Chris Wright described Finale as "Such a good vibe, good food, friendly people, #@&%ing castles, and amazing stone." Chris is a cultured IFMGA Mountain Guide. So he knows a good place. Listening to Chris, in October, Cathy and I spent two weeks working and climbing in Finale with Eric Larson and his wife Kat. Finale is on the Italian Riviera, close to the dinky country of Monaco, and the French cities of Nice and Cannes.
Finale Ligure and the Mediterranean.
We actually stayed in Finaleborgo, a walled-in fort within Finale Ligure. Here's Cathy strutting her new Italian E9 climbing pants through Finaleborgo on a quiet morning. Other days the streets were packed with arm-waving Italians, the greeting of "Ciao! Ciao!" echoing off the ancient walls. People aren't slaves to their Facecramp here. They don't text much. They talk. Italians really like to talk.
Cathy and I spent the entire 16 days with Eric and Kat. They live in Telluride, Colorado, where Eric ski patrols and Kat massages. The biggest issue we had the entire trip was deciding, "Should we get another vino, or switch to birra?"
Finale has thousands of climbs. Three thick guidebooks cover the region. The climbing is on short cliffs in the low hills above Finale. Here's Cathy climbing a 6b+ at Monte Cucco on a windy day. This sector has the best rock, but some routes are polished like porcelain from 30 years of sweaty, chalky climbers.
Eric leading a 6b. He's equipped with crag pack of Peroni Birra, for Peroni power at the crux.
Cathy topping out on Infezoine Finalese (20m 6a) in the Grotta dell 'Edera. This sector had the most memorable climbing of our trip. This massive cylinder of pocketed limestone was once a cave, before most of the roof collapsed. Access to the Grotta was through a dark cave with fixed ropes.
We spent half our trip acting like Italians: drinking wine in cafes and talking enthusiastically.
Eric resupplies the home stash at the neighborhood vinoteca. Two liters of Nero d'Avola for €4.50.
Thank you so much for a great trip Cathy, Kat, Eric and Finale!