Sardegna is one of the most beautiful Islands opposite of Rome and about 9 Ferry hours away from Livorno, where we took off on a lovely morning in Autumn. News had been brumming on the many new climbing areas.And we were excited about our coming holiday climbing and beaching! There are numerous crags all over the island for climbing and bouldering, good for almost the whole year round.
A Canonnau’s welcome
We arrived in Olbia on a Saturday night, still early enough to get our first bottle of Canonnau – Our Welcome Drink! We headed first for Cala Gonone, stayed at the one and only Camp ground there and shared the place with, what felt like, some 400 other people who decided on Cala Gonone as well. There were a good mix of mountain Bikers, climbers, hikers and those who just wants to have a holiday. Cala Gonone is great for those who have a family. You can reach the beach in 15 minutes by foot or 5 mins with the bicycle. The campsite facilities aren’t too bad, the showers are good and warm, it’s clean and well, you don’t have much of a choice anyway,its the only Campsite around. The prices are quite expensive in the high season, after September, it goes back to standards. They are opened till the end of October. Tel.: 0784.96243 – 0784.93165. There are numerous Hotels all along the Port, so if you’re coming in the colder months, you could look up there.
There is a Guide Book on Cala Gonone from Corrado Conca costing 10,50 Euro and you can get them at the Bookstore or at the climbing Store. This Guide book was published in Nov. 2000 and since then there’s been plenty of developments.
Our first crag led us to Cordula Fuili, the crag with those tufas and long inviting routes! This isn’t anything new but the wall is incredible! You park your car at the very end of the road, walk down the stairs and go thru’ that valley for some 10mins. At a certain point when the path starts to make a sharp left bend to the otherside and you see the red walls of Sector Pederiva on your upper right. This crag offers athletic routes on a light overhanging wall. You’ll find routes with tufas, holes and ledges here. Grades go from 6a to 8a. The crag is polished. The routes are athletic, sometimes bouldery. The only thing that bothered us was the heat as the sun shone on the wall almost the whole day. Shade comes in after 3pm.A great warm up, is the Il volo di Icaro 6c+ and Cappucetto Rosso 7a. L’anno che verra 7c+ is in the shade till about 11 am.
There are still many other sectors in the valley, routes for almost every taste. Just a little beyond the sector Viggiani, there’s a new overhang that offer 4 very deserving routes. From right to left: “Cico 7a“,”Zergo 6b+“, “Zorro 7c“, “Zeda Piras 7c+“. The Wall faces West and there’s no wind….
There’s a touch of Tonsai Beach in Cala Luna. Most of the walls there are bolted. This sector lies directly at the beach. There’s a snack bar at the boat quay- just like Krabi! Since these cliffs are directly on the beach, check those bolts before climbing. You will find more routes even after the 2nd cave and do watch out for the tides. If the tide is up, just pass or boulder around the stomach and go on to the next bay. You’ll find about 30 routes altogether in Cala Luna- all around 7cs. The huge vertical wall on the left is also bolted and has easier routes to offer.
Our first visit here to Cala Luna was tedious. We thought that it would be an hour’s stroll to the cliffs, but it became a torture walking there in the heat for 2 hours. It was only later we found out that you could take a boat too. These boats leaves from the Port of Cala Gonone for a couple of Euros.
Another favourite spot I’d like to mention is the Monte Irveri on Settore Arcadio. There’re at least 30 new routes. The routes are long and have a fantistic mixture of everything what you expect. Unfortunately, a new Topo was not available yet, so we climbed them by sight. “Spalmabile piccante” 6b+ and “Beato bottarga” 6a+ deserves both 3 stars. Inbetween those 2 routes a very difficult 7a+. It’s very long (33m) and goes up till after the bulge. Further up left, right after the small cave, a new route that starts with a”Attenzione 35m” and goes off left, is graded with a 7b+. Once the route has been climbed more often, (it gets crumbly in the V-groove; 3rd-5th bolt) it’s a route you must try. In the middle sector where you’d find a Fig tree growing out of a hole and a route going at the right of it is a 7b. There’s a 6c+ 2 routes right from this and it definately deserves 4 star! Don’t underestimate yourself, and it’s just a 6c+…
Domousnovas was our next destination. It’s a shame the Cave is now closed to all vehicles. There are 2 ways to get to the differant sectors of the area.
- You could drive your car right till behind the cave and park just on the side. There’s a new road after Domosnovas (east), at the roundabout, head north and at the first left turn take that road till you reach the Grotta di San Giovanni
- or Park at the southern end of the Grotta where the Bar is and take your headlamps with you. (Don’t forget strong batteries) You’ll be walking 8 mins thru absolute darkness! You could get the Guide “Map” at the Bar for 8,- Euro. The Map has most of the listings of the new sectors & routes in and abouts of Domosnouvas.
Now you’ll be wondering about where to stay in that area. You could wild camp at the Grotte about 100m away from the Bar. There are reports on car thefts around the area, so don’t leave your valuables unattended. The Bar turns into a Pizzeria at night, so you don’t have to go very far to look for food. Another alternative is to look up for Betty! Villamassargia is just about 10 mins from Domosnouvas, 20min to Masua, 1 hr to Cagliari. It’s very central and the place is situated on a private estate infront of an olive plantation. The rooms are clean and cosy, you’d get a big breakfast and Betty is really very helpfull. She caters to the special needs of all climbers, has new Informations on new Sectors in the area and “Sector Castello di Betty” in Domosnouvas was sponsered by her! They have appartments as well. Say hello to her for me (Chris) – she’ll be pleased. BED & BREAKFAST “Il Castello di Gioiosa Guardia” di Betty Mascia.
Everyone’s talking about Tana del Tigri. We were fascinated with the routes the cave has to offer. Many of them deserves 3 – 4 stars. The only thing that bothered us was the pigeon-dirt on some holds and it’s really a shame. There are also tiny flies that infest the place. Maybe it’s better in the colder months. This sector is rain-sheltered too. Chemical Area offers vertical Walls on sharp holds in a 7a niveau. The routes in Animal House weren’t too bad, it’s not new anymore, but the routes are still so sharp. Check out “Kangaru road” 7a+/7b and “Monkey Dream” 7b. Technicolor, as the name implies offers technical Routes on a slightly overhanging wall with routes going up to 30m highand and small ledges! If you are there, try out “Fluido Vitale” 7a. You get to climb inbetween 2 very huge tufas! It’s amazing what you could do with them! The way after the tufas is a little crumbly. Beware of falling stones. “Ombra silenziosa” 7a with it’s 30m is also good.
A further area we’d like to mention is the new Area of Masua. There’s a new Crag near the Sector Castello dell ‘I Ride. This Wall Wild Ca’da Pria was bolted & equipt by Flaviano Bessone and Maurizio Oviglia. It offers 21 pitches that are 35m high and are equipted entirely with inox bolts sponsored from the ostello Ca’ da Pria di Nebida. Gradings go from the 6a+ to 7b+, and there are still many possiblities for new Routes. The Crag is both overhanging & vertical, technical and long! It’s best to come here in fall & winter as it faces south-east. Shade comes in only after 3 pm and 4 pm (Autumn) on the left side. Topos & further information here. To access, park your car after the narrow bridge that leads to the Porto Flavia Mines. Go 50m to the left till you reach a redmarked Olive tree. You’ll find a tiny stoneman, follow the path that leads more or less to the wall that you see in front of you. Heavy rainfalls have destructed the way leading directly to the wall, so it’s not so easy to get the right way immediately. 20 mins fr. the car, 30 mins if you get lost and if the heat’s killing .
If you’re not sure what you’re going to do on your Rest day, Porto Flavia is worth while visiting. The Tour takes about 1.5 hrs and costs 8,- Euro p.P. It’s possible to get a closer look at the Pan di Zucherro from the balcony and the Tours are well explained. However, bring quite a good portion of Italian with you. The Guides only speak Italian! By the way, the Routes that are on the shore can only be accessed by boat or by abseil.
There’s a Bed & Breakfast in Nebida:A CA’ DA PRIA, Via Centrale 265 – 09010 NEBIDA – IGLESIAS (CA)
Nobody goes to Sardegna and leave Isilli out. There are 4 Hotels to choose from in Isilli. Wild camping is tolerated. But it’s better to take the rooms, as there are sheeps & goats that loves eating tents and utensils. Rooms go from aprox. 44,- Euro. Isilli is famed for it’s overhangs with lots of holes. Sector Urania has developed into one of the places where you could find Routes in 8a++. You might have to queue up for “Shanghai Pizza 8a+” or “Wonderland 8a” now and then. They go like hot cakes. Corvo Solitario is more or less the only crag that’s in the shade almost the whole day. Even if the sun does come in, there’s always a little breeze that makes the heat bearable. There’s a little font right next to this massive. New Isilli – This Crag is just 10m high and resembles climbing in Frankenjura. There are still many other new routes in Isilli since our last visit in 1996 and so many we didn’t have enough time to check them all out, needless to say, recover from the “World Music” 8a+/8b. There are still dozens of deserving new Sectors we’ve not touched, but we’ll leave them for the next trip. With the new Guide book, it would be definately easier to discover the jewels of Sardegna.
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