Saturday, 30 April 2016
If you’re keen to go to Oltra Finale, here’s a few bits of beta and some photos from our recent eight day trip. Think sport climbing in the sun, pizza and ice cream, and picturesque wooded valleys with quiet Italian villages. It’s a great place to go to avoid the bad weather in the Alps, because of it’s close proximity yet totally different weather system.
Scroll to the bottom if you want the really useful beta!
The lines are occasionally manufactured (chipped, glued, drilled etc) but they’re often brilliantly ‘set’ and take in some impressive features; the photo below shows the wild arête of Skyfall (8a) as I try not take the monster lob!
Oltra Finale is not Ceuse. Don’t expect stellar lines, amazing climbing and every route to be 3 stars. However, it’s proximity to Chamonix, quiet rural location and occasional gems make it good for what we used it for: getting fit for trad climbing.
Oltra Finale Beta
Finale is different to Oltra Finale. They are covered in two different guidebooks.
Inland from the seaside town of Finale Ligure lies ‘Finale,’ an area with plenty of great routes. However, we’d heard ‘Oltra Finale’ is better quality and with harder routes, so we headed there.
Oltra Finale is technically just ‘Other Finale’ and describes all the areas not in the Finale guidebook.
Camping for free seems to be accepted in the church car park in Veravo, just up from the village of Vesalo, in the Castelbianco district. Follow the road up the hill from the valley and keep going up, up, up until you get to Veravo and the church at the end. The locals acknowledge you and there’s a toilet, tap, cold shower and covered areas to park and cook under.
It takes about 3hrs 30 to get from Chamonix to Castelbianco/the Val Pennivaire area of Oltra Finale. It costs about €45 in tolls, too.
We climbed at Terminal, Erboristeria, Cineplex and Colosseo during our eight days here. The climbing is typically on good (or glued) limestone formations, with plenty of tufas and crimps. The routes at these crags are generally 20 to 30m long. Note: the route lengths were usually exaggerated and we were fine with a 60m rope. Even when climbing Skyfall (supposedly 38 m) we found it to be only 30m.
I’d like to have spent some time at Eustral, Red Up and Rocco Rossa as they look ace.
Food can be bought in big supermarkets in Albenga, 20 minutes away. There’s a mini-market in Martinetto (the next village down from Castelbianco towards Albenga) but it’s small. The village of Ciunsa Sul Neva is also on the way (10 minutes away), and the cafes and bars on the square are a great place to hang out on a rest day.
Rest days are best spent in Albenga, chilling out in the beach and drinking fine coffees in the sunshine.
I particularly enjoyed these routes:
Tolmachevo 7a+ and the three routes to the immediate left and right.
21 Grammes 7c
America Oggi 7c
Point Blank 7a
Wifi is limited in the village of Veravo but can be found if you look for it. There’s limited signal on some networks until out of the valley.