South Face Ledges

Page Type
Toscana (Tuscany), Italy, Europe
Route Type:
Hiking, Scrambling
Time Required:
Half a day
Exposed Scramble

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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South Face Ledges
Created On: Aug 23, 2009
Last Edited On: Aug 23, 2009


Monte MemorianteThe south face of Monte Memoriante. The route starts in the lowest visible part.

Of the two routes to Monte Memoriante, the Ledge Route is the easier one, mainly since the serious part is pretty short. The route starts in the saddle between the mountain and Penna di Lucchio a few steps underneath and to the west of the Chimney Route. It follows barely pronounced ledges on rock which is of dubious quality.

The difficult section is short, however. Most of the route follows a very steep wide karst valley which leads to the summit plateau. Here, orientation is difficult, especially when descending along this route. As usual for karst formations you can easily find yourself above a crevice or face which puts an end to further progress.

Getting There

The main page details the itinerary to the trailheads at Lucchio in the north and Pontito in the south. Both villages are connected by a potholed dirt road, along which the first part of the ascent runs.

Route Description

South Face Ledge RouteThe barely pronounced ledges at the start of the route

  • General:
      - Start altitude: 600m (Lucchio), 800m (Pontito)
      - Summit altitude: 1158m
      - Prevailing exposure: East
      - Type: Steep exposed Scramble
      - Protection: None
  • Effort: 900m (Lucchio), 700m (Pontito)
  • Power: 2 - Very steep
  • Psyche: 4 - Very exposed
  • Difficulty: 3 - Steep with sections UIAA I and II
  • Orientation: 3 - Marked along the ledges, later difficult oriantation

    Regardless, whether you start at Zato above Lucchio or Madonna delle Grazie above Pontito you need to reach the saddle called Croce a Veglia. Since both villages are connected by a dirt road which runs across this saddle, the first part of the route is easy to find and achieve. From Madonna delle Grazie it is about 1km, from Zato about 1.5km plus an additional 200m of altitude.

    From the saddle follow another dirt road which circumvents Monte Granaio on its south-western side. (There is a path across the summit which, however, is pretty hard to find. This path head on to Monte Lischeta, from where an unmarked ridge traverse returns to the dirt road.) Ignore a road which turns off to the left to Casa Nancini, a farm which is plainly visible. Instead take the right road and head on northwards to a second saddle. Here again a road turns off to the left but head on straight. You'll reach the outlet of a gas pipeline, where from the right the path across Monte Granaio and Monte Lischeta joins.

    Head north- and downwards from the saddle, diving into a dark oak and beech forest. The road winds towards a third saddle, this time Le Calcinaie, the col between Monte Lischeta and Penna di Lucchio. At a switchback in the road the south ridge route to Penna di Lucchio separates.

    Follow the road, which leads down steeply into a hollow, where you can find wonderful chestnut trees. Watch out for a path to the right (clearly visible) from where the west face traverse of Penna di Lucchio starts. First you hike underneath the vertical part of the face which, however, retreats, leaving a steep slope. The path winds through the chestnut trees slowly gaining in elevation. Finally, a few switchbacks take you up to the saddle with Monte Memoriante.
    Penna di Lucchio west face
    Penna di Lucchio

    Here look for a pronounced tower in the south face of the mountain, to the right of which the Chimney Route starts. Instead descend a little to the west where several marks point to the start of the Ledge Route.
    South Face Ledge RouteOn one of the climbing sections

    Immediately the path heads onto a ledge while underneath the face drops away. A few steps on solid rock bring you to the first of three gullies. The ledge turns into the gully, heading out on the far side. Within the gully the rock is brittle and dangerous to tread on. Leaving the gully requires some UIAA I climbing. Now a grass covered ledge heads up-and westward towards a shoulde. A second gully awaits you, after which a long UIAA I (II in one place) section follows. This takes you to the base of a wide steep valley, where the technical difficulties stop.
    South Face Ledge Route
    South Face Ledge Route
    South Face Ledge Route

    However, the marks vanish and you are forced to select between several possible choices to reach the summit. A good, while not the least difficult choice leads to the south summit, a small exposed false summit, towering above the east face of the mountain, from where a short (karst-hopping) stroll takes you to the top. An alternative is to head to the and of the steep valley which directly leads to the summit plateau a less difficult but also less beautiful route.

    Descend the same route (orientation!) or by the exposed chimney route, if you are able to find it in the maze of the plateau.

    Essential Gear

    Hiking gear is sufficient though you might consider rope, harness and some wide cams.

  • South Face Ledges

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