Climbing

Christiane practises falling, Gola San Giorgio, Ogliastra
Christane leads her 6a, her aim for her climbing holiday on Sardinia

Climbing on Sardinia is simply fantastic and Sardinia’s sunny limestone cliffs are world-famous. Sardinia is bigger than Wales and has higher mountains, and you can choose from 4000 sport climbing routes in 5 main climbing areas: Sassari, Dorgali/Nuoro/Cala Gonone, SW-Iglesiente, Isili and “our” Ogliastra. With such a wide choice it’s often not easy to find the best crags and routes for your climbing holiday. Our aim in The Lemon House is to help our climbing guests enjoy their holiday on Sardina to the full. Our support ranges from the choice of crags and routes according to ability and preferred climbing style and grade through to encouragement, support and tips. We often help people by putting in the clips and giving hints, so that they climb a route that maybe by themselves they wouldn’t have tried, and taking photos and videos. In the photo on the left, Christiane practises falling off – this is often a key step for people used to climbing indoors – before she achieves her holiday objective, to lead a 6a. In the photo right, she’s cruising through the crux of “Willy” at the Gola di San Giorgio. In Ogliastra there are few local climbers and Peter is often happy to go climbing with guests (on his two 7c’s in 2012 he was belayed by guests) and celebrate successful redpoints with a beer :) .

So, how should you choose between Sardinia’s climbing areas? And why did we choose to live in Ogliastra rather than one of the other areas of the island? Peter wrote this Climbing in Sardinia – Updates 2012 at the end of 2012. The conclusion is clear: in “our” Ogliastra you can climb all year round, and there are not only 800 single pitch sport climbs but also 60+ multipitch routes, as well as bouldering and DWS within an hour’s drive of The Lemon House.
Three things in particular distinguish Ogliastra:

Peter featured in 2011 Pietra di Luna climbing guide
  • Ogliastra has seen lots of development in the last few years. “This area is starting to seriously threaten Cala Gonone as the principle area of Sardinia for visiting climbers. Not least because Baunei is very near to the crags of Urzulei and no more than half an hour by car from those of Jerzu/Ulassai, which means a huge choice in the space of a few km…” says the 2011 Pietra di Luna guide, which has lots of photos of Peter in the Baunei chapter (see photo right). But this area remains the least discovered of Sardinia’s climbing areas, with marvellous unpolished rock and no queueing. Top climbers James Pearson and Caroline Ciavaldini came to the same conclusion, when Peter interviewed them at the end of 2012 for Versante Sud’s yearbook UP. James said: “Sardinia – amazing place, and so much potential! It’s rare to find somewhere so unspoilt and so little developed.” James was talking about the east coast and Ogliastra which you see in the HYKNUSA trailer in the centre. Cala Gonone is 90 minutes drive from our house but it is sometimes busy, a bit polished and hot in summer; Domusnovas and Isili are other important climbing areas but they’re not by the sea. But here in Ogliastra you often you have the crag to yourselves and by choosing the right altitude and crag orientation you can climb all year round like we do, and go for a swim or sunbathe afterwards!
  • In particular, Ogliastra is Sardinia’s best area for climbing in summer, with high (800-1000 m amsl) mountain crags near the coast which enjoy cool afternoon shade even when it is very hot by the sea. Peter and his Sard friends climb hard routes in August, as the video on the right makes clear.
  • Climbers are often surprised, when the discover how many other activities they can do on rest days in Ogliastra. Or perhaps not all the group members want to only climb ;). They can also walk, mountain bike, kayak or road cycle. The Guardian listed The Lemon House as one of Europe’s Top 10 activity holidays in August 2012 due to the wide range of outdoor activities here.

Sport Climbing in Ogliastra

The main areas are:

  • Baunei crags—only 10 minutes from our accommodation!  300 single pitch sport climbs on fantastic limestone, with 20 4’s and 5’s through to  French 8b+/c overhanging testpieces at Monte Scoine,  Monte Oro, Villaggio Gallico, Creuza de Ma , Campo dei Miracoli, Braccio di Ferro, The Lemon House, Su Telargiu Oro, Dinopark and Santa Maria Navarrese, a small crag right by the port with lots of  easier climbs. We even have a granite crag; Lucertole al Sole, with 20 routes only 10’ walk from the house!

Baunei-Urzulei

Baunei-Urzulei: N Ogliastra sportklettern Sardinien / Sardinia climbing / arrampicata Sardegna

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  • Jerzu & Ulassai Two crags (Castello and Isola del Tesoro) facing west and one (Palazzo d’Inverno) facing east at 450m altitude, with over 200 single-pitch sport routes mostly from 6a upwards with steep, fingery and technical climbing on superb rock at Jerzu. 45 minutes’ drive from our accommodation . At Ulassai the Cascate di Lecorci has similar standard climbs, with the very popular ‘Canyon’ (gorge)  offering quite a few easy routes  (French 5b and c) through to several 8a/8a+’s. There is a new steep sector, the Cave of Dream, facing NW.

Jerzu-Ulassai-Quirra single pitch sport climbing

Jerzu-Ulassai-Quirra single pitch sport climbing Sardinia / arrampicata Sardegna / klettern sardinien

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  • Quirra A sun-trap in winter overlooking the river valley, an hour or so from the house. From 4c to 8c, slabs to OHs. Too hot in summer but with full sun and out of the wind, a great location in winter.

Multi-pitch Climbing in Ogliastra

sardinia multipitch climbing aguglia goloritze easy gymnopedie climbs r arete

Most people come to climb single-pitch sports climbs in Sardinia.  But the multipitch routes are another world, frequently taking you into beautiful and remote settings. See this UKC article written by Peter on multi-pitch sport climbing in Sardinia. Many people say one of the many differences between Sardinia and Kalymnos are the multi-pitch climbs here. Near Baunei, there are long (6+ pitches, 140-400m) harder (a few 5c obligatory, most 6b obl or higher) routes on the Aguglia pinnacle at Cala Goloritzè, Punta Argennas, Punta Giradili and Monte Ginnirco.
The most popular route on the Aguglia is Easy Gymnopedie F6c, F5c obl, see photo on the right. Peter has diligently analysed all possible information sources to build up a “ticklist” of multipitch routes which he is gradually working through, and has a big fat folder of information and topos…tell him what max and “obligatory” grade you are after and his table will spit out a list of routes for you to do, by season!  With the walk in and out, and the “Alpine” rock climbing and abseil descents, these are long, satisfying days out you won’t easily forget.

multi-pitch Sardinia climbing Giradili, Oronnoro

multi-pitch Sardinia climbing / mehrseillängen Sardinien / multipitch Sardegna: Giradili, Oronnoro

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multi-pitch Sardinia climbing Goloritzè

multi-pitch Sardinia climbing / mehrseillängen Sardinien / multipitch Sardegna: Goloritzè

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multi-pitch Sardinia climbing Urzulei

multi-pitch Sardinia climbing / mehrseillängen Sardinien / multipitch Sardegna: Urzulei

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Bouldering

Near The Lemon House in Lotzorai there are many granite boulders which Peter explored in 2008, producing a little guide for our guests’ use. There are also some good boulders just near our apartment in Porto Frailis. The best bouldering, though, is 45 minutes’ drive away, on the superb limestone boulders at Serra Oseli. You can download the guide from the bloccobirra site and the update with lots of problems we’ve climbed here.

Deep Water Solo DWS

The best Deep Water Soloing (DWS) we have so far developed in Ogliastra, Sardinia is at the Vascone (big pool) south of Cala ‘e Luas at the Marina di Gairo where we go kayaking and so have eyed up all the crags. SUPERB granite, easy access on foot and, above all, deep relatively-sheltered water and easy climb-out make this is great place to try DWS for the first time. Lots of people ask us about the coast north of Santa Maria. This has massive potential, but you need a boat for access. The water is warm until November, though…

DWS Deep Water Solo Golfo di Arbatax-Orosei

DWS Solo Deep Water Sardinien / Sardinia / Sardegna Golfo di Arbatax-Orosei

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New routes

We have developed several new sectors, with bolts bought from The Lemon House’s bolt fund to which our guests contribute. Our first new routes date from 2007 when we began developing the crag called “The Lemon House” with guru of Sardinia climbing Maurizio Oviglia. Anne and other friends have joined Peter to bolt some easier routes (grade 4-6a) near to The Lemon House. Ogliastra lacked a shady, high-up cave for hard, steep summer climbing, and in the period 2008-2011 we fixed this, developing the Su Telargiu Oro cave, which currently (Sept 2012) has 38 routes, 33 from 6a to 8b+/c and 4 still to be freed. In the winter of 2011, we helped our Czech friends add 18 routes to Monte Oro. Then in September 2012 we continued development of the new “Dinopark” sector on the east coast of Sardinia only 30 minutes door-to-door from the The Lemon House: 15 minutes by car to Pedra Longa then 15 minutes’ walk. If you want to climb steeply overhanging tufas 7a – 7c+ this is the place for you! Check out Tomas and Jan in the great video above! Topos here. Ideal in autumn, winter, spring. The latest new sector (Winter 2012) is Planu ‘e Murta near Cala Sisine.

New lower-off Oct 2012

As important as new routes, we also maintain existing routes, and from summer 2012 are upgrading routes by the sea with bolting using more corrosion-resistant steel, see our blog posts on this important issue 1 and 2.

You can find glue-in bolts which you can turn a little, due to the glue depolymerising. You find this particular with the lower bolt at a French stance, since it’s subjected to torsion during top-roping. In the photo on the left, one such lower-off has been repaired :).

You can find information about other new routes on Sardinia in Maurizio Oviglia’s reports on planetmountain.com.

Take note! 27 March 2014 In the winter at Campo dei Miracoli (Pietra di Luna p.366) there was a repeat rockfall after the one in 1997. The routes 6.Timmi – 12.Campo dei Miracoli are affected, climb at your own risk!

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