ClassicClimbs | Sardinia, Italy
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I love my work.  The challenge, the variety, and the beauty that continually reveals itself in the high and wild mountains of our world.

I know that I am very fortunate to be able to share my passion and enthusiasm for mountain adventures with my clients, many of whom have become good friends.

I am a fully qualified IFMGA Mountain Guide specialising in adventures in Sardinia and the Dolomites in Italy.

The Selvaggio Blu Trail

Sardinia

 

Autumn 2020:

03rd-10th Oct  & 31st Oct – 07th Nov

Spring 2021:

03rd-10th Apr & 17th-24th Apr

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The beautiful and wild Orosei coastline of eastern Sardinia is now a regular part of my guiding work.

In 2020, teaming up with  inversion travel  I will leading small groups on this challenging but unforgettable technical trek.

 

Since first visiting Sardinia I have been captivated its warmth and hospitality, culture and …and of course its deliciously authentic food and wine!

There is so much more to this island than an exquisite coastline and idyllic beaches…  here you can lose yourself in the timeless and complex limestone landscape of the Supramonte mountains and re-connect with the natural world.

We complete the classic “Selvaggio Blu” trail from Pedra Longa to Cala Luna in five days and include a half-day training in a canyon local to Cala Gonone at the start of the trip- so that you can be well prepared for the journey ahead.

The trail involves some short sections of easy climbing, scrambling through short exposed passages assisted by juniper branches wedged into the rock face (traditional shepherd passages) and a good number of abseils.  We bivouac for four nights on the trail using a variety of camps, both high on the Supramonte plateau and beside quiet tranquil beaches for which this area is justifiably famous.

What previous adventurers thought about our “Selvaggio Blu” experience…

 

“Thank you for sharing Selvaggio Blu with us.  I feel privileged to have been part of such a fantastic adventure with an amazing group of strong, inspirational women.  Definitely one I’ll remember!”  Ida Tabis Oct 2018

 

“What an awesome week.  Thanks for extending my horizons and opening up new possibilities for me. ” Rachel Mortimer Oct 2018

 

“If you have the opportunity to go on this trip please jump at the chance, you will not regret it.  It will fuel you in ways you didn’t realise you needed.  Insanely beautiful, perfectly challenging and expertly led.  I could not recommend it more highly.”  Laura Reesby Apr 2019

 

A bit more about the Selvaggio Blu trail…

A few years ago I started exploring this part of Sardinia with local friends.  They generously shared their passion, culture and knowledge of the area with me and helped me fall in love with this little corner of paradise.  It is a complicated limestone landscape, of canyons, caves and hidden valleys and shares its secrets slowly, and yet it possesses a wealth of opportunities for amazing adventures.

It is a challenging but unforgettable journey along the remote and inaccessible coastline of the gulf of Orosei.  Starting at Pedra Longa in the south and continuing to Cala Sisine in the north.  It weaves a continually interesting and engaging route across exposed ledges, through caves and clefts in the cliffs, across challenging limestone pavement and through ancient woodland linking tracks abandoned in previous centuries and old shepherd trails.

There are sections of easy rock climbing and exposed abseils to negotiate and there are no permanent shelters or sources of water on the trail.  We bivouac on beaches and in caves perched high above an enticing and shimmering turquoise sea, and our food and water resupplies are either dropped by boat- the easiest access for this stretch of coastline or by jeep on difficult unpaved access tracks.  To enjoy this trail you should be physically fit, have a head for heights and an adventurous spirit- but this adventure will reward you like few others.

We base ourselves in the beautiful small town of Cala Gonone at the northern edge of the gulf of Orosei and our first two nights are spent here.  After a half-day of training in a local canyon where we revise abseiling skills we embark on a five day adventure along this wonderful and unique trail.  The original route finishes at Cala Sisine, but after a night on this idyllic beach we continue along a more established trail to another amazing beach Cala Luna.  We arrive here at midday, in time to enjoy a refreshing drink at the beach bar and go swimming before catching the boat-ride back to Cala Gonone for our final night.

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I have written a short article about a personal challenge to run the Selvaggio Blu trail which will give you more of an idea about the area and the terrain.  If you’d like to read it please click on the following link:

Heartbeat of the Selvaggio Blu

You need not worry though…  I also enjoy exploring this area at a more leisurely pace.  We will have plenty of time to relax and savour this very special and unique place.

 

I am very pleased to be working together with inversion and to make the Selvaggio Blu a regular part of my guiding work.  For more information or to join me on one of the forthcoming trips follow the link to inversion’s website.

New Trip

 

Wild Canyons of the Supramonte

Sardinia

Autumn 2020:

Sat 10th Oct to Sun 18th Oct

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This is a brand new trip that I have been researching through my explorations of the Supramonte with friends and on solo adventures over the last few years.

 

It is a six day, supported trek which starts from a beautiful refuge high above the mountain town of Oliena and finishes in Cala Gonone on the Orosei coast.  This journey links some of the most impressive and adventurous canyons of the Supramonte, taking in plenty of local culture and history along the way.

Our first and last days will be in hotel-style accommodation.  Whilst out on our wild adventure we will camp in local shepherd huts, a rustic campsite at the pass of Genna Silana and (depending on the weather) out under canvass or under the stars.

To enjoy this unforgettable adventure you need to be fit enough to carry a daypack for 8-9 hours for six days.

You’ll also need a head for heights, abseiling experience, be able to swim confidently and be sure footed in challenging terrain…  and of course a heart open to adventure!

This is a remarkable and intense journey full of contrasts and rich in emotions.  An adventure which will challenge and inspired you and may well result in a lifetime love affair with this magical island.

“Wild Canyons” is more remote and challenging than the classic Selvaggio Blu trek.  It is an ideal trip for anyone who has previously completed the Selvaggio Blue and wants either more of the same or is open to setting the adventure bar a little higher!

 

A bit more about Wild Canyons…

 

DAY 1  Arrive and transfer from Olbia airport to the Refuge at Monte Maccione high above the mountain town of Oliena. We will have a light meal on arrival of local Sardinian food and wine.  The Refuge will also provide breakfast and a packed lunch for the next day.

 

DAY 2  Leaving Monte Maccione Refuge we ascend to Scala ‘e Pradu, a col on the western rim on the Supramonte mountains.  From here a vast, wild limestone plateau opens up before us and we start our descent towards the Lanaitho valley.  We spend the afternoon engaged in a series of spectacular abseils that allow us to pass through the Pentomas Canyon and gain the valley floor where we camp for the night.

DAY 3  We start early, heading south deeper into this limestone labyrinth.  We visit the famous bronze age cave settlement at Tiscali which is accessed through a cleft in the mountains leading to an airy limestone ledge, then continue on our journey into the heart of the Supramonte.  We pass through wide upland meadows, shaded holme oak forests, pass traditional shepherd huts and the ruins of several prominent towers from the ancient Nuraghic civilisation before arriving at Sedda Ar Baccus our camp for the night.

DAY 4  Today we have several options for how to gain our camp for the night at Genna Silana a col at over a thousand meters and the only road access of our journey. The most challenging option is to descend the Flumineddu canyon which has some standing water and requires a short section of swimming.  For a lighter option we can choose to descend only the final section of this canyon before passing through the entire length of the famous Goroppu canyon, one of the deepest and most impressive gorges in Europe.  Finally on tired legs we ascend to the Genna Silana col and celebrate our half-way point with a well deserved shower and shepherd’s meal.

DAY 5  Fully refreshed we start, accompanied by our first views of the Sardian coast as we descent a wild wooded gorge into the start of Codula Luna. After a short break we then reascend, using a shepherd’s passage through a hole in a cliff band, and past another traditional shepherd’s hut to a remote location where we camp out underneath the stars. (Cloud cover permitting)

DAY 6  We start by descending into the upper reaches of Bacu su Orruargiu which are shaded by numerous ancient Holme oak trees.  The highlight of the day is our traverse of the locally famous S’Istrada Longa, a narrow and exposed ledge which cuts clean across a vertical band of cliffs for almost a kilometer before allow access to Codula Sisine far below.  A head for heights and a good memory (or camera) are essential for today’s adventure.  Once we reach Codula Sisine we ascend northwards to our final overnight camp, overlooking the sea at Bacu Padente.

 

DAY 7  Our journey culminates in series of challenging and exposed abseils which allow entry to a hidden cave system through which we reach the sea.  Here we have one final choice… to make the journey home to Cala Gonone by sea-kayak or by boat- depending on the sea state and how much energy we have left!

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New Trip

 

Climb and Wine

Sardinia

 

Autumn 2020:

Sat 26th Sept to Sat 03rd Oct

Sat 17th Oct to Sat 24th Oct

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Another new trip that I have been putting together is a week sampling some of the best climbs this region has to offer, combined with an opportunity to learn more about and try some of the regions best wines.

This is a rather special trip for me, because it combines two of my great passions in life- so I am thoroughly looking forward to sharing it with you.

 

We start the week with three nights in Cala Gonone, which is in the same commune as Dorgali, the first of our famous wine-producing areas. Mid-week we move south via the incredible sea cliff multi-pitch climbing at Pedra Longa for a few nights at Ulassai and Jerzu, the second important wine producing area of our tour.  For our final two nights we head back to Cala Gonone via the mountain towns of Marmoiada and Oliena, the third and final (and arguably the best) wine region of the week.

I can run this trip at a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 because the emphasis is on multi-pitch climbing.  We aim to complete at least 3 long and unforgettable multi-pitch routes, with several more mellow single pitch venues.  There will be 4 1/2 days of fully guided instruction.

Cost:    1 client: £1700,   2 clients: £900 per person

If you have a private group of up to 6 climbers interested in a week visiting similar venues but focused on single pitch sport climbing then I can help you- please get in touch for further information and prices.

A bit more about Climb and Wine…

 

DAY 1  When you arrive we will organise transport for your from Olbia airport to Cala Gonone, a small town nestled below the mountains at the north edge of the Gulf of Orosei.  Here we spend our first three nights in Bed and Breakfast accommodation on the hillside above the harbour.

 

DAY 2     We will head to the local single-pitch venue “Buchi Arta”.  It is accessed by an unpaved road which winds upwards into the beautiful Supramonte mountains with breathtaking views out over the sea.  This is a great place to unwind and adjust to Sardinia.  A opportunity to get familiar with the wonderful limestone rock and for us to make sure that all necessary skills are in place for us to enjoy our week together safely.  We’ll return to Cala Gonone for you to take a late lunch wherever you choose.  The afternoon is free for you to enjoy the beach and fully recover from traveling.

 

DAY 3    We head to the tranquil and timeless Dolverre di Surtana, a narrow valley that links the valleys of Oddoene and Lanaitto below Dorgali.  It is a special place characterised by its wild beauty.  It has relatively easy access and numerous moderate multi-routes for us to choose from.  It’s an ideal place for our first multi-pitch route together and we follow it by a multi-pitch abseil descent.

Example Route:  “The Sound of Silence” 140m 5 pitches (5b, 5c, 5c, 5b, 5a) or “Naufraghi della Notte” 140m 5 pitches (6a+,6a, 6a, 6a+, 6a)

In the afternoon we retrace our steps to the car and drive to the local Dorgali Cantina for an introduction to the excellent wines of this local region.  If you prefer, as an alternative, we can arrange in advance to visit the locally famous Poderi Atha Ruia where a small supplement for visit and tasting is charged.  Finally we head back to Cala Gonone for the evening.  We need to ensure that we get a relatively early night as we have to start early the next day.

 

DAY 4  We start with about an hour’s drive south to the coast and the challenging multi-pitch adventure sport-climbing venue of Pedra Longa.  Here we have a choice of several routes both with crux pitches at 6a+ (but which can be made a little easier with firm rope support.)

Example Climbs:  Marinaio di Foresta 190m (5c, 5c, 6a, 5a, 6a+, 5c+, 5c) or  Il Richiamo del Mare 220m (5c, 5c, 6a, 5c+, 5c+, 6a+)

The climbs are about 7 pitches long and require a little scrambling and short abseils on the descent.  We aim to finish for a late lunch and quick swim in the gorgeous water below before continuing our drive south.  In just less than an hour we reach Ulassai, a new and exciting mountain rock-climbing venue and home for the next two nights.  If we have time and energy we’ll head into the famous Ulassai Canyon for a few single pitch routes before finishing up for the day.  We spend the night in the local climbing community Bed and Breakfast”Nannai Climbing Home“.  There is a great energy here and we’ll be able to relax and recover our strength… and you may well find that you don’t want to leave…

 

DAY 5   We spend the whole of the fifth day exploring the single pitch crags of Ulassai and Jerzu, the neighboring mountain town.  We have an immense wealth of climbing at our fingertips and we aim to make the most of a full morning before finishing for lunch in the early afternoon.  In the afternoon we aim to visit the famous Jerzu Antichi Poderi Cantina which produces some of the best wines from this up and coming region.  The region is most famous for its red wines, with some excellent Cannonau wines, but also produces fine Vermentino white wines.  We make sure that we have a relaxing evening at the Nannai climbing home and that we’ve packed and prepared our equipment for the next morning.

 

DAY 6   For our final day  climbing we need to get an early start if we want to climb a long mountain route.  If energy levels and weather/winds permit the aim is to climb the beautiful, long but moderate NW ridge of Punta Cusidore.  This mountain stands at 1147m above the Sardinian mountain town of Oliena.  From Ulassai we drive about an hour and a half north to a 4×4 track and the start of our walk in.  From here it is about an hour to the base of the route.  The ridge itself gives 15 pitches of varied and immensely enjoyable climbing at UIAA grade III to V+.  There are some very memorable and photogenic pitches high up on the route and a short section of alpine ridge terrain where we may choose to move together.

This beautiful summit stands majestically over the rolling mountain plains  below and gives views far out to sea.  The descent is mostly walking, though there are a few short exposed sections where we must take care.  The descent to the car takes about 2 1/2 hours, so the day will be full- expect around 10 hours after the drive; but it will also be immensely rewarding and a real highlight to the week- so we’ll try to make it possible.  When we finish we’ll call in for a celebratory refreshment at the nearby Su Gologone bar.  This is a cool and secluded spot close to an impressive resurfacing of a cold groundwater supply.  Finally we make the 30 minute drive back to Cala Gonone and our home for the final two nights to celebrate with a fine glass of Nipente of Oliena.

 

DAY 7  The last day is spent at your leisure in Cala Gonone… to rest, relax and recover..  If you still have energy there are numerous outdoor activities available, and if you find you just want to chill out, no problem- the beautiful local beaches provide a great place to swim or read a book as you choose.

 

DAY 8  Finally, on Saturday we’ll arrange a transfer back to Olbia airport for you at the start of your journey home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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