Climbing Monte Accellica
Friday, May 10
So, as you may have gathered from the text so far, the weather had been generally cold and wet, with only a few nice spots here and there for a few hours. I had been carefully monitoring the weather forecast for a stretch of good weather that would last for most of a day, so that I might take some time for myself and go on a hike up a local peak. Although by no means perfect, Friday and Saturday's forecast were the most promising candidates. Even though the forecast was slightly better for the Saturday, I pulled the trigger on the Friday because I felt there was a small possibility that my cousin Giovanni might want to do something together on a weekend day (when he wasn't busy working).
Towards the Picentini
I wanted to do a climb in the Picentini Range just south of Avellino. I found one, named Monte Accellica, that had an interesting looking looping route up and over the mountain's twin-peaked ridgeline, and that even had a section of technical via ferrata climbing.
So, after a bunch of research poring over the limited online info on this mountain (mostly from a particular local named Francesco Raffaele), I was ready to tackle the peak. I got up super early (even then, Filomena was up and offering me coffee and breakfast sweets) and drove the 30 or so kilometres to the valley just to the northwest of the peak.
As there wasn't a lot of detailed information on the trailhead location, I had to wing it a bit and use intuition and a bit of searching to find the right place to park the car and start walking. Nevertheless, by about 7:30 a.m. I was hiking along an old forest road towards the mountain.
Within about 40 minutes I was climbing along the southwestern ridgeline towards Accellica's northern summit. Occasional crags and lookouts provided... or rather, *would* have provided, excellent views.... but the morning so far was mostly cloudy. Occasionally I'd get a brief tantalizing glimpse of distant landscape or a patch of blue, but that was it. I hoped for a clearing trend before or during my traverse across the twin summits.
Starting off on old roads
I reached the North Summit of Monte Accellica shortly before noon. The summit was nicely bare and in the open, but a solid cloud had enveloped everything at this altitude, and there wasn't much to see. As I was on a schedule to arrive back in Avellino at a reasonable hour, I couldn't just sit around and wait.
From the North Summit, I began to descend steeply down into the big notch between the south and north summits. Here's where things got more challenging - the start of the protected climbing path (also known as Via Ferrata) bit. I got out my ferrata climbing stuff and clipped in. For the most part, it was a straightforward, fairly easy grade of ferrata. There were a few bits of somewhat sketchy and damaged protection/wire.
The socked-in cloud conditions persisted all the way down into the bottom of the notch and the ferrata climb back up to the south summit. Rather disappointing, really, as I'm sure there was some excellent scenery to be observed along here. At this point, I was resigned to not seeing much of anything at all. It really didn't seem as if the stubborn clouds were going to clear away anytime soon. At least it wasn't raining.
After the technical climb up to the south summit, the route returned to just plain hiking - a very pleasant hike at that, along a mostly open descending ridgeline (still sans views today). Eventually I interesected and began following the descent trail that would lead me back down to the lowlands, in the direction that would allow me to close my hiking loop.
I encountered some navigation difficulties in the forest below Accellica (again, some rather unclear maps and signage), but eventually I managed to thread the right paths together, and, after a solid 11+ hours of hiking, I arrived back at the car. It had been a fairly strenuous undertaking. I was happy that I achieved exactly the route I had hoped to make. The only big fly in the ointment was not seeing almost any of the scenery due to clouds. I'd like to come back and do this route again at some point when the weather is more co-operative.
I called ahead to Avellino as soon as I was back in the car and on the road. Seeing as my relatives tend to be on the nervous and worrying side of the spectrum, they were very concerned that I had not returned yet. I stressed to them that I was within my estimated hiking time and that yes, I would indeed be home, safe and sound, for supper time (which is generally around 8-9pm). Yeesh!
if you'd like to read a detailed trip report of the Accellica climb with a lot more pictures and information, please click here