Monday, August 9, 2010

Monte Faito [sic?]

Monte Faito.  Tallest point in Amalfi.  Limestone crags in a pine forest shrouded by fog.  We were limited to the roadside crag because the trail to the moderate crag was guarded by hectares of thorn bushes about one story deep.  There was also a fiery sword spinning in all directions.
The italians like their saints.  They place icons everywhere, especially inside caves and crevices that look like they would make stellar sport climbs.
Here's John messing around an 11d we climbed.  They lower drops you into the road and consequently, oncoming traffic.  But from what I gathered about italian driving, they are more than prepared for a climber being lowered onto their windshields.
Sorry about the lack of climbing shots, but it was just the two of us... in order to get anything useful in a safe fashion, the climber went in direct and ideally the belay side fashioned a makeshift anchor, but it wasn't always  there.  

More Italy.

Day two was a rest day.  We went to a private beach that looked upon Naples and Mt. Vesuvius (the volcano that destroyed Pompeii.)  We didn't visit Pompeii.  I was there to climb and eat and not ponder ruins, which always seem to me to require a very capable, if not hallucinatory imagination to appreciate, since you're looking at mere remnants or traces that signify nothing to the untrained eye.
I also didn't realize the Mediterranean was salt water.  My excuse is that i'm american.  We hung out with a good friend of John's named Simona, adorable in all regards.  

Mediterranean beaches have a tendency towards the sizeable limestone pebbles and rocks instead of sand, which is a take it or leave it kind of thing... I left my chacos on.  

John duly noted that the ingenious sun shade design of the orange beach chairs allows you to hide from your enemies.  Unless they recognize your farmer's tan and hairy shins.

Amalfi Coast, Italy.

Decided to check out the limestone crags at the Amalfi Coast in Italy.  My friend John had hooked up free housing, so it seemed like a good idea.  Here's John at Franco's Pizzeria in Sorrento.  Look at all that prosciutto!
Don't let the look frighten you; on second thought, perhaps you should.  John is prone to possession.  I felt safe in a public place though.  If you receive 'the look' from John in private, you are permitted to flee.

Climbing day 1 = Il Buco at Positano, or "The Hole".  An impressive limestone (everything was limestone... if you flooded las vegas with sea water up to 7 or 8000 feet and just left the limestone cliffs at Mt. Charleston exposed, then built houses on said cliffs and dumped a gaggle of german and british tourists on to it, along with a millenia of catholicism, and you have the Amalfi coast) cliff running north south.  There is a huge hole in the middle about 30 meters tall flanked with deep runnels and lo and behold, sport bolts.
Here's John on a 10c or 10d warmup.
I would advise against a summer visit if you want to climb here.  It's a wee bit hot and humid.  We called up the guy who wrote the guidebook and he was up in the dolomites when he answered his cellphone.  We did not see a single other climber the entire time.  In fact, we didn't see hikers either.  In fact, most people looked at us like we were martians as we headed up the trail from town.
Here's John messing around in some of the huge limestone runnels.