canyon exploring with Michele Angileri

Forra del Ciclope

With its 1540 m face to Thyrrenian Sea, Mount Cocuzzo rises above the tall crest of Catena Costiera range. On clear days it gives a stunning view that goes from Cilento to Etna, passing by Pollino, Sila, Aspromonte and the Aeolian Islands.
Like the rest of Catena Costiera range, the abundant rains allow the growth of abundant and lush vegetation but, unlike the rest, the Cocuzzo is made of limestone. Water flows in the karst networks of the underground, and so streams are usually dry.
Conversely the limestone cliffs are more suitable to the genesis of canyons than the crystalline rocks of Catena Costiera, so the Cocuzzo hosts ravines and gorges with awesome forms, although dry.

Cyclops canyon is on western side of the mountain. It is very steep, featuring a continuous sequence of falls enclosed in narrows, with some unexpected views on the sea.

The most characteristic element of this canyon is Cyclops Fall, deep slightly less than 70 m, divisible into more pitches, dominated by a huge wedged boulder (the Cyclops) which creates an "eye" that looks towards the near Tyrrhenian Sea.

Name Forra del Ciclope
Area Calabria
Nearest village Fiumefreddo Bruzio
Elevation loss 200 m
Length 350 m
Highest cascade 40 m
Rock Limestone
Rating4
Shuttle Possible
Explored by Michele Angileri; december 26 2016

 

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What you find in the detailed description

I remember ...

There is an aspect of my canyoning activity that you should have understood by now from the pages of this site, and another of which perhaps you have not realized. The first is that my activity is mainly aimed at unexplored canyons. Since there are many explored canyons, you can easily realize that going through unexplored canyons results from a choice. And I can do it because there are a lot of unexplored canyons in hilly and mountainous areas that I attend. They are so many that I cannot explore them all. And this is the other aspect of my canyoning activity, the one you might not have realized: I have a long "list" of canyons to explore. For many of them I did the reconnaissance, finding the entrance and exit routes.
The list is never exhausted, also because while exploring a gorge you often find another one in the vicinity. It's like Nicholas of Cusa's "learned ignorance": the more you know, the more you realize there exist lot of things you don't know and you never imagined before. So, you get the paradoxical result that the number of things you still have to learn increases faster than the number of things you know.

In my "list" there are canyons that are waiting for more than 20 years before I find the right conditions to explore them: the chance, weather, ... and maybe reliable companions you can count on, comrades that create opportunities to go exploring instead of creating problems, that push forward rather than being pulled dead weight, or (worse) push in the wrong direction.
As years go by, it happens that some of the canyons in my "list", usually those in areas far from my home, are discovered and explored by some new-born canyoning teams dedicated to the exploration of canyons in a small area near their home. These teams always have a charismatic leader that feels those places like his own home. Usually these leaders are friendly and hospitable, happy to show off "their canyons" to anyone, willing to devote time and energy to accompany you there. With them you are a welcome and pampered guest, but if you resume doing in "their" area what you did right there before they existed, i.e. exploring canyons, ...


It was in 2011 (perhaps 2012): I was driving for the first time on the road up to Cocuzzo mount from Fiumefreddo Bruzio and I saw two evident gorges, one beside the other. I didn't remember if I found the entrance points that day or another. However, the little drainage basin and the big blackberry bush barriers in the bed made me think (wrongly) that they were little interesting, much less attractive than other routes of the "list".
There is also to say that I am in Calabria almost exclusively in august, during summer holidays, and in august it is not advisable to go through dry canyons because they are hot and humid, decidedly less pleasant than aquatic canyons.
Maybe if someone came with me at Christmas or Easter holidays ...
But no one came, and I explored other canyons instead.

So the Cyclops canyon and its neighbor remain hidden and forgotten in the bottom of the "list" till 2016, when the canyoning team "le forre del Tirreno" began to find canyons in Cocuzzo mount. Going through Forra Nova with them I finally realize the canyoning potential of Cocuzzo, because I see that here the orogeny has made that even a very modest stream can flow in beautiful and unexpected gorges. This means that the two little canyons I found in 2011 can be really interesting. I must explore them, as soon as I can.
So I propose to the group leader to explore it together, but the proposal is probably not understood. Surely it is not implemented, because the day before the chosen one he sends me a message telling he wants to show the nice canyon he had recently explored in the Cocuzzo ...
But, my friends ... there is a beautiful gorge ready to be explored, and you're telling me to go instead repeating something you just explored? (which incidentally was also in my "list", and so I would have liked to be exploring with you ...)
It's Christmas holiday, and I have time for 2, maybe 3 canyoning days only: doing a repetitiosn would meant losing an exploration, and I might return back to Roma without having been able to explore the two gorges while you (that live here) would have all the time needed to find and explore them without me ...
No, thanks: my canyoning activity is mainly aimed at unexplored canyons.

So I explored the Cyclops, alone.
Weather then turned bad, and I could not explore the other canyon during Christmas holiday. I planned to do it at Easter, but in the meanwhile "le forre del Tirreno" found and explored it ...

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