In centtral Vallone Inferno
Vallone Inferno, the Valley of Hell, what a befitting name! The narrow valley is located to the south-east of the Monte dei Cervi summit and doesn't even lead directly to it. It runs rather in north-easterly direction, away from the summit, which later can be reached by a ridge traversea and a slope scramble.
The Vallone from afar looks quite straightforward but once at its base you see that it runs steeply up across scree slopes - limestone scree of all shapes and sizes. In its upper part it is very much overgrown and you have to negotiate thistles and rock rose bushes. Once on top of the Vallone the going gets easier but now orientation turns into the main problem. Several cattle tracks lead into the generally correct direction and directly beneath the summit a forest of dwarf beeches bars the way. You have to hike from clearing to clearing but it soon gets obvious that you are in a labyrinth with several exits. Once through it you reach the vast summit plateau and the orientation problems vanish.
Upper exit of Vallone Inferno
The access to the trailhead is described on the Monte dei Cervi main page. The climb starts near a forestry station and follows a dirt road for the first km.
- Start altitude: 1028m
- Summit altitude: 1796m
- Prevailing exposure: S
- Type: 45min on a dirt road, 2 1/2h along difficult trail-less terrain
- Protection: unprotected
Effort: 800m elevation gain
Power: 2 - strenuous
Psyche: 1 - unproblematic - maybe a bit scary on the Vallone Inferno scree fields
From the trailhead pass the forestry station on a dirt road on its eastern side. After several ups and downs you'll reach a gate where the road splits. Take the right one which runs along for some time, keeping mostly level (or climbing slightly). After a couple of side valleys on the right you reach the entry of Vallone Inferno.
The first obstacles are the bushes which bar the direct way into the Vallone. Pass them to their right, scrambling up the lower slopes of the western walls. Soon you'll be able to get down to the valley floor which is where you remain until you reach its top. The first 500m are a scramble across loose scree of all sizes. Attention - even some of the larger rocks move under your feet. The valley climbs steeply upwards until you come to a rightward bend.
Still climbing steeply at this bend the valley floor gets very much overgrown. While some of the slopes may seem more promising to evade the macchia bushes the best path still remains at the valley floor. The canyon winds upwards slowly levelling out until you reach the upper exit out of the valley. You are fenced in by two cattle fences and have a good view of cozzo Piombinio here.
Now leave the Vallone to the left (west) and climb up a shoulder in the general direction of Monte dei Cervi. The path turns into a number of cattle tracks. Follow them, always keeping to the right (north of the ridge. You'll come across a distinctive rock formation after you crossed several little patches of forest.
At this formation, the summit of Monte dei Cervi can be seen for the first time. However the direct route is barred by a dwarf beech forest. Try to pass it to the right, then scramble up into a large clearing which runs up in north-easterly direction. At the upper end of the clearing you have to dive into the dwarf beech labyrinth, hurrying from one little clearing to the next. Try to keep your orient ation by the slope and try to get as far upwards as possible. This will finally lead you to the large summit plateau.
Essential GearHiking gear and - always necessary on Sicily - lots of water.