The multipitch – Via Lunga is found in Finale Ligure, on Bric Pianarella and is a cool, unique, and fun route with caving, exposure, clean limestone, stunning vistas, great fluid movement, scrambling, tree slinging and solitude. One of the climbing guide books describes the fantastic Via Lunga as a 320 meter 6a+.
It was not a wild new year night filled with some serious partying but rather a cold and windy one spent in the Monte Cucco camping after a couple of tasty authentic Italian pizzas. The morning was spent across the valley from Monte Cucco in the sun, drinking espresso, washing and eating burritos. It was a relaxed start to the day because in the winter Bric Pianarella does not begin to come into the sun till 1 pm.
From the parking spot to the base of the route was an easy 20 minute up hill hike on a good trail.
P1-6a+ 30 meter. The route had some nice small pockets which I enjoyed and thought it was a good start to the afternoons adventure.
P2-5b 30 meter. From the first belay we had to crawl through a cave and hike left 60 meters to the next rock bluff which was followed by a vertical jug fest up clean crisp limestone. I did use some slings as threads because the massive old steel pins were rusted colored.
P3-5c 25 meter. This was a smoothish, slabbish, chunck of rock with some slopey holds, some textured side pulls and lots of high feet on the same slopey hand holds.
P4-4c 25 meter. A slab traverse up a nice clean sharp arête then some light movement over toilet sized loose blocks to a tree covered ledge. Here we could see the big face of Bric Pianarella and the only other climbers on the wall 100 meters away.
P5-5a 30 meter. Here there was another bushy tree covered ledge hike for 50 meters rightward. The climbing began up 10 meters on pockets to a great white 15 meter dihedral with a finger sized crack.
P6-5b 30 meter. This pitch involved a short 30 meter walking traverse right on the ledge. This clean pitch had small pockets on a vertical wall and arrived at a massive ledge with a 70 meter high orange wall.
P7-4c 10 meter. The small birth cave. The route’s bolts go around but when presented with dangerous bolts or an exciting squeeze, I will squirm every time. As I climbed out of the rock the sun was setting and I set the belay up.
P8-5a 15 meter. We traversed right again and up a solid layback flake to a stunning situation.The bright orange pink skies and bats flying around made for a great spot to belay and be in the moment.
P9-6a 40 meter. This was the money pitch, with high exposure and a fantastic view down the valley to the Mediterranean sea and the castle ruins on the hillside and the old town of Finale Borgo.
We arrived at the summit had a snack and began the 45 minute walk down the wide and easy trail with head lamps. To arrive at the car and head back to Monte Cucco for a pasta dinner in the moonlight at 6:30 pm.