Text and pictures © 2009-2018 Guillaume Dargaud
Last updated on 2018/10/17
"You fool ! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders ! The most famous is never to get involved in a land war in Asia. And only slightly less well known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line !" — The Princess Bride.
As sometimes happen when climbing, the 10 minutes approach to the routes of Mt Pellegrino above Palermo is an adventure in itself. Here we find a wide assortment of whores, a naked man in a bush, lots of garbage thrown around (but not as much as I'd feared), wild dogs, a bum sleeping under a boulder with a rat as big as a well fed cat, etc... But the base of the cliffs are surprisingly clean, probably thanks to the local climbers.
Left: Jenny just before we go offroute on the last pitch of Daniela at Lo Schiavo, Mt Pellegrino, a nasty 6c+ slab protected by far out rusty 8mm bolts. The rest of the route was great, particularly the urban view.
Left: The left half of the cliff of Mt d'Oro which hosts the long routes. The route 'Le stelle stanno a guardare' is in the main dihedral.
Right: First pitch, the crux overhang high reach.
Left: Last pitch, after several pitches of sustained dihedral climbing, sometimes full of grass.
Right: One of the several turtles we found on the approach.
Left: Warm up route in scorching heat.
Right: Somewhat difficult to find, the cliff of Cavadonna is worth a visit, but pick the right time, its southern orientation making it difficult to climb during most of the day.
Right: Big roof on slopers.
Left: Coiling the rope in a cave in order to shelter from the heat.
Left: Jenny on Parole al Vento, an excellent and shady route up Pizzo Monaco.
Right: Right above the sea as you can see.
San Vito lo Capo is destined to become a major winter climbing destination in a way similar to Kalymnos: the climbing is excellent, it's varied (both long routes and sport climbing), there are many separate but close areas, there's food and accommodation aplenty, and it's fairly quick to reach from the Palermo airport... Also climbing is best done off the main tourist season so you don't feel crowded.
Left: Steeper section on Parole al Vento.
Right: Monte Monaco (left) and Pizzo Monaco (right). The route starts right between the two caves.
Right: Welcome bath on an empty beach after the climb.
Left: It looks like an advertising brochure, but it's indeed the camping of El Bahira. The sea is one minutes away, and so are the cliffs of Salinella.
The huge campground of El Bahira felt particularly empty with only about 10 groups of climbers in it and a swimming pool empty most of the time. Same thing for the beach in San Vito: I've heard it's packed in summer but here it was mostly empty, even though the october water was still comfortably warm.
Right: On rappel off Pizzo Monaco.
Left: Crux move on 'La Collina dei Conigli' on Monte Monaco. The route would be great if it wasn't for the fact that it's completely covered in slimy brine.
Left: Climbing competition at Salinella, the first organized in Sicily. We ended up in 6th position, and first M/F party.
Right: Jenny on an excellent 6c route at the Bunker.
Left: A view of the bunker with its recent rockfall. It's possible to climb in the shade in the gash.
Right: Monte Monaco see from the harbor of San Vito.
Left: Evening view of Salinella.
Right: Sunset over the Mediterranean.