Autumn Rock Climbing in Finale Ligure, Italy
Autumn in Europe is that weird but wonderful season where the conditions aren’t quite right to start venturing up the winter mountaineering routes but it’s too late to play on the Summer routes. Despite knowing that, I tried my luck anyway and booked in a long week end to climb Mont Argentera (3,297m) & Mount Matto (3,097m), both mixed terrain climbs.
Unfortunately but also fortunately, weather and conditions weren’t playing ball so plans were changed and my guide and I decided to rock climb in Finale Ligure. Rock climbing is the weakest aspect of my abilities as a mountaineer and in all honesty, up until Finale, I had never purely rock climbed, let alone attempt multi-pitch routes.
But that’s the great thing about Finale - there are about 5,000 different white marine limestone crags and routes ranging from super easy (1a’s, 2a’s) all the way through to the kind of routes that the likes of Alex Honnald would look at (9c’s). You can find everything from slabs, smooth vertical walls to mega steep overhangs. The style of climbing is technical, usually with the crux near the mid to end of the route.
After two glorious days, we had climbed four multi-pitch routes. I don’t remember the names of the first three but I lead-climbed the last one called the Avanzini (red) route (6a). It was a 125m route and seriously challenged me and pushed me way beyond my comfort zone but was AMAZING!
The best time to climb in Finale is spring and autumn - a perfect adventure to slot in just before or just after the Summer Alps climbing season. The best airport to fly into is Genova which is about an hour from Finale.
Towards the East of Finale, about 15 minutes drive, you’ll also find a place called Capo Noli, which offers some exquisite sea cliff rock climbing. I unfortunately didn’t get there but the pictures look amazing!
So, I hope I’ve inspired you to plan a trip to Finale Ligure and if I have then checkout a few useful tips and recommendations below:
Recommended Guide/Route book: Finale 51 Sport Climbing Guidebook
This is a brilliant book detailing each route, the GPS co-ordinates, the grade, the style, the steepness and the type of bolts used as well as sharing which crags are child friendly. It is pretty expensive but well worth it if Finale is on your wish list of climbing locations!
Recommended Hotels in Genova
Both to the hotels I stayed at are easy to get to and from the airport (about 10km) and located about 200m from a big bus station and train station. It is on the East side of Genova city centre which made it a great spot to get to Finale which is further East along the coast. The city centre is packed, think Oxford Circus in London packed just with Italians, espressos and focaccia! It wasn’t the prettiest area to be honest but it was definitely very functional
B & B Hotel Genova (£58/night)
Piazza Acquaverde 1, 16100 Genova, Italy
A large hotel chain which had the potential to be awful but was actually so lovely! The staff were very friendly and helpful, my room was squeaky clean and the breakfast was a cheap and cheerful buffet for £7! I felt like it was an absolute bargain for what I actually got. Would definitely stay here again and stay at this hotel chain in other cities.
Hotel Continental (£90/night)
Via Arsenale di Terra 1, 16126 Genova, Italy
This hotel is definitely more luxurious and smaller with less people than the B & B Hotel (which is directly opposite it, across the Plazza). I have to say though, the staff were a bit snobby as I walked in with my climbing backpack, boots and helmet in hand. The room was lovely, very well decorated and clearly well thought out and a bit larger than the room I had at the B & B Hotel. I didn’t stay for breakfast so I can’t comment but was overall a lovely stay.
Recommended Hotel in Finale Ligure
Gioia Bed & Breakfast (£45)
No website but you can find it on www.booking.com
Via Paolo Cappa 27, 17024 Finale Ligure
Really, really lovely place to stay with a central(ish) location in Finale and a stunning view of the sea (600m away). I had a shared bathroom but it was kept perfectly clean and tidy at all times. The owner, who didn’t speak much English but we still managed to understand each other, made my breakfast in the morning and hand-delivered fresh coffee and focaccia - such a treat! I highly recommend this little gem of a place!
Savo Gourmet Pizza, Genova - http://www.pizzeriasavo.it/
Sotto II Santo, Finale Ligure - Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, 6, 17024 Finale Ligure
The street you can use (Via Giovanni Nicotera) to get to Sotto II Santo is lined with climbing & mountaineering shops if you need any gear!
And finally, if you’re interested in learning about the history of climbing in Finale (which is absolutely epic) as well as seeing a bit of what’s available in Finale then check out this 40 min documentary. It’s in Italian but has English subtitles: https://www.finaleoutdoor.com/en/stories/petzl-legend-tour-the-first-episode-among-cliffs-climbers-and-finale-climbing-tales