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Michele Angileri

Fosso di Iaccio Piano

Look at the western side of Laga Mounts. On the left (north) rises the tall elegant pyramid of Pizzo di Sevo. A bit south of it rises the tall square rocky Cima Lepri. Both are among the most beautiful tops in Laga Mounts. The saddle between them is called Vado di Annibale (Hannibal pass), because the charming trail leading to it (called Tracciolino di Annibale) goes on a wide ledge that looks like a trail for the mythical elephants with which Hannibal comes to Italy millenniums ago.

The streams forming west of the Vado go down steep by typical Laga cascades. The main stream is Fosso di Iaccio Piano. In the right seasons it offers to canyoneers a long, continuous and wonderful descent. Unforgettable.

Name Fosso di Iaccio Piano
Area Lazio, Monti della Laga
Nearest village Amatrice
Elevation loss 465 m
Length 1400 m
Highest cascade 60 m
Rock Sandstone
Shuttle No
Explored by Michele Angileri, Andrea Pucci; september 16 2007.


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I remember ...

Canyoning on Laga Mounts is not simple, easy or comfortable. With perhaps a couple of exceptions, long and steep approaches are needed, often on unmarked paths almost completely disappeared. Heavy backpacks are needed. The effort is rewarded by an extraordinary environment, stunning views and, if the conditions are right, by a lot of charming waterfalls.
Unfortunately, it's not easy finding the right conditions on Laga Mounts. Però, purtroppo, non è facile trovare le condizioni giuste sulla Laga. The problem is snow ...

Plenty of snow falls on the Laga. Every winter avalanches fall from the steep mountainsides and fill the valleys. Sometimes they are filled so much that 30 m rock steps become skiable slopes. When the streams come back to life in spring they have to open their way through the avalanche snowfields, and they do so by digging them from below, thus creating spectacular, precarious and dangerous tunnels, subject to frequent collapses. So although the flow rate is very good, this is not a good time to descend the Laga streams: better waiting for the snowfields to disappear. But when avalanche snowfields melt completely, snow on the slopes has long since ended and most of the streams have modest or little flow rate, or no flow at all ...

And it can be worse: particularly heavy snowfalls can generate extraordinary avalanches, which raze strips of beech forest and carry them to the bottom of the valleys, creating impassable tangles of branches and trunks, which force daring escapes on the steep and rocky slopes.
In 2017 this phenomenon had particularly exceptional dimensions. In January it snowed a lot, so much to isolate villages and damage power lines. However, snow did not have time to settle: on January 18th, in the space of a few hours, 4 earthquakes more than 5 in magnitude, with epicenters in the area between Montereale and Pizzoli, caused the triggering of enormous avalanches. There was no previous record of such big avalanches in the area. One of them hit the 4-star Rigopiano hotel, on northeastern side of the Gran Sasso, causing death of 29 people (hotel guests and staff): a frightening tragedy, leaving astonished.
At the bottom of many valleys of the Laga, huge tangles of broken trees accumulated, and many canyons became imppracticable for many years.
It happened in Fosso di Iaccio Piano too. Today (2024) the lower canyon is still covered by layers of soggy, slippery logs. Proceeding along the riverbed is possible today, but it is not at all easy or comfortable.

But this is Laga Range, and if you come here it's because you're not looking for easy or comfortable things...

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