Lovely place! The location of the rocks by the sea is one of San Vito’s greatest assets. Plus a lot of routes on the five-six level. One week was definitely not enough!
Sport climbing in San Vito Lo Capo
The largest climbing area around San Vito Lo Capo is Salinella. It is a 3 km long rock wall running along the coast, right next to the town (from the first buildings of San Vito it is 1.5 km to the nearest rocks).
Most of the routes is in a range of 5b – 6b, so perfect for me.
The rocks face west or south-west, so they are a great option for cool, sunny days. Reportedly, November is a very good time for climbing in Sicily, but we came across an unusual hot beginning of November and during the day we were unable to climb. We were climbing in the morning, until there was shade under the rocks (until around 10-12 am) and in the late afternoon and finished with the headlamps. Thanks to this, we had the opportunity to watch beautiful sunsets :) Really, in this spot, it is worth turning around and looking after finishing the route, and not going down right away.
In the middle of Salinella, there is El Bahira camping. We stayed in San Vito, but El Bahira looks like a great place too. In addition to places for tents and campers, there are also small summer houses and, as a change from climbing, e.g. swimming pool and tennis court. And best of all, literally a 2-minute walk to the nearest rocks. There are also floodlights to illuminate the rocks, turned on for larger groups, for a fee.
The rocks and nature of climbing reminded me of what I had experienced in Leonidio in Greece and Costa Blanca in Spain. The only difference is that I don’t remember the rocks being so prickly there either. I also had a problem with peeling skin on the fingertips, but in Sicily it was not only due to friction, but also because many grips were “spiky”.
In addition to Salinella, there are also several other climbing areas near San Vito Lo Capo (around Macari, Castelluzzo, Custonaci).
We visited the Never Sleeping Wall sector, half an hour’s drive from San Vito. The routes here are more difficult (most in the range of 6b – 7c) and longer than in Salinella (some over 30 m). There are also tufas that I haven’t seen in Salinella. However, the face of rocks is similar, so just like there, the sun begins to shine in the afternoon.
Multi-pitch climbing in San Vito Lo Capo
Multi-pitch climbing can be practiced on two rocks near San Vito: Monte Monaco, which is over 500 m high, and Pizzo Monaco, about 200 m high.
Most of the routes are difficult (from 6b and up) and traditional. The classic is the Via Fratelli Titt on Monte Monaco. 18 pitches with difficulties from 3b to 5c, of which the first 8 are bolted and the rest are trad.
My friend and I took the shorter route – the 6-pitch Pace di Chiostro to Pizzo Monaco. It is a traditional route, but with bolted belay stations. 2 pitches 5a, 3 pitches 4c and 1 pitch supposedly II/III.
The belays were well bolted, except for one that consisted of a rusty bolt and a rusty piton. It’s good that there was a crack next to it, to which I added a friend and thanks to that I felt good ;)
Pizzo Monaco is that rock in the foreground. From this shot, it looks like it is the same height as Monte Monaco, but in fact it is 3 times smaller.
The Pace di Chiostro route runs along the arete of Pizzo Monaco and its start is marked with a white arrow.
There are nice views from the first pitch, and the higher you go, the more beautiful it is :)
The first two belays are hanging, but after the third pitch you can rest on a comfortable ledge. The climbing itself would be very pleasant, if only it wasn’t for the scorching sun and prickly rock. At that time, I already had worn skin on the finger tips after sports routes, I hoped that the skin would rest on fours and fives, but it still hurt in places. Plus is very good protection. As soon as I felt that another anchor would be useful, I had no problem finding a place to embed a friend or a nut.
The last pitch was supposed to be the easiest. According to the guidebook II/III, but at the beginning I wrote “supposedly” because we had a feeling of four level difficulties. It seems to me that my friend did not lead this pitch with the optimal line, but I also don’t know where the optimal one was…
After the last pitch, you have to go straight and then right down, following the red dots.
They lead to rappel station.
The rappel is 60m long and later, according to the guidebook, you have to follow “a vague trail down to the road”. In the dark, however, we had trouble finding this path. We finally made our way on the easy rock terrain towards the pass between Pizzo Monaco and Monte Monaco, and then weaved our way through bushes and cacti before reaching the path.
San Vito Lo Capo – what to do in a rest day?
On a day off from climbing you can, for example, go to the beach :) At the beginning of November the water was still quite warm.
Friends used one day to visit Palermo, but according to their reports, nothing interesting. Apparently dirt, muck, noise, and they got poisoned in the restaurant. I did a trek to Monte Cofano that day. This is the rock by the sea that you can see from Salinella. I started in Custonaci, which friends going to Palermo had on the way, and I went back along the sea to San Vito. It was beautiful hiking day :)