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canyon exploring with Michele Angileri

Vallone di Èrchie (Vallone S. Nicola)

The Amalfi Coast is among the most famous places in Italy, but at the same time is among the less known ones. This paradox is due to the strangeness of this unique place. It was a truly hard place to live but it was always densely populated. Villages, homes and terrace fields rise in unbelievable corners. There are very few roads, so most places can be reached only on foot, after a hard ascent on long stairway paths, or rocky trails. And many many tourists come here, all to see the cathedral of Amalfi, the alleys of Positano, the coast and nothing else. So a kilometer away from the coast all becomes silent and solitary and unknown to tourism.
And here the woods are impenetrable jungles amidst huge rock walls, and lush streams go down hidden waterfalls and canyons.

The steep valley of Èrchie descends from east side of Mount Avvocata, with high waterfalls and very short narrows.

Name Vallone di Èrchie (Vallone S. Nicola)
Area Campania, Costiera Amalfitana
Nearest village Èrchie (Salerno)
Entrance altitude (above sea level) 350 m
Exit altitude (above sea level) 80 m
Length 1 km
Longest rappel 70 m
Rock Limestone
Rating4 (spring)
Shuttle No
Explored by Michele Angileri, Andrea Pucci; may 28 2006


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I remember ...

A canyon exploration needs to be accurately planned. First of all a reconnaissance is needed: it's the only way to have a picture of the valley and the place. Then you have to study the maps. Then prepare the equipment, chosen by years of experience: take all that might be useful. Then fix the date.

You're on the place, at last! It's time to divide the equipment and put it in the backpack. But when backpack is on your back you realize how heavy it is ... No, it's too heavy, gotta leave something in the car. The question is: what might be left without compromising our security? The camera of course (that's why you see no photographs here), a bottle of water (we will probably have a bit of thirst), accessory cords ... light wetsuit rather then heavy (a bit of cold will not kill us!).

The backpack is still too heavy. We decide to leave the long ropes and take the short ones.

A few hours pass. Descent begins, and we arrive on the top of a very high waterfall ... And our ropes aren't long enough! We can't rappel under the flow. We gotta do a belay and two rappels, out of water.

I see myself disconsolate at the bottom of that beautiful perfect sweet waterfall, trying to imagine how nice would be to rappel in the falling water ...

Next time.

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.