Apuan Alps, Monte Alto, 'Via del Tubo'.
The way of the TUBE
By now I have repeated almost all the routes on this wall and I must say that the work of the Florentine Massimo Innocenti, Francesco Mannini and co. has been fundamental to the development of this somewhat forgotten wall of the Apuan Alps.
Marble is the predominant rock here, as witnessed by the numerous old, now abandoned quarries scattered underneath or even 'suspended' on the wall. Of the various routes marked '110' and 'severe but fair' are the most worthy in my opinion.
Every time I passed under the wall I would see on the right a beautiful, still virgin placconata with an old suspended water pipe running horizontally across it... I wonder if it deserves it? I wondered.
Well, curiosity eventually got the better of us and in May last year, before the summer heat got the better of us, we and big Frank decided to have a look. We attacked at the lowest point of the wall, where the rock creeps into the vegetation. Our expectations of finding 'quality' turned out to be right, and in two days of opening and cleaning, including the removal of the pipe on the slab of the third pitch, allowed the birth of this new route in the Apuane Alps.
We put fixes at the belays and on the pitches where quick protections could not be used, and in the end came up with five interesting pitches on good to excellent rock. The route I would say is the hardest on Monte Alto and requires a route leader level of around 6b/c obligatory.
Last note: we found a mysterious new crack piton about 20 metres above the ground with no sign of retreat and then nothing; who knows who did it and how it got there? Perhaps someone reading can unravel the mystery?
Apuan Alps - Monte Alto
'VIA DEL TUBE'
Open in May 2019
Franco Del Guerra - Roberto Vigiani
Maximum difficulty :7a (6b/c obligatory)
Material: a series of C4 up to 2 or Totemcam series
A series of Alien or equivalent in microfriends
A 70-metre rope is also sufficient if you abseil down to the third belay, after which, to descend, you have to redo the traverse in reverse or exit the route.
Access: From the A12 Genoa-Livorno motorway, exit at the Versilia tollgate and take the road for Seravezza, where you take the Cipollaio road that leads to Castelnuovo Garfagnana. At the crossroads for the village of Retignano, turn right and follow the road that leads with a few bends to the end of the village, where there is a small car park for the inhabitants. Park and, after a few dozen metres, take a path to the left of the road with a "Alta Versilia" sign leading to Volegno marked with red marks.
Follow it for about 30 min to the
Aiuola quarry from where you can admire the panorama that sweeps from Pania to the sea with a beautiful view of Monte Forato and Matanna.
From here, the path continues to lead under the wall where the other routes start. Instead, we abandon it and climb up the steep ridge (cairns) that runs along the left side of the wall. After about 15 minutes, we come to a large cairn from which, on the right, a wooded ledge with animal tracks and fixed ropes soon leads to the start of the route (about 1 hour from the car).
Exposure: East, ideal in mid-season, bearing in mind that the wall goes into shade around 1 p.m. Wait a few days after heavy rain, as the route may remain wet
L1 climb the placconata with beautiful climbing integrating the few bolts and with a nice but well-protected obligatory step reach S1. (6B+)
L2 immediately a well-protected dihedral, with a difficult free passage, and then a beautiful overhanging crack followed by a non-trivial slab. (in continuity a nice pitch around 7a)
L3 traverse right to a spit and traverse right again to circumvent the slab at its most compact point by cracks, holes and foot scatters. (6b+)
From S3 it is possible to exit directly onto the ridge via broken rocks and grass (emergency exit), not recommended.
L4 linking pitch to reach the final ledge. Traverse slightly downhill (spit) and circumvent the edge that leads to the tube and the belay on a convenient ledge below the final pitch. (5a)
L5 Climb above the belay to the right along a cracked dihedral and reach a slab furrowed by a thin blade crack. Climb it up to below the ledge to be passed directly with a nice athletic passage but well protected by a bolt. (6c, pitch with two bolts only, the rest to be integrated).
Descent: From the exit of the route, descend the ridge flanking the face and via a steep track (red marks) and a fixed rope, which allows you to descend a quarry jump, back to the cairn where you take the ledge leading to the attack.
Vigio and Frank - Prorock Outdoor Mountain Guides