Stromboli is a 3000ft climb from sea level to the summit. Climbs start in the late afternoon and descend in the early hours to view the lava display at night.We set off at about 4.00pm through thick undergrowth up and and up. The main thing I found out on the way up was that capers are not shellfish but flower buds!!! Finally to the base of the final ridge where we would wait until dusk then ascend to the summit to see natures fireworks on cue. The ridge was obscured by cloud and soon it became pitch dark we couldn't go back it was too dangerous so we headed up into the murk by headtorch. I closely followed the guides feet - any more than a metre and i would lose his feet.
I pointed my headtorch either side of the narrow ridge- nothing but black and swirling mist and the occasional growl of the volcano. This photo is the best summit shot I got! Near the top we found a mother and her two chldren frightened and alone in the dark. Our guide took them under his wing and they came down with us. With our bamboo poles and headtorches we plunged down through deep ash in the pitch dark slipping and sliding as we went.
A long walk down on mile after mile of ash and dust- skiing and slipping only by head torch.Through the bamboo and out for a beer at 2am!
You see a lot of young people in Stromboli with plastercasts on their arms. There are no cars so people scooter up and down the narrow streets and crash into walls- hence plastercasts.