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Sicily 2016

Bonus Days in Sicily – long report!!

On Monica’s and Michal’s last full day in Sicily Rob and I set out very late for climbing.

At around 12.30pm we reached our chosen sector near the camp site El Bahira, called Torre Isulidda. That was also very convenient for my friend Grainne, who stayed on this campsite with her family. After Rob and I did a 6a warm up called “Red Bull”, Grainne joined us for two climbs (6a+ Destra Di Toro & 6b+ Grazie Michele). All excellent routes!
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After that, Grainne left us to go for an ice cream with the kids (I can’t blame her..) and we continued climbing. We just walked around the corner into a cave. There was a 6c climb I wanted to tackle (Tower Route Direct?). Half way up I had to give in and Rob made it to the top instead.

After that we climbed a pleasant 6a (Tower Route). The trick on this one was that it had a long traverse route (about 6 m) which was a bit risky to unclip.. Rob did so with bravour!

Since we had a late start in the day we ended up coming back late, too. And therefore missed having our farewell dinner with Monica & Michal. But we also enjoyed the last night of the climbing festival in town.

Luckily, we didn’t have to go to the airport on Sunday. So we decided to go and visit Favignana Island – one of the highlights of the entire trip. Its a one hour drive to Trapani and then you take the fast ferry, which bring you over to the Island full speed in as little as 30 minutes.
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We decided to stay in Favignana for one night and booked an Airbnb. We got an upgraded accommodation, totally different to the one advertised. And ended up having our own big private pool. We didn’t spend much time there, but at least both managed to jump into the pool once.

We hired a moped and had lots of fun discovering Favignana that way. Great caves, bays and amazing sun set! Bue Marino and Casa Rossa was absolutely fascinating!

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Next morning we visited some deserted building up a 350m high hill just outside the village… It took us many many steps to get there in the heat. But every bit was worth it!

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Even though we changed our tickets for a later ferry, we nearly missed that one, too. If you ever plan to go to Favignana, plan at least three days to get to really enjoy what the island has to offer.

On Monday afternoon we were back in San Vito del Capo. We stayed in a different Airbnb then before. Close to town and the beach, bikes to our disposal. So off to the beach we went to cool down from all the heat.

On Tuesday, for what we thought would be our last day of climbing, we went to Section Scomparto Rifiuti. Also close to the campsite of El Bahira. We climbed two routes (Rumanian Girls 6a, Grey Wall 6a). After that Rob convinced me to take a rest after that (I was reluctant as we had only warmed up!). But when we went down for a swim on the bay just below the climb, I had to admit that it was a brilliant idea after all. The heat was still on and it was hard to climb in those conditions.

After the refreshing dip and some lunch we came back to the routes. I decided that we had to put some more effort in our climbs and really wanted to get at least one proper 6c in (after dismissing all visions of climbing a 7a on this trip).

We did another two routes first (Lisa 6a, Kurt 6b+) before we tackled the so called “Best 6c Route in San Vito del Capo: La Bella Vita. It has two pitches: 15m (5A) and then 30m (6c). You could just sramble up the first pitch and climb from there. There were a lot of lose rocks on the first pitch, be aware!

That 6c was an absolute amazing experience. Every move had some challenges, but if you get it right, there is always a hold waiting for you. Some undercuts, overhangs, jugs, crimpy parts. All you can ask for.

However, we were running out of time. Rob lead this and with fading day light we decided it would be best for me to top rope it. I was a bit disappointed, but didn’t want to be the one leaving gear behind in case I wouldn’t make it…

The top rope went really well. So Rob suggested to come back next morning so I would get a chance to properly lead it…

So that’s what we did then. Up at 6am, at the crack for 7am. One “warm up climb” (Kurt 6b+) and straight into this amazing 6c route.

I can only say that “La Bella Vita” has absolutely earned the title for best 6c in that area!
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And thanks Rob for getting up that early to give me a second chance! The perfect finish of this holidays!

We even made it in time to the airport for our 11.15am flight with Rob racing like a mad Italian gun shooter!

Sicily – great destination, super climbing and amazing places to visit. Definitely recommended. Only complaint was the heat (not a bad complaint, I know 😉

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Sicily 2016

Zingaro National Park and going back home

For our last day on the island we decided to explore it a bit. It was still very hot do it seemed like a good option to go and check out local National Park.

Zingaro Park is actualy the first one established in Sicily? setup over 30 years ago. It lies 50min drive from San vito, although  it’s  only 15 km in straight line.

We went to the south entrance where you pay 5euro entry fee, get a map and off you go. parking is free.

You can make the hike as short or as long as u wish. It’saround 8km from south to north, makeing it some 16km loop.

We opted for a 10km roud trip. Going by the see and visiting various bathing spots. We actually stopped at the last one – Cala del’uzzo.

Make sure u take plenty of water with u as there arent any refiiling stations on the way.

Upon returning home we went for a dinner at El sombrero pizzeria. Definetly rrecommeding that spot.

From there it  was just a short walk to the square where finals of the boulderimg comp was taking place. Some serious moves on very steep wall.

Sonja and Rob were climbing all say so we didnt get to see them really.

We were going back home following morning so we all got breakfast together and moved on.

We drove towards the airport (makre sure u refill the rental car in some village  nearby, there  arent any filling stations near the airport ), while our friends moved to a different accommodation.

Sonja will actually write a guest entry soon describing their adventures (including some amazing  6c climbs they did.)

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Sicily 2016

More heat. Day 6.

It’s almost impossible yo climb these last few days. Today was no different with temperatures around 30C.

We left quite early (for our standards) to beat the traffic (San vito climbing festival started yesterday) and sun but none of that worked. 

We returned to the crag we’ve been to on day 2, just moved further right to Fakirella beach base camp. It was already pretty busy and while the sun was behind some clouds the hot wind made it feel real hot.

We ran there  into Monika’s high school friend she hasn’t seen in 18 years. Quite extraordinary meeting. She is here with her friends and family on 2.5 weeks holiday. We climb side by side for few hours, but the heat was unbearable and wrle just folded at 2pm. 

I onsighted 5 routes:

  • Beautiful hamster 5a 13m (At zoo sector)
  • No drill no party 5b 21m – funnily positioned corner line
  • Mannara 6a 21m
  • Scorpione in letargo 6a 21m
  • Calze nere 6a+ 21m

    In the mean time Sonja and Rob were trying some routes nearby (in slightly higher grades), but given up around the same time as us for the very same reasons. Just toooooo hot.

    Above Sonja on Dolores 6b.
     In other news: Rob converted (partially) Sonja to figure of 8 knot. The discussions between them went for very long but for now I think it’s back to the basics.

    Last two nights we been checking out different climbing festival related events around the village, such as highlineing above main street and outdoor movies screenings.

    The trip is comming to an end shortly.  Not as much climbing happened  as I originally thought (its just too hot), but its been a blast nonetheless!

    Tomorrow we want to do a shorter day out then pack and get ready for going home on  Sunday morning.

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    Sicily 2016

    Scuba diving  & fighting the wind. Day 5

    Another hot ans very windy day. Monika and I decided to go and check out some of the local dive sites while Sonja and Rob went on a sightseeing trip a place  to Mount Eric.

    We showed up at Under Hundred scuba dive shop st 8.30. The plan was to do 2 dives but as the day developed we only managed one (due to very strong wind and choppy sea).

    The dive site for the morning was an underwater cave some 15 min on the boat from the base called Grotta Perciata.

    We started with getting to a 5m plateau, then going by a wall to max depth of 21m. From there we took to the cave, which was at 10m depth. It wasn’t really a fully enclosed cave as it was partially opened from the top. That gave a great view a sun was dropping in throuh the openings in the top.

    48min total dive time – I was pretty happy with it.

    As I mentioned before second dive didnt happen due to the wind.  We actually took off from the base but after going to few spots in search for acceptable conditions the leader decided to cancel.  It was still nice to experience a rough sea on a small boat. Everyone had a good time and if time and weather  will allow we might come back.

    Tomorrow we are back on the rock. 

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    Sicily 2016

    Bunker vol2 – fighting the heat. Day 4.

    It was an easy call to return to the bunker sector today. Endless climbing in great setting. The bigger problem though was the heat. It was super hot today.  Much hotter than the previous days.

    We started at SW facing part of yhe sector, left from Sonja and Rob where climbing yesterday.

    I’ve onsighted warmup (with Monima TR after me).

    • Colazione piu 5b 26m. Exceptional  route with unbelievable holds. It’s overhaning for most part but the great holds makes it great. 

    In the mean time Sonja and Rob started opening routes to our right so I flashed them as well (with Monika going on Tr after me).

    • Classic deluxe 6a+ 28m -said to be one of the best in this grade in San vito
    • New years greetings 6a 27m
    • Silvester 6a 26m


    Above Rob on New years greetings (6a). 

    By the time we were done in that sector the heat was unbearable and we had to take a break.

    Above Monika giving me her signature belay in full sun.

    We moved right searching for a shade. By the time we joined Sonja and Rob they were already on their newly found project on the Bunler topo4 sector. 

    SW facing and in full sun 6c+ lead, what a way to go! It turned out that they missread the topo and thought theye were on 6b+ climb.

    Below Rob just before falling off:

    • Dall’alba… direct 6c+ 27m.

    It took a lot of work and sweat but they fonally did it (it must have take  some 3h)

    As they were frying their backs in the heat we moved right in search for some shadded climbs. We settled on Castello – really nice positioned (SSE) wall further right (towards the exit to the cars).

    Even though we really wanted to keep up with the schsdule of 7 climbs a day, 3rd day in a row, heat and limestone really tool its toll.

    I onsighted what is one of the best lines on that wall (directly left to the cave entrance):

    • Colpo di  vento 5c 17m. Book description says “Which climbing god made holds here”? Really hard not to agree with that statement.

    Tomorrow a well deserved day off. But not really though. Monika and I will go scuba, so definitely more hard work.

    Sonja and Rob are planning on exploring local area a bit more.

    For now though, Sláinte!

    PS.

    Also tommorow the annual San vito climbing festival starts, with events (bouldring comp, slacklining showcase, movies screennings) planned until Sunday. We might also check it out.

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    Sicily 2016

    Bunker -Day3

    Bunker is one of the sectors in impressive Scigliera di Salinella Centro.  crag one can easly spend few weeks on.

    The crag is less than 2km from our place and makes a for a great climbing spot with 168 routes between 3 and 8b (46 of them are in 5a-c  grade with further 86 in 6a-c ranges).

    We left around 10 which is our usual start time and met with Sonja’s friend – Gronja who is vacationing with her family in the area. She got a day off today and was able to join us.

    We started with a warm up part of the sector marked C2.2 in the Sicily Rock guide book.

    I onsighted all 3 easy routes  that are next to each other (with Monika and going 2nd).Gronja also did one of them with us. 

    1. Trick 16m 5b
    2. Track 16m 5a
    3. Tick 16m 5a

    That part of the crag has only 9 climbs and was pretty busy so Monika and I moved right where further 20 routes were awaiting conquering.

    The guys stayed in place to battle the queues to some of the more challanging routes left there (up to 6b+).

    I’ve focus on more relaxing routes so both of us could enjoy the time (and the sun) on this SW facing wall.

    One thing I can tell though- no matter what the grade is, 30m pitch is 30m of hard work.

    I on sighted following 4 routes (all next to each other) with Monika top roping after. All of them had overhanging sections which made climbing very enjoyable.

    1. La femmina 5b 22m
    2. Lavoro di Domenica 5c+/6a 30m – it was the first route put up on that wall. Definetly amazing with  the first clip 6m of the ground.
    3. Fur Chrstian 5c 28m – much easier than previous one.
    4. Per Giorgio il mio amico 6a 22m.

    As I said this secotr has many moreroutes to doand we just scratched its surface today.

    At this point  I’m convinced we will be comming back to Sicily in the future. There is just so.muvb quality rock.

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    Sicily 2016

    Cala Mancina – White Wall. Day 2.

    To be honest yesterday was so travel oriented that I just should call it day 0. The real climbing started today. I fotgot already how much fun limestone is. It just eats up skin on your hands.

    For the  trip’s warmup number 2 we visited the first sector (north facing so in nice shadow) of a very long crag called Cala Mancina – the White Wall. On the photo below, that shows most of the crag  it’s the sector to the very left. 

    Monika paired with me while Rob and Sonja got on together.

     We started with some easy short pitches located to the very left of the sector. I on sighted all with Monika flashing after me:

    1. La caduta degli dei 5a 12m
    2. Salto nel buio 5a 12m
    3. Felice 6a 12m

    They all had common abseil point and bar few first moves on the last one were all very easy.

    After that we moved right where the game was.

    Again I onsighted all (but the last climb) with Monika flashing or red pointing after.

    1. Topi sftattati 6a 23m – a bit sharp but still ok
    2. Liquirizo e mentine 6a+ 23m
    3. Oltre manica 6a+ 23m – good line along some cracks
    4. Slay back 6b 20m TR – definetly the best of all. I wish inlead it, but i started to rain so we were in rush to clean it and fold.

    Above Sonja on Slay back, 6b.

    I think I’m stronger than I thought I was, or maybe the grades are just more realistic. 

    Sonja and rob did pretty much whatbwe have (without the easy warmup section), but they also added 2 or 3 6b routes.

    This definetly was a good primer before we set of for future adventures.  I know that if I compose myself 6c isn’t out of the question.

    But then its all about having fun and today we all had plenty!

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    my travels Sicily 2016

    Thunder climbs. Sicily day 1.

    Long day today. The time has come for our annual sport climbing trip.

    We got upround 4am to catch 7.20 flight to Palermo. This year the team are Rob T., Sonja F., Monika and I.

     Destination San Vito lo Capo. It all went smooth until we landed…

    The car rental office for the car company we took the car with (Firefly, subsidary of Hertz) is actualy a shuttle bus ride away from the terminal. Then it turned out that their system is down so every customer had to be processed manually. 30 mins per customer… and there were 3 in front of us. The hopes of getting some climbs to days were dimishing.

    Sonja and Rob have their own car (as they stay 10 days vs our 7). Their pickup went just fine. 

    The car itself was beaten up pretty badly already.  Bud is actually a good thing. Less of a chance for us to get blamed for any new damages. Pretty much every panel is already marked in the paperwork.

    The drive from the airport to our destination is around 1.5h. There weee some confusions on the location of the house (seems like airbnb system issue) but we eventually got to the address and met the owner.

    Its pretty spacious 2 bed house with nice terrace 5 min walk from the town centre.

    By the time we eaten lunch and got unpacked it was almost 5pm but we still decided to check out one of the close by crags – Valanga. The guidebook says its a bit out of beaten track. it has routs in 5a to 6c range.

    It looks absolutely amazing and i can just imagine what the best ones look like. We only managed to get done 1  route each.

    • Sonja and Rob did 5c+ 15m called  Senza Scuola 
    • monika and i did 5a 21mcalled Primavera 

    We had to really hurry these Climbs as there was a storm comming. By the time i was half way up the sky was already lit on fire every 30s by massive lighting bolts.

    One thing definetly to notice that the bolting job done is amazing (and it seems its the same on all crags). Then spacing is reasonable (very often every 2m) in good places that allow safe climbs.

    Anyway we r back home now after cooking some nice pasta dinner for 4. 

    Serious game starts tomorrow!