Ogliastra is Sardinia's wildest and least developed province, on the east coast of the island, 90 minutes' drive south of Cala Gonone and 2½ hours' drive from the island's 3 main airports of Alghero, Olbia and Cagliari.
The Ogliastra region is perhaps unique in Sardinia in offering all types of climbing: single-pitch sport, multi-pitch sport, DWS and bouldering, and, since the mountains nearby climb up to well over 1000m, you can find shady crags for summer, as well as sunny low-level crags for winter! Each of these areas has seen rapid development over the last couple of years.
Single-pitch sport climbs
The climbs around Jerzu have been fully documented in the 2002 edition of "Pietra di Luna" and continue to offer superb year-round steep limestone climbing mostly at grade 6b or higher.
Recent new developments such as Ulassai and around Baunei (including a crag we've called The Lemon House and bolted thanks to visitors' contributions to a bolt fund), as well as in a couple of outlying areas (Quirra, Villagrande), means that Ogliastra now has a full range of climbs, from slabs to very steep, for all seasons, with a couple of granite crags thrown in for good measure. Most of these new routes have been covered in the map guide to Ogliastra (ISBN 978 888966110 9).
Add another 30 between the granite crag of Lucertole al Sole, (Lizards in the Sun), only 2km from The Lemon House, and those recently added by Roberto Vigiani and Luisa Siliana (including a mega-overhanging sector near Baunei, Il Muraglione, suitable for winter). Then take into account the 50-odd routes at the high-up-for-summer crags of Serra Oseli and Genna Croce and you reach 660 single-pitch sport routes, all within an hour's drive.
What is particularly important to note is that the crags are at all elevations, from sea level to 1100m, and all orientations, so that, whatever your grade - 5's or 8+ - or preferred style of climbing, you can climb all year round, even in July, the hottest month. Jerzu, Ulassai, Genna Croce and Serra Oseli are all suitable for the hottest months. You even have a couple of granite crags, Praidas and Lucertole al Sole, with real crack climbing!
Swiss Alpine Club group enjoying the sun at the Port of Santa Maria, just after Easter 2008. This crag, at sea level and 100m from a bar, has routes mostly in the grade range 5-mid 6's and is in the sun for most of the day.
Peter after the crux of Straordinario Festivo 6b+ Monte Scoine, a High Tor-like crag with routes of up to 35m in the range 6a+-7b. In the shade until mid-afternoon, ideal for summer
One of our tasks this summer is to bolt routes suitable for lower-grade climbers, grades 4-5, since this has been a specific request from contributors to the bolt fund. We have now bought our own drill, and so work will start soon - the crags have already been identified. Work will proceed as well on The Lemon House to arrive at 20-odd routes in the range 6b-7c by the autumn, and we also have one or two "secret" projects....
Multi-pitch bolted climbs
Serra Oseli offers the area's easiest multi-pitch climbs, although note
that the bolts are well-spaced (hint: if the topo says 7 quickdraws are
all you need...and there's an S2 grade...). This is a good introduction to
the typically spaced bolting of multi-pitch routes for which an E grade
could be more appropriate than a simple French sport grade as on a
crag. Pay close attention to the "obligatory" grade, which is the grade
you have to be able to climb even when the bolt is below you...and
study carefully the "S" grades in the Pietra di Luna guidebook which
give a good indication of the seriousness. S1 means bolts each 3-4m,
S2 means spaced bolts, obligatory stretches and falls could be 10m,...
Special Guest, Serra Oseli 130m F6b/6a obl - bolts quite well spaced.
Mark Anstey seconding the first F6b pitch, April 2008
The easiest and most popular route up the Auguglia pinnacle at Cala
Goloritzè is now Easy Gymnopedie 5 pitches 140m 6c max (one move
easily aided), 5c obl. while the original route, the 165m Sinfonia dei
Mulini a Vento, is now graded 6c/5c obl. There are many pegs on the
route, but friends and a set of wires are still useful. This is a fine
natural line up the pinnacle, featuring a 5c chimney which puts off
many people (no chimneys at the climbing walls...), a very polished
thin 6c crack section and above the delightful Y-shaped jamming crack
at 6b. The only disadvantage with the Aguglia is that you may find a
At Punta Giradili routes such as Mediterraneo 240m max 7a+/6b obl.
and Wolfgang Güllich 400m max 7a/6b obl have long been modern
classics. In summer 2007 a new mega-route on Giradili, Mezzogiorno
di Fuoco 270 m, 8b max, 7c obl was freed by Rolando Larcher,
Roberto Vigiani and Maurizio Oviglia. The same threesome put up the
famous Hotel Supramonte in the Gole di Gorropu, for a long time
Italy's hardest route, and this new route is rated only slightly less
difficult than Hotel Supramonte and is perhaps a better route, they
Around the corner from Punta Giradili, at Monte Ginnirco, the abb-in
routes bolted top-down in the 1980 and 90's at Regno dei Cieli have
fallen out of fashion. Bolting top-down is no longer considered ethically
acceptable on big walls, instead you place the bolts on the lead,
hanging from skyhooks. Now you climb the classic 1986 hard route
Spleen 285m 7a+ (6c obl), "one of Sardinia's best multipitch routes"
which has been rebolted and extended so that it now starts from the
foot of the cliff. 10 pitches with an "S" grade of S1+ in the
newly-bolted first section and S2 in the rest. To the left, more new
hard multi-pitch routes have been bolted, such as E Non la Vogliono
Capire 290 m 7b+ (7a+ obl) S3+, or the more recent Oltreconfine
220m, 7c max, 7a obl.
Thankfully, if you're not cruising 7a, there are multipitch routes for
you at Donneneitu in the Codula di Luna and the Gole su Gorroppu, as
well as at the Aguglia. Punta Cusidore and Fruncu Nieddu at Oliena,
while not technically speaking in Ogliastra, are only 1:15 drive from
The Lemon House. Peter recently accompanied Maurizio Oviglia on the
first repeat and first free on-sight ascent of Non Potho Reposare,
250m max 7a 6b/6b+ obl. and bolted like a crag route. This is bound
to become a classic, especially since this cliff is climbable in the height
There are also multi-pitch routes along the Gulf of Orosei reachable
only by boat, for those seeking extra adventure and/or missing
Deep Water Soloing
With summer water temperatures up to 24°C, Sardinia is ideal for
DWS. The best DWS is found at "our" end of the Gulf of Orosei, rather
than the Cala Gonone end, and we have only just begun to scratch the
surface since there is so much to do. Last September we hired a
r.h.i.b. with a group of guys from the South Coast of the UK and went
exploring...warm, transparent water, birds wheeling overhead, plenty
of places with 12-18m water depth...we can't wait to get going again
The limestone boulders at Serra Oseli continue to be developed by
locals, including a recent Font 7b+ problem. 10' from The Lemon
House, we are developing some funky granite boulders, which so far
have problems at grades V0-V4 (Font 4-6b), including some climbed
just recently by Simone Sarti, one of Sardinia's leading climbers. Many
harder ones are still to be climbed, V5/Font 6c+ or harder. The
boulders are on private land and the landowner has given Peter and
people accompanied by him permission to climb there.
For more info of for cycling, walking and rock climbing in Ogliastra,
Sardinia and Italy see here.
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