At the end of Salto valley, a few kilometers from town of Rieti, there is an unusual canyoning place.
The peculiar feature is pudding-rock in huge compact layers, giving landscape peculiar shapes and colors. Moreover pudding
is also tender for water, so every little stream can dig a canyon. That's why we find a very high concentration of canyons
Right side of Salto Valley in Balzi area is much steeper than left size. It has high and long walls, on which many
difficult free climbing paths are traced. 2 streams go down right side: Fosso
Pozzeria and Fosso Dannote. You can go down through them by a sequence of rappels very very near one another.
Both streams are usually dry (I guess they bring water only in case of showers).
Fosso Dannote is more open and has more trees and bushes than Fosso Pozzeria.
||Lazio, Balzi di Grotti
|Entrance altitude (above sea level)
|Exit altitude (above sea level)
||Possible with SUVs. Trail can be also done with one car.
||Michele Angileri, Giancarlo Cicconi, Daniele Colucci, Alberto Del Grande; january 18th 2002
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What you find in the detailed description
I remember ...
Is january a good month for canyoning? Tradition says: no. "The right season goes from april to october, other months are wrong". But now we know they are fibs, because canyoning is being practised also in traditional "wrong season". Now we know we can swim comfortably in canyons having air at 0 Celsius degrees and water at 6 Celsius, wearing our usual 5 mm scuba wetsuit. And if there is no water at all? why couldn't we go in dry canyons in winter?
So here I am, in Rieti Flat under Balzi di Grotti, together with Giancarlo, Daniele and Alberto. The day before yesterday temperatures touched -15 Celsius, today we are at ... -8?
Rieti Flat is whitened by snow, but Balzi look as always, vertical and mediterranean. We prepare backpacks dancing at the rhythm of US3 music (to warm up ourselves).
My partners look professional, very equipped. They have a notebook computer with all maps inside, and a cable to program GPS to follow the path represented in map. It will work, but only if paths in map (drawed 50 years ago) still exist ...
First path is still there, comfortable. We get to an unasphalted road, in the point where second path should start. But there is no path at all, forever disappeared. I say "let's follow this road, it should bring us in right direction".
A little forward there is a branch having a better direction, but it stops in a few meters, amidst bush. I saw many bushes in my life, but this one seem to have tentacles, wraps aroud legs, arms, body, neck, we go on at the speed of one curse per meter ... Please Giancarlo, let's return to the road! "Nooo, resist! this is the game!" ... Thanks to God he convinces himself at last, so we go back to the road.
Can I believe it? another branch, worse than the former! Please Giancarlo don't trust GPS, let's go on the road, trust me ... But deaf Giancarlo seems anti-gravitational, disappears amidst almost vertical bushes. We follow him at the speed of two curses per meter.
At last torment ends, and we are ... yes on the same road we left! grrr...
The road goes up, maybe too much ... We get a good point of view, and realize the right path is 100 meters under. I am tired, I feel my backpack heavy, and have no will to put into a third bush to get there. Elders content me, so we can find a good path do go down: halleluiah!
Finally we are at the right place to begin the descent of Fosso Dannote!
Is there snow? yes, 10-15 centimeters, but gives us no trouble in adherence. Dannote starts open (not engaged). Some rappel, some easy downclimbing, then a little engagement which brings us at the start of the first high dry waterfall. High! We tie togeather two ropes, anchoring on a tree which seems to be placed there for the purpose. But one rope would have been enough, because waterfall is only 35 meters (second half overhanged).
With this first important waterfall stream becomes steeper. Rappels follow one after the other, without any walk between them. Down, down, down ... A 15 meters waterfall is nice and tight carved by water, soon after there is ... the big drop!
Fuck, how high is it? God, this one is really scary ... Single rope? double? from bottom we saw a ledge ... should we belay on it? Giancarlo believes no belay is necessary, ropes are enough. He wants to try: on worst case he will stop on the ledge (but he doesn't believe there is any ledge!!).
But ledge is there, 2 meters large! and ropes are enough. They are much in touch with rock under the ledge, where drop overhanges for last 30-35 meters, but abseiling on double rope is reasonably safe even in those conditions. And so it is.
Handshakes, last camera shot. Alberto (mountain climber since 15 years, today at its first canyon) says: the most beautiful abseiling in my life.
Photographs in this website show ultralight ropes (6 mm ropes made of high tenacity fibers). Read multimedia book Ultralight ropes canyoning technique to learn how to use them.
Copyright © 2002- Michele Angileri. All rights reserved.