When I return to my home country Italy, I never miss a chance to go into the Outdoors for adventures which I have always loved to do with old friends.
Last summer I went climbing in the Opolo valley (Brescia province in Lombardy, Northern Italy) together with my friend Francesco Bosio, an excellent climber from Brescia, and with the mountain guide, Roberto Parolari. The valleystretches from the Monte Guglielmo area down to the Eastern shores of Lake Iseo. The Opolo Valley takes its name from the creek that runs through it, flowing into the lake near the village of Marone.
It’s a charming place in itself, but even more special when you can enjoy the artistic installation of contemporary artist “Christo” (an American of Bulgarian origin), while you climb.His temporary work;“The Floating Piers”, is a three kilometre floating walkway on Lake Iseo, which links some local villages with the islands on the lake.
Art and climbing – probably a totally unique situation! It guarantees an exciting day immersed in the “Falesiadel Ginetto” comprising of 25 west-facing routes, with a maximum length of about 40 metres and difficulty grades up to 7c.
Rock climbing began here between the late 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, when the first bolts were set in place.
Every year, new and increasingly difficult routes are opened up. In 2010 the world-renowned Czech champion Adam Ondra completed the 9a+ route now called “A Present for the Future”. Ondras’route is so difficult that it has not been repeated since.
The rock faces are mostly oriented towards the south and south-west, and therefore can get pretty hot. Temperatures were around 30°C when I went, so I would advise anyone who wants to climb in these exceptional places to do it in the Winter, or in the Spring or Autumn.
I love to spend my time in this place, surrounded by nature and far from the chaos of the city and in the company of friends with whom I share the same passions and lifestyle. These places and activities bring me back to a human dimension, where time and dynamics flow naturally.
A rope, a pair of climbing shoes, a helmet and a few quickdraws, nothing more! The simplicity of the equipment reflects the freedom that we enjoy when climbing. Man and the Wall – a duel with your own ability, an internal battle to overcome obstacles.
It takes determination and a good choice of holds. You pay for your mistakes, but due to the equipment, the consequences are not physical. You pay with those small and invisible inner wounds, for not having reached your goal.
The rock of these cliffs is a compact Dolomite, and could not be better. It belongs to the Main Dolomite rock formation, which, from a geological point of view, is the same that constitutes the famous Italian Dolomites.
I recommend all climbers who pass through this area to stop and spend some time here. This Italian place will present you with incredible climbing opportunities, and guarantees an experience that you will never forget.
Words + Photos by: Massimo Ziino