/ Via Ferrata north central Italy / Lombardia / Piemonte

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kenr - on 05 Sep 2012
I'm interested to try some VF routes in Italy, while driving from France across to the Dolomites.
Anyone have any experience or pointers to info about these routes + areas?

* around Lecco on E side of Lake Como (especially VF Gruppo Alpini Medale)

* Monte Grona on W side of Lake Como : VF del Centenario CAO Como

* Oropa (NE of Biella, N of Ivrea)

* Monte Emilius (Aosta)

* Susa valley W of Torino: (VF dell'Orrido Di Forresto, VF di Roccabianca, VF Carlo Giorda)

or suggestions of other good routes to try.

I'm more interested in routes in the "Dolomites" style (lots of opportunities for contact of hands and feet directly on the rock) and less interested in the "French" style (lots of steel rungs and bars all over).

Martin Bennett - on 05 Sep 2012
In reply to kenr:

* around Lecco on E side of Lake Como (especially VF Gruppo Alpini Medale)

I can only comment on this one, being the only one I've done, after a wet morning. It's some years ago but I recall enjoying it and thinking it worthwhile, and my criteria for a decent VF seem to be the same as yours. It was remarkable for the fact that a chain runs up it AS WELL AS the cable - presumable for novices who run out of handholds?
It has a short approach - don't stray too far up the tree lined base of the crag as we did - the start is quite low down - and an easy, pleasant if you like that sort of thing, descent over the back.
A worfd of warning about the local flora - we didn't encounter it on the VF but the day before, whilst exiting from the classic "Via Cassin" route we all got red weals followed by itchy blisters from some plant in the verdant growth at the top. This was not nearly as bad as similar plant burns I've had in Costa Blanca and Provence.
Hope you enjoy it.
kenr - on 06 Sep 2012
Thanks -- that one is also quicker to drive to (than Monte Grona) from the A4/A5 motorway, so it goes to the top of my list.

I just dug out my copy of Klettersteig-Atlas band 1: Italien West, by Sascha Hoch et al ( -- which includes that area (with like 25 more VF routes around Lake Como)

kenr - on 19 Sep 2012
Well during the last week I did find some fun via ferrata routes in Piemonte + Lombardia. Due to timing + weather constraints, turned out to be on the west + east ends of that zone (instead of my hopes for the middle around Lecco).

I found that the German-language Klettersteig-Atlas Italien (band 1 Italien West) - [] was very helpful on the details.

I did VF Roccabianca in western Piemonte in the Susa - Torino valley. Key help from the guidebook was in selection: They also listed two other high-quality VF in that area -- together with the critical detail that those were "French" style installations (i.e. lots of extra hardware for feet that gets in the way of making climbing moves with feet in direct contact on the rock). So I was able to choose a high-quality non-"French"-style route, and I found myself making lots of fun + interesting moves with my hands + feet directly on excellent schist (using the cable mainly for protection only, though a few times I grabbed it for aid).

In eastern Lombardia, I did VF Spigolo della Bandera and Enrico Franco. Nice guidebook details:
* GPS latitude/longitude for the (fairly tricky) road access.
* recommended sequence for doing the routes.
* suggestion of bringing rock-climbing shoes for the VF Franco because of edging moves.

And I found myself having a fun time working out tricky moves on small edges on limestone. Only defect of those two routes: Wish they were longer. (which the guidebook also warned about).

Hope to get to try more (and around Lake Como) on future trips.

Warner - on 19 Sep 2012
In reply to kenr:
Hi, I`m sorry I didn`t see this thread before: now is too late. Anyway, I was born in Lecco and I do confirm that the Medale`s via Ferrata is the more climbable. I used to do it in climbing shoes and It was a great fun. In this area you can find the Ferrata Zucco Pesciola, very similar to the Dolomites, and the Gamma 2 on the Resegone, again very similar to Dolomites and quite hard.
Have a look at this website

unfortunately is in italian but I can try to translate something if you need.

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