Ventaglio, rock climbing at Gemona
Mountain guide Pierpaolo Pedrini introduces the crag Ventaglio above Sella St. Agnes, one of the most beautiful places in the Gemonese region of NE Italy.
I'd looked at the fan-shaped band of rocks for years and always asked myself the same question : I wonder if the rock is any good? Strangely, no one had ever shown any interest in that crag and this obviously made me suspicious.
Finally one day we set off to see those bands of rock, curved as they were by immense tectonic activity... and it was practically love at first sight. I was impressed with the quality (and quantity) of the rock, the isolation of the place and the view across the Friuli plain: the sort of place which you'd never want to leave. The crag is located above the Sella St. Agnes col, one of the most beautiful places in the Gemonese region. Formerly the site of an ancient monastery and subject of countless legends!
The geological slice of rock had all the right prerequisites for being a great crag: superb rock, little brushing required and, above all, an approach long enough to keep those away who reckon it's not worth walking far to climb in a beautiful place. To get to "Ventaglio" you have to drive for 10 minutes along a forest road and then continue on foot along an easy path for and another 20 minutes... for some a defect, for others an asset. Personally speaking I've never had trouble with this, also when my rucksack was weighed down with bolts and all the gear needed to spend a day immersed in nature, far away from the noise of (in)civilisation.
The rock is superb quality limestone, typical of the Friuli crags, weathered with the odd pocket crimps that aren't always easy to see. Good footwork is key, the sheet of rock tends to be vertical although there are some short overhangs, as well al plenty of corners and cracks.
Take the road towards the center of Gemona and follow the signs for "Centro ricreativo L.A.S.E.R." Park in the layby before crossing the river and continue on foot towards the Sella Santa Agnese col. From here continue past an ancient well along the trail marked with yellow markers to reach the base of the characteristic fan-shaped crag. 30 minutes from the car.
by Pierpaolo Pedrini, Guide Alpine FVG
TOPO: al Ventaglio, Italy