Last Kiss

New sport climbing route in Calabria

01 April 2016

Luciano Carito and Andrea Gallo completed a new sport climbing project in the Pollino Massif. They have named the route Last Kiss, after the song composed by Wayne Cochran in 1961 and covered by Pearl Jam.
The route is dedicated to Gaia, late daughter of Franco Piccaro, very active in bolting and equipping new routes, who died at 6 in December 2015.
Here's a report by Andrea Gallo, presenting the local climbing community, very active and welcoming.


This time we didn't take selfies, or bursted with laughter. The small white wall that allowed us to climb up is nestled between the creases of Pollino Massif, near the hamlet of Frascineto, Calabria. The people living here, in the South, witnessed a long history: in 1400 an exodus from the Balkans brought here people who speak a medieval Balcanic language, safeguarding an archaic Orthodox tradition. You won't see huge crucifixes, the like of those near Bozen, instead you caught glimpses of small Byzantine icons, in the recesses of coffee houses.

The Italian boot tip has a long and enduring tradition of welcoming very diverse people who, even after centuries, safeguard archaic habits and religious practice - like the Waldensian from Piedmont, who fled persecution to settle in Guardia Piemontese, a few kilometres from Frascineto. 250 km further south, in Aspromonte, the language and local habits date back to an even older age, that of Magna Graecia: this is immediately obvious, due to road sign in Greek alphabet. All of this is still lively and vital, yet quite neglected.

We arrived in Frascineto during the winter holidays, with our friend from the association Gaia, in Lamezia Terme. I'm astonished: more than 35 locals are keen climbers. Everybody has his own gear, and are really fond of climbing. You couldn't even dream of that six or seven years ago, when in Calabria you could count on your hand fingers the people willing to try free-climbing. We have places, in the north, where even the tiniest crag is packed with people. A girl is bringing two baskets oif clementines, from her own garden, a guy is willing to play with my son (who's forced, together with my wife, to follow me in my wanderings all over Europe). When we're done, we meet at the local pub, the Millennium, right in the central square, we join together the tables and have together the usual beers. One of the locals invites us over at his place for a spaghetti meal - and we're more than 35 people!

We ogled a wall, from the highway, in the crag of Eianina, between the sectors Calabria Rock and Mamma li Turchi, who had been equipped by Graziano Montel, Franco Piccaro, Max Faletti, Riccardo Quaranta, Bruno Vitale, Luigi Filocamo and the guys from Lega Montagna UISP Calabria. The opposite side of the massif, where the Raganello river flows, features better rock: kilometres of sturdy limestone, with excellent slope, a few metres from the parking lot. Many crags are very close to marked trails, and a humongous wall, nearing 900 metres in lenght, forming the Raganello Gorge. Unfortunately, the National Park of Pollino has prohibited climbing in that area.

Pollino Massif (Calabria)
Crag Eianina
Last Kiss
Luciano Carito, Andrea Gallo - December 28th 2015 - January 2nd, 2016
3L, 6b+ (obl.)

Gear: 10 quickdraws, helmet, 70 mt rope (single or half rope)

Approach: the route is in the midst of the wall between the aforementioned crags. Scramble up the scree following the red marks for approx. 20 mins, reaching a wild pear tree. From there, head left following an horizontal ledge. The routes is on solid slabs, avoiding the reddish rock traits.

L1: 6c, 30m;
L2: 6b+, 27m;
L3: 6b, 25m.

Notes: the best season to climb here is winter: when it's sunny, the temperature is around 20°C. In summer and autumn the crags are way much too warm and the rock is scorching. The obligatory difficulty is 6b+, the bolting isn't close, and some run-outs require a bit of care. Difficulties to be confirmed. The wall firmness has been checked, and the most obvious loose boulders have been removed. However, the final lenght requires some more cleaning, featuring a huge loose boulder: pay attention!

Topo and pics by Andrea Gallo


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