Rock Climbing in Sardinia

Sardinia is a destination that should be high on any climber’s list with everything from high quality bouldering to single and multi-pitch sport routes, big, adventurous lines and even deep water soloing. Plenty of sun, some of the most dramatic and beautiful coastlines anywhere and good food only add to the appeal. In recent years development has continued across the grades with existing areas expanded and whole new crags being discovered.

Welcome to Ogliastra

Cala Gonone is probably the best known of Sardinia’s climbing areas and one that we’d visited before, this time we wanted to try the rapidly developing and diverse crags of Ogliastra.

With huge variety and an unspoilt feel it didn’t disappoint, even the best routes often had little sign of traffic and we often had whole sectors to ourselves. With just a few days we wanted to sample as great a variety of climbing as we could.

Pedra Longa

Baunei was the closest area to where we were staying and had incredibly varied crags just a short drive apart.

Pedra Longa was a spectacular needle of rock emerging from the crystal clear water that surrounds Sardinia. In peak summer season I suspect it’s a little different but in the quieter times with better temperatures for climbing it’s a quiet and idyllic spot that’s a great place for a couple of routes and a swim. There are only a few lines on the tower itself with the easier Marinaio di Foresta getting the most traffic at 6a+, we climbed the newer Marco, a 7a that felt harder than expected as the sun moved off the crag and the wind picked up!

Marco, 7A, 5 Pitches, Pedra Longa

This more recent addition to Pedra Longa has some nice, if still slightly sharp, climbing in a stunning location above the sea. A distinct crux pitch with easier climbing before and after.

The route is accessed by scrambling to the top of the pinnacle and abseiling in, care is required to access the anchor.

Monte Oro

Monte Oro was one of the closest crags to where we were staying and an obvious one to visit with its commanding position high on the hill side with spectacular views out to sea. After our rather too enthusiastic attempts at rallying up the rough, pot holed track I’d recommend leaving your hire car at the bottom of the hill to avoid any mishaps!

This was a great place to enjoy some slightly easier but still high quality climbing with arms tired from our efforts at Ulassai.

39.5°C, 6B+, Monte Oro
This was one of several well bolted routes on this face with generously sized holds and good rock.

Su Casteddu

Ulassai was a little higher and further inland from our base in the town of Lotzorai and may soon become a destination in its own right thanks to an explosion of high quality single pitch routes in recent years, all on a range of aspects.

We were staggered as we walked round the corner of the approach path to Su Casteddu for the first time, an incredible sweep of steep limestone sat in a spectacular position that rivalled anything at a more famous Spanish or French crag. With a spread of high quality routes and only a few other friendly teams around it was a great place to spend a couple of days soaking up the sun and piecing together stunning routes.

Skyfall, 7C, Su Casteddu
This was the line that really grabbed our attention when we arrived at the crag. A stunning, technical wall climb on a beautiful piece of rock in a fantastic location.
Getting there

As a popular tourist destination Sardinia is relatively easy to get to although flights do become a little more sporadic outside of peak season. We flew to Cagliari in the south and hired a car relatively cheaply, it would be very hard to make the most of the areas available without your own transport. There’s a wide variety of accommodation across a range of budgets but the Lemonhouse in Lotzorai is a fantastic base for exploring Ogliastri with the best breakfast on the island and limitless and enthusiastic beta from the owner, local legend Riky Felderer. Eating out wasn’t expensive and with a little asking around we found some fantastic food with the best often being found in the more unlikely looking places!

Gear
If you’re going predominantly to sport climb then a single 60 or 70m rope and plenty of ‘draws will suffice but we did squeeze in a pair of half ropes as well, these give you more options on the bigger routes and would be essential if you were keen to explore some of the more adventurous multi-pitch lines. A good compromise might be to just take an extra half rope if you’re bigger plans were limited. We took a small trad rack but didn’t need any of it for the routes we ultimately did, there are a few trad only areas appearing in Ogliastri with a spread of grades.