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Jack Geldard takes a trip to Arco, Italy. The birth place of competition climbing and home to some fantastic long mountain routes.

Complete with Photo-Topo, Map and route description for Zanzara - 300m, F7a+ - this is an article not to be missed.

Read More: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=762
ukb & bmc shark - on 21 Jan 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Assistant Editor:

Further articles for those with whetted apetites here:


Morgan Woods - on 21 Jan 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Assistant Editor:

sounds like good training for Dirctissima.

Just wondering Jack did you find any other decent non-polished single pitch crags....and how is the english guidebook to use?
Chris Craggs - on 21 Jan 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Assistant Editor:

I see we agree about one thing at Arco - polishio!

Chris Craggs - on 21 Jan 2008
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Having said that - Lecco - in the next valley to the west is a prime and unpolished venue!

In reply to Morgan Woods: Hi Morgan,

I did find some of the crags weren't too bad - but the major areas like Massone were very polished. I think my favourite crag was San Siro - this didn't seem too polished and I liked the aspect.

There's loads of different venues - and like Chris says - lots of choice. Worth a visit - but do be aware that the main areas have been popular since the late 80's!

Chris the Tall - on 21 Jan 2008
In reply to Morgan Woods:
This crag is worth a look http://www.ukclimbing.com/databases/crags/craginfo.html?id=1875

And most of the stuff at Massone wasn't too bad, but definately avoid the 5s
In reply to Chris the Tall: I agree. Certainly not too bad - in fact, great. I loved it.
Null on 21 Jan 2008

I believe the new edition of the trad climbing guide will soon be issued in English.

Among the great pioneers you missed Roberto Bassi and Luisa Iovane, both rather special. People also tend to forget Stenghel, a very bold and ecentric trad climber.

As regards polish - yes, everthing on Cima Colodri is polished, and all the "easy" (less than local 6c) routes on the bolt crags immediately around Arco town are well marbled. However, there are hundreds of big (scary!) trad routes that are certainly not polished, and there are in fact loads of bolt crags where regrowing vegetation is more of a problem than people - they are hardly visited and some are not even documented. New venues are developed every month and the area is expanding outwards away from Arco town, whch has become expensive and overcrowded (still nice though, in low season). I live up the road towards Trento in Cadine and I have developed 3 small crags a short walking distance from my house. Looking out my front window I can see virgin crags poking up all over the place. And this isn't a particularly rocky area, in fact the locals think I'm daft even bothering to develop here (there is so much more just down the road or up the road, or round the corner).

So, I agree that Arco was initially a victim of it's own success, because the pace of development couldn't keep up with the sudden volumes of people. As new areas are developed and folk realize there are even nicer places nearby, Arco town will start cooling off.

The thing that makes this area really special is the local micro-climate. Winter is way the best season (summer is hot). At the moment the valley daytime weather here (in my village) is like perfect British spring sunshine (with no wind). Drive uphill 25 minutes and you are ski touring (or piste bashing), drive 60 minutes and you are at the bottom of an icefall.
I don't think many places are so well designed.
clipper2 on 04 Feb 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Assistant Editor: I took my son here in July and camped. It is an excellent location, too hot in July for many of the locations unless you climbed at dawn or in the dark, but despite the polish even the popular venues with normal grades for the below average climber (me) are great. The Guide Arco Rock is OK, but sometimes the descriptions and topos didn't seem to quite match up. I found all Grades above 5 were technical and challenging, but like I said, I'm Mr below average climber. Due to the heat, we bouldered in the evening, sometimes by headtorch, at the climbing training facilities just across the road from the campsite, which has an excellent pool and facilities btw. For variety there are also plenty of via ferrata, including a couple of long vertical ones, kit can be hired or borrowed in town.
ukb & bmc shark - on 04 Feb 2008

Anyone going at Whit ? - I will be there with family May 24TH TO June 1ST
Null on 06 Feb 2008
In reply to Simon Lee:
> Anyone going at Whit ? - I will be there with family May 24TH TO June 1ST

I'm always here, or rather, just up the road.
Drop me a line if you are short on partners - I might be free.
Kenny Stocker - on 18 Feb 2008
In reply to Chris Craggs: Nope, nothing of interest to see here in Lecco.. please move on now..

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