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dave schultz

[TR] Central Italy Dirt Baggin'

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Trip: Central Italy Dirt Baggin'

 

Date: 10/30/2013-11/1/2013

 

Trip Report:

James and I were lucky to get the chance to visit Naples, Italy for a few days at the end of October. We decided that climbing would be more fun than seeing the sights - there is always another time to come back to see the sights.

 

Day one, our arrival, we get our transportation and head to Gaeta, only to get there after dark (it was further than we thought) and we could not find anything that we were looking for. BUST.

 

Having failed miserably, we moved on to our real objective - Corno Grande. James is a "peakbagger" and ticking the tallest mountain on the Italian Peninsula was a big deal for him. It only being fourth class, I was not too interested, but figured it couldn’t be that bad. We made the two hour drive to a few miles before the trail head, and stopped at some town off the main road for our first, and probably best, authentic Italian cuisine (nothing like carb loading with an entire pizza). We then finished the drive a few miles short of the trail head, and slept along the side of the road.

 

Dave with his carbs.

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Day two, up at the crack of dawn, after 30 minutes of hitting the snooze button, we make our way to the trail head, and carrying light packs we blaze off to bag this peak. After 1:40 of fast hiking, picture taking, and fourth class scrambling we reach the top. What a sight. It has been quite a while since James or I was able to get out into the mountains, so this was are real treat.

 

We sign the register, ours being the only one in English, spend about 40 minutes on the summit, and then bug down the west ridge. We tagged a couple other minor ridge summits on the way back to the car. We were four hours, car to car.

 

James, with Corno Grande in the background.

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Summit view.

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Dave, looking out from the summit.

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We then drove down to tag another “peak” for James – this time it was Monte Camicia. This non-technical trail took us about three hours round trip, and combined with poor visibility was not the most exciting thing. James now has something like 115 “P2Ks” – good job!

 

We then headed all the way back south to the Sorrento Peninsula , with the intent to do some technical climbing at the tip along the sea cliffs looking across at the Isle of Capri. We stopped and got groceries for breakfast and stopped for dinner just south of Naples. The food was good, but nothing like the small town meal the night before.

 

Our directions state that the road gets worse and narrows the further along you go; we follow it until we think that we are actually probably stuck. Fortunately there was a driveway (which was locked) where we were able to do a 19-point turn-around – if our car was 3 inches longer we would have not made it. We backed up just past the driveway and, once again, slept along the side of the road.

 

The next morning, day three, we awoke to the sound of a motorcycle and horn. Quickly realizing that we are probably not going to be able to leave the car here while we go climbing, we get back in, and start heading out the narrow road. We then found a suitable parking area about half a mile back (which we missed the night before), and leave the car and walk down to where we think the climbing will be.

 

We make the 30 minute walk down to the cliffs, only to find the trail disappear and no real sign of climbing activity. We wonder around for about 45 minutes until we decide that we once again have failed. Not having a guide book, or any other significant piece of information really makes it hard to find the right climbing area.

 

Our last resort is another place, just south of Mount Vesuvius. Along the drive we make some wrong turns, driving through someone’s olive garden, but eventually making it to the right sport (we think). After asking around, we conclude that we are in the right area, and we then actually found some climbable rock. It was pretty sharp and steep limestone with bolt protected routes, which actually had the name engraved on a placard that was attached at the base of the route. We lead up some pretty easy single pitch stuff, getting about three leads each. We decide not to push anything as neither of us has climbed rock for the past 8 months. It was a mellow day, but felt great to have found the crag and to have gotten on the rock.

 

Finally, we head back to Naples, drop off the transportation, and grab some celebratory beer. Two days of dirt-baggin’ it in central Italy could not have gone much better – except for maybe finding a higher percentage of the crags.

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