Climbing in Bergamo's Valleys
The province of Bergamo is characterised by two major valleys: the Brembana Valley and the Seriana Valley. The first is narrower and more tortuous while the second is wider and straighter, but both have a variety of distinctive geological features. It is in fact not difficult to find diverse types of rock depending on the area and the altitude. Most of the crags in the area of Bergamo area are excellent quality limestone like the most famous crags; Cornalba Valle dei Mulini and Valgua. This rock comes in a wide variety of conformations and inclinations but generally consisits of compact slabs, more or less overhanging.
The rock Verrucano Lombardo is found in areas of the Upper Brembana Valley, where many often superb crags have been developed such as Roncobello and where there are also many multi-pitch climbs on the same rock.
Another area with a different conformation is the Tede Valley where the Onore crag is found. This crag with its solid conglomerate caves, scattered with both large and small pockets, has become the favourite venue of Bergamo's overhang experts. This type of rock is also often found in the areas near the River Brembo (Almenno) and the River Adda (Calusco) where a considerable number of climbs have been bolted. Another important site for climbing is the area of Lake Iseo where the mild climatic conditions mean that you can climb comfortably through the winter.
Also many of the crags to the north in the upper valleys, given their favorable aspect, permit climbing in the winter but considering the high altitude of some of these crags it is a good idea to check the air temperature first.
For long alpine style climbs there are basically two sites: the Presolana Massif and the Pinnacolo di Maslana. The Presolana is the fulcrum of Bergamo mountaineering and its North face offers the best and most demanding cliff in the province. It presents vertical walls and overhangs often on superb compact limestone though unfortunately there are also some loose sections. The Pinnacolo di Maslana is a totally different structure chracterised by a type of rock similar to granite (gneiss) sculpted with cracks and corners or offering very compact but grainy slabs. There are many and varied situtations that you can come across in the mountains around Bergamo and all of them are well worth a visit.
The main roads along the valleys and in the vicinity of the city make access to all the climbing sites fast and easy and flying by plane is a good option, with the international airport of Orio al Serio only a few kilometers from Bergamo.
Publisher: Versante Sud
Published Date: Spring 2009