WARNING: There are graphic disturbing images at the bottom of this post
I thought it would be cool to climb Vesuvius. With the exception of Tambora and Krakatoa it's estimated that Vesuvius has claimed more lives than any other mountain on earth. Thus the catchy title.
Anyhow, from satellite imaging, I was able to determine that the old trail on Vesuvius makes a full circumnavigation of the crater, whilst the tourist trail (complete with cattle guards) only allows access to the western rim, which is much lower than the actual summit.
I cut off of the main trail when I reached the south face and ascended ash and scree directly towards the crater rim until I came to the old trail. This I followed to the summit and beyond, making a full circumnavigation of the crater rim and eventually rejoining the tourist trail. I jogged on the downhill hoping to rejoin the mass hordes before I was noticed. At one point I saw a huge vent emitting a continuous cloud of gas forty feet wide and 30 feet high. This reminded me that Vesuvius is STILL VERY ACTIVE and it is certain to erupt again, although nobody knows when. Will the descendants of Pompeii ever learn?
It's eruptions are recorded to have happened on or around each of the following years: 79, 172, 203, 222, 303, 379, 472, 512, 536, 685, 787, 860, 900, 968, 991, 999, 1006, 1037, 1049, 1073, 1139, 1150, 1270, 1347, 1500. 1631, six times in the 18th century, eight times in the 19th century, 1906, 1929, and 1944. Can you decipher the code? I can't. But I know that's an average of once every 43 years.
My grandfather was flying a plane for the allied troops during the most recent eruption and he was able to take a most historic areal photograph of the ash plume. I'll try to find the print so I can add it later.
After making it down without any burns or singed clothing or fines for that matter, I headed north to the Dolomites, but that's another story.
Thanks for is great trip report!
My father was in Italy during part of his service in WWII (Army). He told us many stories but among them was his climb up Vesuvius on a "day off" (not quite sure what that is during war...but he was quite the adventuresome one...). He didn't refer to a trail and said that by the time he got back down his boots were destroyed by the pumice and ash.
Your report reminds me that one day I need to follow in his footsteps.
What else are you doing in Italy/Europe?
-------------- "May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am"
Snowdog - It woukd be fun to compare notes. We should compile a list of all the ones we have climbed and all the ones we still want. I like lists and I haven't made one like that yet. The next one on my hit list is Damavand.
Slugman - Yes, i knowingly broke the rules. Youre supposed to hire a guide to walk to the summit. As an ex alpine guide, it's a matter of pride to not hire guides. I've only done it once and that was when there was no way around it, on Kilimanjaro.
the Zachster - The only other hike I did on this trip was a peak called Rittner Horn. This was primarily a family trip so I didn't take the time to do any challenging climbs but I wish I could have.
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