Climbing to the top of the Etna volcano from December to April – Useful tips
Climbing to the top of the Etna volcano does not appear to be technically complicated especially in summer, the most important thing is to never underestimate the volcanic conditions. You must be sure that the volcano is in a state of calm and be aware of the various ways of accessing the summit area regulated by the union ordinances in force.
The thing changes instead if you want to go up in the winter period or better in the winter months (usually from December to April).
In this case the difficulties are multiple and the following points must be taken into account:
- Consider the volcanic risk status on the date chosen for the excursion.
- The obligatory use of crampons to progress on the icy slopes.
- Verification of escape routes, safe and fast in the event of a change in volcanic activity.
- Being walkers and having the habit of covering distances of more than 20 km at high altitude, for more than 5 hours of walking.
- Activity suitable for hikers used to making ascents of more than 800 meters of positive difference in height.
- Have experience in the use of equipment such as: ski mountaineering, crampons or snowshoes.
- Ensure trust in the guide who decides to take you to a risk area, who needs to trust and be sure of the physical abilities of the person being guided.
- Pay attention to melting crevasses, produced by snow or ice in contact with the underlying hot cooling lava flows.
- In the event of an absent escape route or difficult to pass the guides do not take responsibility for driving near the active summit area.
- In the event of high volcanic risk levels (high risk of imminent or ongoing explosive eruption), the guides do not take responsibility for leading near the active summit area.
The ascent to the Summit Craters in winter is carried out with limited groups of a maximum of 4 people, through the service of a private Alpine or Volcanological Guide. All this to guarantee an optimal service and reduce exposure to the risks associated with the volcanic environment.
Departures are mainly from the southern slope. Where you can take advantage of the cable car transport from an altitude of 1900 meters to an altitude of 2500 meters. From an altitude of 2500 meters to an altitude of 3300 there are about 6 km uphill for 800 meters of positive difference in height. The route involves overcoming the recent lava flows produced by the South East Crater, and then ascending the summit cone usually covered by ice (depending on the temperatures) for the last 300 meters in altitude. After the visit to the summit with its craters, the return is expected with a walk of about 10 km on foot up to the cable car at an altitude of 2500 meters, useful for the definitive return to the starting point (car park at an altitude of 1900 meters).
Please note: The cable car is active from 8:30am to 15:45pm.
In the event that during the descent from an altitude of 3300 you do not arrive in time to take the cable car to return to the starting point, or if you decide not to take it, the descent kilometers will be approximately 14 from an altitude of 3300 meters to an altitude of 1900 meters .
- The duration of the excursion with ascent and descent by cable car is approximately 5/6 hours
- The duration of the excursion with ascent by cable car and descent on foot to the car park is approximately 7/8 hours
Included in the price of the private Volcanological or Alpine Guide service :
- Guide Service
- Protective helmet
- Extra jackets
- Anti-slip crampons (not crampons)
Excluded from the price:
- €30 to be paid locally, for the transport: Cable car tickets (round trip) from 1900mt to 2500mt
- €35 to rent ski mountaineering equipment
- Snowshoes – snowshoes rental (12€ per person)
- Bottled water
- K-way (waterproof jacket)
- Parking ticket
The meeting point with your guide for this excursion is at Bar Esagonal (https://goo.gl/maps/QQqmz8NjVQrDrcUF7) at 8:00 AM
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE A QUOTE FOR THE EXCURSION TO THE SUMMIT CRATERIA DURING THE WINTER PERIOD, YOU CAN WRITE US TO OUR NUMBER: +39 3455741330
- To block the Guide for “exclusive” use, an advance payment of 50% of the total amount is required, see article.
- Recommended clothing: In layers, thermal shirt, fleece/down jacket, windbreaker, winter mountaineering pants, gloves and hat.
- Compulsory equipment: trekking shoes.
- €35 to rent ski mountaineering equipment.
- €12 to rent snowshoes and trekking poles.
- We recommend that you go to the starting points of our excursions, equipped with thermal tires or chains ⛓ on board (if necessary), which are mandatory in the winter months to climb the volcano.
- In the event of adverse weather conditions, we will take care of notifying you in order to communicate the cancellation or postponement of your excursion, at the earliest possible date.
- Trekking is not recommended for those who does not do physical activity regularly.
- Trekking is not recommended for those who does not do mountain hiking regularly.
- The excursion requires a good preparation on a physical level. Because of it results to be a high height path, it would be easy to experience symptoms of fatigue.
- It is required also to be careful, since it is volcanic soil, often inconsistent and unstable.
- The excursion could be subjected to variations at the discretion of the Guides, or it could be interrupted in case of changes of the environmental, climatic or volcanic conditions, so as to undermine the safety of the entire group.
- The total time of the trekking trail will depends on the general pace.
- The excursion will be carried out according to the limits laid down by the ordinance in force.
- The route is also suited for children over 12 years old.
- The route consists of the ascent and the walking along the crater edges, this may cause dizziness to susceptible individuals.
- This type of itinerary, in relation to the type, is suited to people in good physical health, not suffering from particular disease (it is strongly discouraged to those who suffer from cardio-vascular problems, breathing problems or hypertension).
- We recommend not to use contact lens, because of the exhaled volcanic gases and of ash. This last one could easily cause problems, if pushed.
- Pregnant women who have passed the third month of pregnancy are not allowed to take part to any excursion activity.
- For the success of the excursion and for its correct carrying out, it’s good to know perfectly your health conditions and, if necessary, let the Guides know about them, in order to reduce the occurrence of any problem and to avoid any risks.
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Our group is made up of Guides belonging to the Regional College of Alpine and Volcanological Guides of Sicily, the Italian legislation provides that these professional figures are the only ones authorized to lead groups in active volcanoes and throughout the island (Framework Law of 2 January 1989 No. 6 and Regional Law of April 6, 1996).