lauantai 6. lokakuuta 2012

Beaches of San Vito Lo Capo

Mika Huhtamaki

No more climbing! Actually we have enjoyed a lot our climbing time at San Vito Lo Capo and the main reason for giving up the rock for the day is that we are running out of time. Sadly our the flight is leaving back to home already in the afternoon.

Finally on the last day of our visit it is time for us to see what is the true spirit of the city. We heard rumours that best beaches of Sicily are here at San Vito Lo Capo. Reputation of the beaches is widely known among the Italian sunbathers who are also representing the majority of the tourists. As a result the whole city is packed with sunbathers during August. Luckily it is not August.

Näytä suurempi kartta

The main beach is located at the northern side of the city. I'm not a sunbather but I have to admit that I understand why people come here. The beach is absolutely huge. Nice and smooth sand covers basically the whole northern coastline and it is not just long, it's also wide. And on top of that the sea water is crystal clear and the bottom deepens slowly and gradyally.

Surprisingly the sea water was still warm, +23 celcius degrees during October. This is not the common case, luckily we had been able to enjoy the extraordinary warm weather during the visit here. Normally the temperature during early October is more likely 24 celcius degrees but during the week we have been enjoying temperatures between 27 to almost 30 degrees.

Popularity of the city can be seen also from hoter and apartment prising during the prime time at August. As an exmple our apartment would have cost about 1200€ per week and as a comparison the very same apartment was 390€ per week on October. But of course October is not usually the best month for enjoying sun and beaches, still it is definitely a great month for climbers.

Back to climbing. I bet that San Vito Lo Capo will enjoy a growing interest among climbers during the upcoming years. Reason for that is simple, untouched rock, huge amount of potential for new sport climbing routes and good potential for multipitch routes. I recommend the place. Still my secret hope is that it would stay slightly out of the focus of the majority of climbers and the rock would stay in a fresh condition. Anyway the growing interst can be seen already from the climbing festival that is attracting more and more climbers to the great Mediterranean rock.

Ciao for the next time!

See our photos:
Sicily 6.10.2012

perjantai 5. lokakuuta 2012

Long routes at Scogliera di Salinella Sud

Mika Huhtamaki

Our last climbing day's goal was to find long routes for Sami's 70 meters rope. San Vito Lo Capo won't let you down if you are seekin for meters to ascent. After a brief research of topos and potential routes we chose to return back to Scogliera di Salinella Sud.

The area offers a huge variety of tall and good quality routes. Our choise of the day was to start from the Scomparto Rifiuti sector's Destra wall.

Wall has only few routes from 5b to 6a+ but every one of them is 35 meters high with middle anchors. Our warmup was easy 5b wich was actually enjoyable climb because of the outstanding view that opened from the huge flake down to the Mediterranean sea.

Näytä suurempi kartta

Main route for us was the respectable 35 meters tall Grey Wall - 6a. Again this route was enjoyable to climb but at the topmost part the bolting was missing. For the last 10 meters part the only bolt to clip was at the neighbor route. So be aware for a potential runout at the final part. Otherwise no complains.

Our final calm down routes for the day found from the Centrale sector. Sector's routes were still 30 meters high, a nice calm down climb to top. During the great day Sami managed to climb 100 meters by climbing only three routes wich proved that our goal for the was accomplished.

Sad but true this was our last climbing day at Sicily and San Vito Lo Capo. As a conclusion all of us can truly recommend the rocks of San Vito. Lots and lots of new routes, no polished limestone, climbing during the winter months and not too crowded (yet?). A definite place to visit if you are planning to climb in Sicily. Ciao!

See the photo album:
Sicily 5.10.2012

torstai 4. lokakuuta 2012

White Wall Sector at Cala Mancina

Mika Huhtamaki

Cala Mancina as a whole is a huge sector containing up to eight walls. Today we decided to come back for a second time to Cala Mancina. Earlier visit was for the Zoo and Highwall sectors but today's target was the north side of the High Wall sector called White Wall. White Wall is also the only one of the walls that is pointing north making it a better option for climbing on a hot days to climb.

White Wall offer routes between grades from 5 to 7 and the altitude of the routes varies from 13 meters up to 25 meters. Wall itself has an easy access from the north west side of San Vito Lo Capo.

Näytä suurempi kartta

During the daywe onsighted few 6a's and at the end of the day we finally managed to swim. There is a nice but slightly rough beach nearby the High Wall sector that is definitely recommended. We has the opportunity to enjoy a rare temperatures, sea water was crystal clear and  +24 celsius degrees on the shallow beach. Not too common during October. Again recommended if beautiful nature and tall rock walls makes your heart bump.

See the photo album:
Sicily 4.10.2012

keskiviikko 3. lokakuuta 2012

Scogliera di Salinella Sud: El-Bahira

Mika Huhtamaki
Heading to the El-Bahira sector.

Guess what, we have been climbing today, again. It is amazing how many crags have been developed here during the last few years. Todays target is Scogliera di Salinella Sud's sectors, primarily El-Barhira sector. All Scogliera di Salinella Sud's routes are new and fresh and majority of them are tall from 20 meters up to 30 meters.

Our main target for the day was El-Bahira sector that is named after the camping site. el-Bahira camping is locates at the south from the center of the San Vito Lo Capo. Sector is divided into 6 different walls where one wall, Whitewall, is also illuminated during nights.

Sami warming up at the Pizzeria wall.
Warmup wall for the day was Pizzeria that is located at the north of the camping site. Sector has short routes from 2c to 7a and most of them are around 12 meters. Easier routes are recommended for climbing training and for others the routes from 5 to 6 are good warmups for the day.

Mika at the Ution wall.
Main routes for the day were at the Ution wall where routes are about 20 meters high and grades varies between 5a to 7b.  Wall itself was smoother rock quality than what we have been used to climb here. Partially it reminded more like Finnish gneiss. Climbing itself was enjoyable and the routes were well designed and bolted. Again a great day at Sicily and a recommended site to visit.

Heta at the Ution wall.
Author spoiling a nice view!
p.s. More photos will be available later when we have a faster Internet connection.

tiistai 2. lokakuuta 2012

In the shadow of the Bunker

Mika Huhtamaki
World War II bunker guarding the beach.

Todays target was Scogliera di Salinella Centro wall guarded by a World War II bunker at the top of a 60 meters cliff. Climbing sector's name comes from the unreachable bunker that has been controlling the access to the rocky beaches during the war.

Bunker sector is located on the western coastline of San Vito. Approach is from top of the cliff where from an old dirt road heads down towards the rocky beach. Normal city car wasn't suitable for the approach and we took a walk on the rough but stunning beach towards north. Walking along the beach is like a travel to older times. Cows we pasturing at the top of the cliff and goats at the beachline. On the western skyline misty mountains rise from the sea. It is like travel to a fantacy world, amazing.

Heta on the rough beach.
Climbing routes on the wall are also well done. Most of the routes are around 20 meters high, highest routes are about 30 meters. Rock quoality is also good and routes are untouched, almost brand new, no worries about polished rock. Grades varies between 5 to 7 and majority of the routes are graded to 6 but there is still plenty of 5 and 7 graded routes available. Because of heavy waves and rough beach swimming at the Bunker sector is not recommended, but otherwise definitely a worthwhile place to visit.

We would like to add more photos but our local Internet access is too slow. More will be available later...

Heta leading on a fantasy world.
Sami on the wall.
Rough beach.

maanantai 1. lokakuuta 2012

Climbing at Cala Mancina

Mika Huhtamaki
Dirt road is not built for a city car.

The long awaited day when we finally had our very first climbing in Sicily. Our target was Scogliera di Salinella Nord at coast called Cala Mancina wich is located on the western side of San Vito Lo Capo. Access to the crag wasn't obvious, but because of our earlier scouting, finding the gate to the old dirt road was easy. Driving the road wasn't that obvious, our car is designed for the urban streets and the dirt road was full of big stones and deep potholes. At the halfway we decided to park the car to avoid potential damage to the car.

Life cycle.
Once we arrived to the walls it became obvious that why more and more climbers are heading to San Vito. Walls are good quality limestone and fresh. No chalk on the walls and no polished rock. Crag itself is divided into seven walls and biggest walls are divided into several sectors. Height of the routes varies between 15 to 35 meters and grades starts from 4 and go up to 8b+. A great varying scale of routes that should fulfill the demands of any sportclimber.

Where is the climber?
The setting of the routes is also beautiful, I would say the most beautiful. Red walls are standing from 50 meters to 100 meters from the sea and underneath lies only rugged fields where goats are pasturing. Beach is covered with sharp and grey stone hit by the strong waves of the Mediterranean sea. This is not the most common view that you would see from the photos of the San Vito's beaches.

Lost climber found,
During the day we climbed easier, but nice warmup routes from sectors Zoo and High wall (2 pitches route on a single climb). As a conclusion we were satisfied and the extraordinary setting adds a nice touch on the routes. Recommended.

About the routes:
Current version of the Versante Sud's Climbing has only few routes listed from San Vito Lo Capo's region. Our primary topo book for this area is Sicily-Rock that can be bought from GEBRO Verlag.

At the wall.

Sami at the High Wall

Mika at the High Wall.
Heta at Cala Mancina.
Hight Wall sector.

Sicily 1.10.2012

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