Review of the Ferrata Amici della Montagna (literally "Ferrata of Mountain Friends") on Monte Zermula in the Carnic Alps. Not excessively demanding or difficult itinerary that starts from the Cason di Lanza Pass and climbs along an area rich in history and testimonies of the Great War. Ring route that allows you to easily combine the nearby Ferrata with Zuc della Guardia.
The starting point of the Ferrata al Monte Zermula itinerary is the Cason di Lanza Pass (1552 m) in the province of Udine. The pass can be reached both from Paularo and Pontebba with an approximately equal distance in both directions. The conditions of the asphalt road are generally better going up from Pontebba. Pontebba is easily reachable with the A23 from the homonymous exit. Once in the village we must follow to Studena Bassa and continue on the road that runs along the valley for about 13 km up to the pass. Ample parking space with the possibility of both board and lodging. Directions for Google Maps available here.
Leave the car in the Cason di Lanza car park (1552 m), cross the road heading south and follow the dirt road that leads to an abandoned white barracks with green windows. While we are on this dirt road we meet a sign with clear deviation to the right for Monte Zermula and the via ferrata. We follow the signs in the wood with signpost 442 that leads us with yellow and red marks up to the north wall of the Zermula. We continue on a slight slope up to go up a debris valley that we cut diagonally until reaching, on the western side of the valley, thestart of the via ferrata (1833 m - 1h from the parking lot) characterized by a large yellow and red stamp and one metal slab. Attention that the detrital valley can present a rather wide tongue of snow at the beginning of the season.
The metal cable is a couple of meters higher than us and we climb some rocks to reach it that goes up not steep near a supported dihedral. The wall is quite steep but full of excellent natural holds and some spartan metal nails so the progression is pleasant and never difficult. We proceed by climbing without excessive difficulty, quickly gaining altitude compared to the start. We leave the dihedral and we reach one new wall, always well attached and with some brackets that we go up to the left. We reach a easy traverse to the left with which we descend a couple of meters and continue in good exposure to the left until the momentary end of the equipment.
We move a few meters on a path without a cable and, after a narrow ledge, we reach one vertical wall with slabs at first impression rather smooth. As we get closer we will notice a greater number of grooves and holds. After a passage a little athletic where we go up again a pronounced leap, the wall becomes less difficult. We start to climb some small slabs and then we reach one climb on a vertical wall similar to the one faced in the start. Still with well-grooved rock, we climb a dihedral. Back up, we are a small terrace from which to enjoy the view behind us. Let's go back to some vertical meters and then turn left on a narrow ledge. We are at the base of a colander, evident by the number of debris present.
The cable starts again vertically on excellent rock bending to the left in another pleasantly climbing section. Without difficulty we reach a new terrace where, turning around, we see below us the gully crossing in approach. Now let's go up one series of stepped rocks up to a new terrace. We leave again climbing a small wall where some leaps are slightly more challenging protruding slightly. Now we climb some new rocks and reach the ridge. We move on the southern slope of the Zermula the metal equipment ends (2085 m - 1h from the start).
We are now on a ridge path, sometimes a little exposed but very comfortable and with elementary steps. We follow the track which bends to the right and around a shoulder we see the green top of Zermula. We follow the track and reach the large metal cross (2145 m - 15' from the end of the ferrata - 1h 15' from the start - 2h 15' from the parking lot).
We opt for a return along the famous Cresta delle Trincee (trench ridge). First of all we go down to the saddle route in the direction where we have bent to the right (10' from the summit) and continue along the ridge following the clear indications, avoiding to go down and reach path 442 but staying at high altitude. The path is very beautiful and is maintained a few meters below the ridge and is comparable to a open-air museum of the Italian trenches arranged along this ridge. We meet different trenches, stations, barracks, witnesses dating back to the Great War. While we go down it is clearly visible to us Zuc della Guardia. We go down gradually until we join the underlying path 442 (1950 m) and then, keeping to the left, we reach the Forcella of Lanza (1831 m - 1h from the summit of Zermula).
From the Forcella di Lanza we begin the descent towards the Cason di Lanza following the track 442a. After a few minutes we meet a crossroads:
The Ferrata to the Monte Zermula is definitely a pleasant ferrata, climbable in long stretches and never too difficult. Only in some sections it is exposed but the rock and the cable, both in excellent condition, contribute to making the climb very beautiful and enjoyable. The view from the top is excellent on all the main massifs of Carnia. Very characteristic return along the way of the trenches.
As already indicated in the report, the Amici della Montagna Ferrata at the Zermula is often combined with the Zuc della Guardia Ferrata that we meet during the descent. If you want to stay in the area for a further day (recommended) you can take two aided routes that start from the Cason di Lanza area: the Ferrata Crete Rosse and the neighbor Via Ferrata Uiberlackersteig both on the Creta di Aip.
Moving instead in the direction of the Passo di Pramollo, we encounter two other climbing routes: the Via Ferrata Contin and the Clampil Tower, the latter decidedly athletic and demanding. Moving instead to the west but always near the Italian-Austrian border we meet the Via Ferrata Senza Confini, the Steinbergerweg and Aided path Cuestalta.