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canyon exploring with Michele Angileri

Fosso dei Cavalli

The greatest canyon in Lazio. A long trail with a long approaching march. Fosso dei Cavalli opens in the most hidden sector of Mount Terminillo. Its first part is vertical, a great sequence of waterfalls ending at the confluence with the so-called Right Branch (also called Fosso della Tana). Then follows an open part and finally majestic wonderful narrows.
A must.

Name Fosso dei Cavalli
Area Lazio, Monti Reatini
Nearest village Sigillo (Rieti)
Entrance altitude (above sea level) 1460 m
Exit altitude (above sea level) 880 m
Length 1100 m
Longest rappel 53 m
Rock Limestone
Shuttle No
Explored by Michele Angileri, Riccardo Hallgass; august 1993.
The last part of the canyon was climbed at half eighties by Lamberto Brucchietti and others.


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I remember ...

In autumn 1992 my friend Federico Donati lent me the IGM topographic maps of Terminillo area.
They showed a valley on eastern Terminillo, that looked interesting. Map showed many steep tributaries of the main stream, passing into rocks. Each of them could have been a canyon!
A few days after I was there, but tributary streams weren't! There was instead steep coluoirs of debris, often closed by impassable bush. However I was there to see, so I went on looking at each of them searching for cascades or interesting forms. One of them was more difficult to reach than the others: I had to pass trhough a few blackberry bushes and across the main stream. Then ...
... a wonderful scary narrows, enclosed in very high walls that made it impossible to be seen from the outside.
I had found an interesting canyon. What's its name on map? Fosso dei Cavalli ...

Winter and spring passed by. In summer I finally went for locating canyon's entry point. A path shown in map should have led me to the right place, but path had been abandoned since some decades, and I lost it. Despite this I found canyon's entry point, that looked very different from exit point. Before my eyes there was a vertical canyon, a sequence of cascades enclosed in low walls. I found also a good viewpoint over two high cascades with which the stream was reaching the bottom of a circus of rock walls. Second one looked over 50 meters.

In those years my canyoning partner was Riccardo Hallgass. In the past years he had gone many times to spend summer vacations on a few known dolomite ridge called Monti del Sole. Riccardo had told me about that amazing world of walls, ledges, solitude and canyons. Yes, there were many canyons on Monti del Sole, and many of them would probably been still unexplored. We had planned to go there in august 1993, and so we did.
Once there I realized nothing was less than Riccardo had told. Really amazing mountains, with an unbelievable amount of canyons on a mountain so small. A canyoning paradise ...
... with a hellish weather! tell me who is the idiot who had called these mountains as Monti del Sole (Mountains of the Sun): we had days and days of rain and showers!! A really dangerous weather for going through canyons.
The day we had our tent floating in camping meadow I told Riccardo it was better for us to turn back to Roma. Better to go exploring on Terminillo ...

In Roma we found another season. There was summer, there was burning sun and very hot weather. Terminillo, this is really a "mountain of the sun". That's why we began going up to canyon's entry point before dawn. It was hard to bring up our heavy packpacks, but we managed.
Once at first cascade the adrenaline we could not pull out on Monti del Sole started giving us speed and energy. We placed bolts by hand (we had no hammer-drill), cascade to cascade, till we saw the high cascade I had seen from the outside ...
... but it was in front of us! it was another canyon, whose stream had not been signed on map! Upper Fosso dei Cavalli was made by two canyons joining together. We were exploring the branch at orographic left.

After the vertical canyon came the great narrows I had seen last autumn ...

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.