canyon exploring with Michele Angileri

Vallone dell'Arco

A steep deep valley with some rappel and many downclimbings, that ends in majestic narrows.

Name Vallone dell'Arco
Area Basilicata
Nearest village Muro Lucano
Elevation loss 335 m
Length 1100 m
Highest cascade 20 m
Rock Limestone
Rating2
Shuttle Possible
Explored by Lower canyon: Giuseppe Antonini, Paola Santinelli; april 23 2003
Complete descent: Michele Angileri, Andrea Pucci; april 20 2013

 

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I remember ...

The unknown is the essential feature of an exploration, and this also applies to canyon exploring. It is a good idea to try to reduce the unknowns by performing reconnaissance to the entrance and exit of canyon, verifying the access routes, observing the canyon from above. All these precautions, however, require time, one more day dedicated to reconnaissance, and so if canyon is far away from home you usually opt for a fast, incomplete reconnaissance or for nothing at all.
So also accessing the stream can become an adventure. Does the old path shown by topographic map still exist? or it is destroyed by a landslide, canceled by impenetrable spiny bush? So you might reach canyon's startpoint 2-3 hours later than you expected, perhaps exhausted. It happened in the past, but not this time: the path still existed, it was there where I expected it to be and it was tiring but not too much.

The surprise was the water: at the exit of canyon the bed was dry, while upstream there was a decent flow and some pools. It is the karstic nature of the soil: water flowing on the surface may be captured to the underground for reappearing in another place. But prudently we had wetsuit in our backpacks: you understand why our backpacks are always so heavy? :-)

Another surprise came a few months later, when I was going to publish on my website the page of Vallone dell'Arco: my friend Pino Antonini told me that he had done a few reconnaissances in the streams near Muro Lucano and he had descended the Arco canyon in 2003.
Andrea and I had seen no traces of previous descents but Pino knows how to descend a canyon without artificial anchors, and we are aware of it. Discussing it with Pino, however, I realized that him and Paola had gone through lower canyon only (the most interesting) while Andrea and I had traveled all over the valley from the plains from which it originates, and so we had descended also the previously unexplored upper narrows.

Photos and video by Michele Angileri and Andrea Pucci

Copyright © 2002- Michele Angileri. All rights reserved.