The trip began after two flights, a long layover and some night time driving through northern Italy.
We arrived in Arco, Italy and pulled into the only open campground next to the old down town. Italian campgrounds are great, small stores with all the staples that you need, swimming pools, showers and full support for your climbing, biking or vacationing enjoyment. We slept late trying to get used to the time change and recover from the travel and got some climbs in at the local popular wall called Massone. There are climbs from 5.6 to 5.15 and lots of them. The limestone is streaked and beautiful. It faces the east/south so the sun shines on it in the morning and leaves the best conditions to the afternoon in the summer. Winter however, your best time is the morning.
The rock is polished but that is what happens to limestone. It is great fun no matter what!
A route topo at the parking area of the wall.
We were in Italy to climb in the Dolomites and Arco is just a few hours from Milan and a great place to climb with literally thousands of climbs to choose from. The routes are 50-2500ft, most of which are sport climbs (even the long ones). Because our destination was the big walls up north we headed out that afternoon towards the Marmolada (at 2500ft tall mountain with tons of amazing climbs on them where you walk off on the glacier after finishing. Here Chris checks out a mountain lake with a small castle overlooking it. Yeah Italy is that good!
We quickly arrived in the heart of the Dolomites and tried to find out where the heck we were with respect to our dated guidebooks. Walls like this are commonplace. All of which have HUGE adventure climbs on them that are just a short approach from the car.
We stopped for the night in another great campground and enjoyed a meal in town during the world cup. Pizza and the Dolomites make me a happy camper : )
There is not any legal free camping in the Dolomites. It is a national park but the areas have been preserved for everyone to enjoy. There are cabins and hotels and campgrounds everywhere that can satisfy your need to sleep outside.
To be continued…