaister - Assistant Editor:
There's loads at 5+ and below! We had 5 days at San Vito and did 33 routes at these grades, and weren't running short. Grades mostly about right.
Had one day at Valdesi, where the grades were much stiffer (made Mallorca seem soft) - a lot of polish, but worth a visit for Clessidre, which is stunning.
Also recommend is Pace di Chiostro on Pizzo Monaco (near San Vito) - a 7 pitch route, a few bolts/pegs but trad rack needed - but take care of loose rock near the start!

In reply to Toreador:

I think that that is about it at the grade of 5+ and below and many of those are on the short side and not the greatest pitches. Above 5+ the quality does improve. To the OP there is lots to go at at 6b and below.
jimtitt - on 06 Mar 2012
In reply to Mark Glaister - Assistant Editor:

Ha! Weīre bolting them faster than youīre climbing them!
There are another 170 routes not in the new guide, probably 40 of them are in the 5b region. There will be an update on www.gebro-verlag.de very soon and a new guide this summer.
Below 5a you canīt get that many good 30m routes because like most limestone itīs a bit too steep or becomes ledgy and scrappy, we just donīt have too many easy slabs. And cleaning them is a pain in the butt!

Jim
In reply to jimtitt:

That's good to hear Jim, I am looking forward to another visit and will keep an eye out for the new guidebook.

Mark
jimtitt - on 06 Mar 2012
In reply to ealderson:
We were there for the first 10 days of January this year, temps where o.k. but some showery days, no days we didnīt do something though. The rainy period moves across the Med through the winter and early Feb is worse whereas over into Greece it gets bad in March.
Colin Moody - on 03 Apr 2012
In reply to JonC:

Some photos here, I've probably got a couple of names wrong.

http://www.colinmoody.com/Site/Sicily.html
In reply to Colin Moody:

Nice pics, looks well worth a visit.


Chris
In reply to Chris Craggs: it is.
In reply to Colin Moody:

Hi Colin

Some good pics there thanks. What did you think of the climbing at St Vito in general? and where did you stay? We went in early dec and the weather was good but the place was deserted in town. We stayed at the camping in a hut/apt which was Okish but not great.

Cheers

Mark
Colin Moody - on 04 Apr 2012
In reply to Mark Glaister - Assistant Editor:
Hello Mark,
We thought the climbing was great and not polished yet. The rock colours were brilliant and there were wild flowers everywhere. We stayed in a 'hut' at the campsite under the crag, Jim Titt suggested it on here. Town was just starting to wake up for the tourist season so we ate in the doss most nights. We went over Chamonix which was a wee bonus.

http://www.colinmoody.com/Site/Blog/Entries/2012/4/3_Sicily.html
Erstwhile on 04 Apr 2012
In reply to jimtitt:

Just out of curiosity, how/why did you end up developing San Vito in particular?

P.S.
A friend of mine met you at the crag a few years ago - Franco Camin from Trento, quite old, with his wife.
Neil Morbey - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to Erstwhile:
I'm due to fly out in a couple of days and need some help:

- where can we get gas canisters with screw tops out there?
(my mates are there now and can't find any!)

- the El Bahira campsite is quite expensive and seems to have poor facilities. Is a mobile home El Bahira at a better option? How many adults can I squeeze in???
(can't find any info on them!)

Cheers,
N
Erstwhile on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to Neil Morbey:

Best ask jimtitt ...

Aa for gas cans - you can usually find those in hardware shops in Italy
Neil Morbey - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to Erstwhile:
Thanks - Jim? Can you answer any of these questions?

If not can anyone recommend a good, cheap villa in San vito?

Ta,
N
Andy Moles - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to Neil Morbey:
> - where can we get gas canisters with screw tops out there?

Just back from a trip there, we couldn't find any in the San Vito area, though you may be able to get them in Palermo or Trapani. We just ended up buying a stove that ran on the Camping Gaz butane for 20E, thinking we'd sell it afterwards (interested?!)

The climbing there is great, you could easily look no further than Scogliera di Salinella and have an excellent trip, but I'd totally recommend checking out something big on Monte Monaco as well. Great effort to Jim and Scott in developing the area.
jimtitt - on 17 Apr 2012
In reply to Neil Morbey:
The only facilities that El Bahira donīt have as far as I know apart from satTV hookup is a communal cooking area but since camping there hasnīt much to do with 2 man tents and Trangias thatīs not suprising.
You can get various Camping Gaz cylinders in one of the hardware shop, possibly the screw ones as well. Most people camping in the Med go for the default of using standard pierced cartridges since they are cheap and available everywhere instead of specialist systems which arenīt.

You can cram 6 in the homes if I remember right but Iīve never stayed in one.

If you look for a villa near the town make sure you can book it for the days you want, some of the owners are reluctant to drive for 4 hours to give you a key on a Thursday night. Also check all the extra costs such as cleaning, laundry and electricity as they can bump the advertised cost up by a lot.

We stay in the bungalows which sleep 6 at a push but more normally 4.
WrekinMC - on 17 Apr 2012
In reply to JonC:
We just spent a week in a villa just a few minutes walk from the Torre Issulda / Secret Garden end of the main crag.
There are two villas

http://www.novasol.com/p/ISS314
http://www.novasol.com/p/ISS596

The closest climb starts just the other side of the garden fence and you can actually see one house in the guidebook photos.
Both sleep 8 and ours cost us Ģ610 for the week including all local costs (cleaning/water/sheets/electric etc). The key was kept at Cous Cous Travel on the main street in San Vito and the guy from there drove round to show us the property at 9pm when we arrived late.


We would gear up at the house for the nearest routes, normally doing a morning of climbing before coming back for lunch at the house then an afternoon of climbing before beers at the campsite bar and a short walk home. I managed to lead 40 routes in the week ranging from F2 to F6b with most F5+ or easier, and that was with a day off to walk in the Zingaro National Park. There were enough easy routes remaining for me to easily do a second week there. The rock ranges from very sharp to very smooth depending on which part of the crag you are on. I would say that the lower grades were fine, some routes may seem harder than others because there is not just one crux move but a succession of harder moves.

Many thanks to Scott, Jim and others for the excellent bolting and easy loweroffs.


My top five routes from the trip would be

Just for Fun F4+
Bridget F4+
Face Route F5
Beautiful Hamster F5
White Shark F5+

I already have Tower Route Direct 6b+ as a project lined up for my next trip.

Dave
pauljackson - on 17 Apr 2012
In reply to JonC: If you use the El Bahira site you will be within 1 to 10 mins walk from hundreds of fine routes within your range. El Bahira has everything that you could really want and you can stay in your tent or hire a mobile home or apartment. San Vito is a short drive away with supermarkets, bars and restraunts. You would be hard pushed to do better.
jimtitt - on 17 Apr 2012
In reply to WrekinMC:
>I already have Tower Route Direct 6b+ as a project lined up for my next trip.<

Solid in the grade as we would say!
Andy Moles - on 17 Apr 2012
In reply to jimtitt:
> Solid in the grade as we would say!

I would say so too - I found Red Peroni easier and that's 7a on the database here!


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