Balza della Penna (Monte Montiego) 875 m
Monte Montiego 875 m. is a mountain lying in the Appennino Umbro-Marchigiano, in central Italy, Marche region, about 50 km from the town of Fano. Being quite extensive, the mountain is included in the territory of three municipalities, Piobbico, Acqualagna and Urbania, all located in the province of Pesaro and Urbino. Monte Montiego projects towards the South an imposing and stunning limestone wall 200 meters drop, known by the name of Balza della Penna. Located inside a landscape of forests, mountains and other walls, Balza della Penna overlooks a ravine named Gorgo Cerbara, dominated on the opposite side from the large amount of Monte Nerone.
The beauty of the wall had already been noticed by the team formed by Castellani and Vampa, which just in the Sixties realized a fine route, now become the great classic route of the wall. The wall had been then little frequented for a certain period of time , but in recent years thanks to the re-equipment of pre-existing routes and the opening of new ones, and moreover adding some single pitch routes, has become one of the most popular climbing site in Appennino Umbro-Marchigiano.
The nearest town to Balza della Penna is the nice village of Piobbico.
- Coming from the A14 Motorway exit Fano and follow the SS3 towards Roma. Exit from the junction of Acqualagna and continue towards the village of Piobbico. After about 8 km, just before a quarry, at km 40,800, park your car before a bridge on a parking lot on the left side of the road. Towards right the beautiful shape of Balza della Penna overlooks the road, perfectly visible from here.
- Coming from the E45 Cesena-Roma exit Città di Castello and take the road of Apecchio getting to Piobbico (about 37 km from Città di Castello). Pass the village and follow the road, reaching the bridge and the parking lot (on the right coming from Piobbico) as for the previous point.
Takes a path opposite to the parking lot leading onto the forest and rising with several bends. Reached an area with poor vegetation, the path rises on steeper ground. Obvious tracks lead to the left towards the base of the wall at various starting point of climbing routes. 30 minutes from the parking lot.
Balza della Penna South Wall – Via Castellani-Vampa report (UIAA scale)
Summit altitude: m 875
Difficulty: Alpine D, UIAA max V and A1 (or 6b in free climbing)
Route length: 230 m
First ascent: Paolo Castellani and Vampa 1966
Starting point: road to/from Piobbico
A classic middle grading climb on good rock with a few fine pitches. The route is full equipped, bring only 15 quickdraws and slings for the belays.
The starting point (signpost) is located about fifty meters to the left of the route "Uscita di Sicurezza", to the left of the apparent gully under the vertical ridge of the characteristic hump camel visible from the road. 30 minutes.
P1 - Climb vertically on the well carved wall heading to the edge and climb it, reaching the first belay, IV+, 25 m. P2 - Above the bealay traverse left for about ten meters, then directly again climb a little pillar reaching the wire of the ridge where it's located the second belay, IV, 25 m. P3 - Climb vertically along the fine edge up to a big holm oak, above which is located the third belay, V, 25 m. P4 - Slanting left then, after having bypassed a pillar, continue vertically climbing a slab and then on easier ground up to a ledge. Follow it to the left to the belay, III, 25 m. P5 - Up the dihedral with several pegs, then slanting right under the roof to keep a small corner-crack. Climb it and exit left towards a tree. Belay, A1/V, or VI+/VII. This pitch was originally climbed in aid-climbing. P6 - From the stance traverse right, up on easier ground to keep a wide dihedral. Up the dihedral, when it ends exit left and traverse left above a big tree. Follow the ascending ledge slanting right on easy ground and belay on a tiny tree. P7 - Up again the slanting ledge, progressively steepening and belay on another tiny tree. P8 - A last short wall, then a chimney lead to the foresummit (summit log). Follow the rocky summit ridge to the summit cairn (red marks)
Descent from Balza della Penna - From the foresummit follow, in the North-West direction, the easy ridge (red marks), sometimes sharp, for about a hundred meters, getting to the true summit of Balza della Penna. Continue on the ridge, now larger, getting a large saddle. On the ridge again, heading North, to a clearing. Descend to the right (East direction) the wooded slopes (red marks) leading to a wide clearing, cross it to the East, to its end. The path restarts at the end of the clearing, descending into the wood, in the direction of the wall, keeping away from the East wall to avoid the rocks. This descent is the best and quite advisable, being fast and not involving rappels. 30 minutes.
- Segui l'onda - 6c max, 6a obbl., 6 pitches Full equipped route
There are not particular restriction in climbing and hiking.
Given the South exposure, Balza della Penna is a typical middle-season wall. The best period to climb is from middle September to middle April, but in winter sometimes it can be a bit cold. Summertime is ruled by the excessive heat.
The nearby village of Piobbico offer different kinds of accomodation.
"Marche multipitches" guidebook by Igor Brutti e Samuele Mazzolini - Ed. Versante Sud
1:200.000 UMBRIA E MARCHE T.C.I.
1:25.000 MONTE NERONE - Carta dei sentieri
1:25.000 IGM F.116 - IV N.O. - Piobbico