Sport & Nature

Climbing on the Amalfi Coast

Thanks to the contribution of Francesco Galasso, founder of Direzione Verticale, and enlightened administrations, the Coast has become the new frontier for rock climbing, both indoor and outdoor.

By Anna Volpicelli, cover photo of Pietro Radassao

Rocky walls that rise to the sky collect vertical routes from climbing. Courses designed by a group of professional rock climbers have allowed the Amalfi Coast to become one of the fascinating destinations for sports climbing. “The routes are what has made possible the practice of this discipline on the Amalfi Coast, with a high standard of safety. For the large and dynamic climbing community in continuous growth and me, the routes are a heritage of inestimable value. They are the work of openers (of routes) who have invested their time, creativity, skill, and often their money in the service of climbing, the territory, and its users. Still, also, the general public who love to follow at a competitive level, amateur or simple spectators, the evolution of this sport in the Campania region,” says Francesco Galasso, professional rock climber, trainer, responsible for the Aics/Con Mountain League and founder of Direzione Verticale, a sports company recognized by Coni (National Olympic Committee) in the mountaineering and outdoor disciplines. The work done over the years has been understood and has allowed us to trace and map dozens and dozens that are published on the platform created by the society. “The margin of development is exponential – explains Galasso – The Coast has an identity made up of great people who have developed this discipline among the wonders of the heritage of humanity, among vertical lines of immense aesthetic and creative value. Silently and respectfully immersed in nature and on panoramas of unparalleled Mediterranean rocky beauty, leaving the testimony of their climbs, sharing them freely and voluntarily”. 

Climbing at Orrido di Pino, courtesy of Direzione Verticale

The innovation of Agerola

The town of Agerola, for about five years, has dedicated time and resources to make this discipline the new way to explore the territory and its landscape actively. “In Agerola is the epicenter of my Indoor and Outdoor climbing development work. I have been very fortunate to find a far-sighted administration focused on my same goals, first with Rocco Naclerio (ex-president pro loco), then with Luca Mascolo (current Deputy Mayor), and now with Tommaso Naclerio (Mayor). Executives of long views with whom I collaborate almost weekly to the continuous development of the outdoors. Climbing is a practice conceived as the evolution of trekking, on which Agerola has bet, with good reason, as it has now become an international tourist destination in the target market,” explains the instructor, defining himself as an “Agerola citizen.” An investment sought and felt has seen in Agerola the birth of the only indoor structure of Lead Climbing in the Region, to practice 365 days a year. “Climbing has led to deseasonalizing the flow of visitors to the Coast, which are often concentrated during the hottest months, considering that climbing on the Coast is beautiful in autumn, spring, and, now, thanks to the indoor room, even in winter. It was very satisfying to see large presences of climbers with backpacks and ropes around the villages and towns of the Coast to relax after climbing at the tables of bars and accommodation facilities”. The opportunities to practice climbing in Agerola today are many. “In Agerola, I have created two climbing macro-areas that exceed hundreds of sport routes, the immense canyon of Orrido di Pino with almost 100 routes, eight sectors with different exposure and 3 Multipitch and the wonderful Sentiero Degli Dei with its homonymous cliffs, 70 routes for five sectors and a Multipitch of 250 m of development. The indoor area at the Palasport of Agerola, on the other hand, is continually tracing lead routes, unique in the region”. 

A view of Positano, courtesy of Direzione Verticale

The numerous crags are scattered throughout the area

The routes, of course, have been traced beyond the borders of Agerola, and it is currently possible to try out a series of trails that range from mountain environments to marine cliffs on cliffs. From the easier ones suitable for families and beginners to the more challenging ones. “The Amalfi Coast is a mixture of mountains and seas, quoting the illustrious Giustino Fortunato, and preserves the excellence and peculiarities of both environments, ranging from the sea level of Punta Campanella to the peaks that exceed a thousand meters of Monte Faito and Tramonti.” Some paths go from the Sentiero Degli Dei (Path of the Gods) to the enchanted Valle Delle Ferriere (Valley of the Ironworks). “Among the most beautiful are certainly the historical ones of Punta D’Aglio in Valle delle Ferriere, Positano and Capo D’Orso as well as the more recent Orrido di Pino and Monte Faito. A climber chooses the proper exposure depending on the period he would like to attend the location, the altitude of the place of climbing, and the offer in degree of difficulty concerning the routes. Orrido di Pino in Agerola is perhaps the macro-sector with more possibilities of choice about the exposure of the walls to the shade and the sun. Sentiero Degli Dei is for the refined, for those who want to combine fantastic trekking on the most coveted route. On the other hand, Positano is the macro-sector with the highest concentration not only in Campania, but I think in the South, keeping Montepertuso (hamlet of Positano) as the epicenter where dozens of different sectors concentrate them. It’s enough to think, for example, of the association La Selva, developed by my friend and teacher Cristiano Bacci, where the crags are almost located in the garden of this unique estate, dedicated to the wellness of yoga, natural products, and climbing”. 

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