Monsummano Terme's Cava Grigia has always been an excellent place for whoever has wanted to get started with rock-climbing. The quiet area and favorable climate make it possible to climb the short routes and the longer, low- to medium-difficult ones all year long. For decades, the quarry was ideal for the Italian Alpine Club schools, with hundreds of course participants organized in the various disciplines.
However, Cava Grigia is also history and geology. It is a way to experience first-hand and see with one's own eyes what natural evolution has done in our area. In fact, the Monsummano quarries are a small but important piece of the district that, in the rocky layer of its walls, contains much of Tuscany's geological history.
Due to the danger of falling rocks the Municipality of Monsummano issued an order in 1997 prohibiting climbing and access to the paths in the area surrounding the walls, including the interesting geological trail.
Later, in 2010, the CAI Mountaineering Schools Committee in Tuscany and Emilia Romagna began working together with the Municipality and the Cava Grigia property. A project was presented, with technical support from some University of Florence geologists. It contained a series of measures that reduce the risk, thus allowing the municipality to lift the 1997 prohibition.
Following the 2013 agreement, the CAI also equipped Cava Grigia's central wall with climbing routes using closely spaced anchorages suitable for beginners and for children. A part of this wall is also suitable for paraclimbing, an activity dedicated to enabling differently-abled athletes, including non-seeing children, to climb.
After the prohibition order was lifted in 2016, Cava Grigia again became suitable for resuming the many technical and educational activities on mountain safety.
Thus the CAI courses on mountaineering, climbing, youth mountaineering, hiking, and caving have taken off again. They include the frequent and necessary drills by the mountain rescue and civil defense teams in addition to training updates for Italian Alpine Club instructors and guides.
Text on the rock-climbing area by Stefano Cambi