Ascended the side crater above Torre del Filosofo (~3000 m) because of the volcanic activity (our plane was diverted from Catania to Palermo two days earlier). Anyway, great day out, two constantly smoking craters, fantastic weather, met only few people above upper cable car station.
Went back to the summit of Mt Etna, took the harder route to avoid the guided trips.
What is the recommended route? We're heading there in April, and not sure which way to go.
Etna was a good climb but beware of the Italian do not enter signs for the summit. They are only in affect when there is volcanic activity. I'll be back on the mountain Saturday for a solo climb.
climbed to one of the crater high points from start of gondola station on south side. too foggy/steamy to determine which crater and if it was the true high point. established trails as shown on CAI map without any snow or technical difficulties. there remains a great deal of uncertainly of red tape, namely permissibility of ascends on your own. some postings indicated a closure since 2011 as per 'prefectural ordinance' but obviously an attempt to feed business to guide services. no checks/blockages by officials. perfectly feasible and safe on your own.
Just got near the top and looked around for a while enjoying the volcanic landscape. Nothing erupting at this time but there were tons of fumaroles and a really fun hornito to climb around.
In general long, quiet boring walk up on volcanic stones. Started on foot from parking Nicolosi Nord, 1920 asl. Firstly under the cable-car to about 2400, next crossing jeep route to the 2920 m point. Next part is 'on your own risk' separated by the rope, even guides didn't take there clients that time because of volcano activity - too risky. However... Now by path, traverse hills and latter huge crater looked like a heel gate (lot of little sulphur clouds from every crack) to the pass under summit block. 20 m higher I've started to suffocate and cough in huge gas cloud. Slowly losing consciousness I've putted head into the backpack, that was the last chance to breath. Next slow with head in the backpack holed in hands, last 30 m to the summit, above this terrible cloud. It was nice to breath again with oxygen. Running in descent to avoid the same adventure again. 9 PM in Nicolisi Nord again. Nice to see the real volcanic landscape, but that walk up and Etna peak aren't worth the life...
On a 'non' climbing holiday to Sicily I managed to pursuade my wife that we needed to get up this awsome volcano... and we got to appreciate the full 10,000+ feet of ascent from sea level: by car, then gondola, then 4-WD, then finally on foot up past 'the new crater' and on to the summit, where the views were stunning when not obscured by clouds of suffocating sulphurous fumes! A great day out!
In July 2008 I successfully reached the rim of Bocca Nuova (One of Etna's summit craters) and it was tough going. Lots of loose volcanic gravel made hiking very strenuous starting from the upper cable car station. Then as you climbed the Bocca Nuova crater it got that steep on the upper slopes that sometimes we were on all 4s, and the sulphur dioxide gas didn't make it easy for us either.
Am walk-up from the south side. Guides in warming hut were a bit of local color.
This was the last of the four volcanoes we visited during our Southern Italian volcanoe trip with Baraka. Long tiring trekking up the mountain in deep volcanic sand. Mild volcanic activity at the craters.
took the cable car and weird lunar jeep/trucks up to the small extinct craters and the site of the 2001 eruptions that took out the ski hut. then, with our etna guide rosario and our volcano discovery geologist marta, we climbed the last 1000+ feet to the rim of the grand crater and up to the current highest point on the northeast crater. we crossed some new lava flows as recent as just 2 weeks ago, they were sharp and crunchy and slow going because a slip on that stuff would be really painful. then uphill, at the crater rim rosario explained that the grand crater is really made up of several smaller craters inside a big one and then two sort of attached craters on the southeast and northeast. the south east crater has been errupting (the geologist tells us they're "toy" erruptions) and so we couldn't hike it, the guides won't take groups. wished we could have seen some volcanic activity. saw plenty of fumeroles and inhaled our fair share of sulferous gases. hiked all the way back down past the vale du bove to our lodge rather than taking the jeep/trucks and cable car back down. took great jumping steps knee deep in volcanic ash and sand most of the way down. just amazing and unlike hiking other places!
Climbed with part of my regiment.July 1992 during the army service.
I climbed the mountain on my 21st birthday with my sister. Great trip, awesome mountain.
From south side (skiing area; 1.910m) up to Bocca Nuova ~3.260m
We climbed to the small side-crater's rim near Torre del Filosofo (about ~3000m) from the cable car station. There was still snow visible in some places under the ashes. The temperature was maybe about 10-12 C on 3000 metres.
We went up with the lift and after that we just followed a group with a guide. They were standing still and were not allowed to go up any further because of the eruption, that started that same week. We decided to go up a little bit higher till the weatherstation. I think it was around 3100 something. It was pretty cold -10C and people were standing in reel winterjackets, ofcourse we were dressed as stupid tourist in sweaters. At least the earth (scramble) fellt hot :-). Pretty soon we went down another track because the clouds came in. After a few hours we were back on our terrace enjoying the sunshine.
We climbed with a guide, Maurizio from Etnatrekking.com.
It is a steep walk or scramble up to the Cratere Centrale and a very steep slide down the lave screes from the Bocca Nuova. walking poles were very useful on the descent since some of the scree descents must have been getting on for 300m without a break!
There was a lot of lying snow and in fact the next day a blizzard completely whited out the summit for a time, so treat this mountain with respect!
A lot of the routes had completely changed from my guidebook, only about 5 Years old- there have been 3 significant eruptions since 2000 and many changes at the 4 Summit cones(- enormous!) as well as near the refugio Sapienza at Etna Sud.
From the drop off near Piano Provenzana to the southern refugio took about 6 hours on some very loose terrain- gaiters will keep the dust out of you boots.