How to climb Etna to the top? Useful information on bans, ordinances
- It is always difficult to find enough information on the web about the possibility of hiking on the highest active volcano in Europe.
How it works then…
There are many hikers who wish to reach the summit, we always invite you to be careful and to inform yourself well before tackling the ascent, in fact the volcanic conditions are extremely variable. The main problem lies in the fact that often the Ordinances of the six Etna Municipalities: Nicolosi, Biancavilla, Bronte, Maletto, Castiglione di Sicilia, Sant’Alfio whose territories share the summit of the volcano, sometimes not allow access or forbid it totally for safety reasons, to avoid exposure to any risks attributable to persistent or high volcanic activity.
To clarify …
If the volcanic risk persists or remains at the level of: “Attention” it is normally possible to access the summit area (up to the Central Crater 3300mt) only if accompanied by Alpine or Volcanological Guides regularly registered in the register , as soon as the degree of risk rises to “Pre-alarm” access is forbidden and it is no longer possible to accompany tourists to high altitudes, unless they are authorized personnel (such as researchers, guides , journalists, etc.). Unfortunately, on an active volcano like Etna, there are rare cases in which the risk is at the “Green” level of facts, we always recommend that you inquire well if you intend to tackle the excursion up to summit or to use an authorized guide to be able to tackle the excursion with the support of a professional qualified to lead individuals or groups on active volcanoes.
Excursions above 3000 meters of altitude up to an altitude of 3300 meters
Please note: Having said that, since we work as professionals at the high altitudes of the volcano, excursions close to or above 3000 meters leave in the morning from 7:30 to 9:00 and are as follows:
- Excursion to the craters of Etna in case of high risk and craters at the top closed to the public
- Excursions to the top with ascent by off-road vehicle (one way) from an altitude of 1800 meters to an altitude of 2800 meters + ascent in trekking to the crater up to an altitude of 3300 meters and descent on foot to the starting point at an altitude of 2800 meters from the north
- Excursion to the summit by cable car (round trip) from an altitude of 1900 meters to an altitude of 2500 meters + off-road vehicle up to an altitude of 2750 meters + trekking on foot to the summit at an altitude of 3300 from the south
- Crossing of Etna from South to North or vice versa
These excursions have a very variable duration according to the excursionist’s needs, usually they last 5 hours or even 8 hours for the crossing of Etna from South to North and are clearly suitable for those who are used to going mountains and who regularly perform physical activity.
Excursions up to an altitude of 3000 meters
Excursions up to a maximum altitude of 3000 meters have scheduled departures at 10:30 and 13:30. These have a maximum duration of 2-3 hours, in this case they are more touristic trips where both the ascent and the descent by motor vehicles are foreseen with short but interesting trekkings, here is the link with the details:
- Excursion at an altitude of 3000 meters on the northern slope
- Sunset excursion at an altitude of 3000 meters on the north side
Attention all excursions are carried out in compliance with the ordinances in force and the levels of volcanic risk at the time of the execution of the requested excursions.
Escursione a piedi (andata e ritorno) al di sotto di quota 2200 metri : Excursion on foot (round trip) below an altitude of 2200 meters
PLEASE NOTE: THE MOTOR TRANSPORT MEANS to which we refer are special means officially authorized by the Etna Park and by the Etna Municipalities which allow access above an altitude of 2000 meters and do not work below this altitude!.
Compliance with regulations
All the routes develop in compliance with the ordinances in force, which are published by the various Municipalities based on the levels of volcanic risk (for more details open this page) communicated by the Civil Protection and the Institute of Volcanology. The activity of the volcano in fact changes daily and the risk of eruptions can undergo variations at any time, if this risk increases then the mayors of the municipalities concerned limit access to certain areas by setting altitude limits. The guides know these areas and avoid them or modify the itinerary of the trip based on their experience and on the communications of the researchers in the event of transiting through prohibited areas.
Updated information within everyone’s reach!
The modern communication systems allow an active and immediate dialogue between those who work on the volcano and those involved in monitoring, ensuring a quick exchange of information for greater safety for anyone wishing to approach the volcano. If you would like more detailed information, please visit our section dedicated to news where we publish the Ordinances in force of the various Municipalities mentioned above, or write to us and we will not hesitate to clarify your ideas. Obviously, these restrictions also apply in the winter period, where it is usually more difficult to approach the top, and it is good to have mountaineering equipment, due to the not always optimal environmental conditions and persistent often inconsistent snow cover (mixed snow).
What can you do on the volcano in winter?
As a group of Alpine and Volcanological Guides we organize winter ascents with snowshoes or ski mountaineering (with ice ax, crampons and possibly rampant). Climbing with snowshoes (snowshoes) to the top is not recommended, especially for those who do not have the habit of using the tool, among other things the timing would go well beyond the 8 hours of excursion (round trip) – ( all this starting as planned from an altitude of 1800 meters up to an altitude of 3300 meters).
What excursions do you recommend in winter?
For this reason, less demanding walks of 5 km (round trip) of about 3h are organized (on request) to visit the great eruptive fracture of the 2002 eruption, or the various shelters on the north side of Etna. Night excursions are also scheduled in collaboration with the CAI Section of Linguaglossa, the Ski School (cross-country and downhill) and the Pro Loco.
Contacts and useful links
To find out more or to book directly the excursion to the top of the volcano, we invite you to open this link . If you would like more information write to our email address or connect to this page and fill out the contact form.
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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).