The Ferrata della Balma is an athletic via ferrata that extends on an old abandoned rock quarry. This recent itinerary recovers and converts an area previously exploited for industrial purposes, now instead available to mountain enthusiasts. The climb is short, vertical and exposed but never difficult. It is a pleasant itinerary that can easily be combined with one of the other via ferratas present in the Biella area during a day.
The starting point of the itinerary is near a former quarry in the municipality of San Paolo Cervo in the province of Biella. Going back about 10 km from Biella along the valley crossed by the Cervo torrent, having reached the Balma area, you will turn left onto a bridge that crosses the stream. Immediately after, turn right to find a parking space, seeing on our left a rock wall on which both the ferrata and the cliffs are present.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
You immediately face a vertical wall leaning gradually towards left with brackets in support. At the end of the first wall turn left to cover a short ramp and then go up another vertical wall similar to the previous one. You proceed on an exposed traverse towards left where the feet are on metal brackets. We end the traverse then we climb up a vertical wall and after that are ending termporarily the equipment. You immediately see the wall where the next section is.
Attack a diagonal traverse to the right where the feet lay on a metal cable. Once ended the traverse, we climb up a wall to the right. The wall becomes then vertical with a couple of meters overhanging leading to the righe. We pass the overhanging section then we lean to the left till we reach with an horizontal traverse to the left we are at a bridge with 3 wires. The bridge is short - about 7 meters per stable. Once the bridge is finished, go around a boulder that then rises from the left and then attaches a dihedral with abundant equipment. This trait is quite athletic even if technically not difficult given the abundance of the brackets present. At the end of the dihedral it bends to the left bypassing an unmarked edge beyond which we will ascend a first vertical aerial wall then bend again towards the left for a traverse facilitated by long brackets for the feet. After the traverse it attaches vertically. Pay attention to the cable that in a passage passes first from right to left with respect to our ascent line. Go up the whole vertical wall until you reach a short ramp behind which you climb the last meters aided on a grassy path until you reach a tree on which the wire rope is anchored and where ends this short but intense via ferrata ends (30') from the start - total 35').
From the end of the via ferrata you will notice a path ascending to the Belvedere (panoramic point over the valleys - 10' from the end of the ferrata) or a path which descends towards the valley on an asphalt road. At this point we will turn to the right comfortably reaching the car (30' from the end of the via ferrata - 1h 15' total).
The Ferrata della Balma is a short, intense and athletic via ferrata in the ascent. There are no technical difficulties that require climbing skills. The only difficult passage is a short overhanging section where the brackets help the progression and a quickdraw could help those who are not sufficiently trained or at ease in this type of passage.
In the Biella valleys there are other via ferratas, not particularly distant from the Ferrata della Balma, which could be made in the same. For example, the Via Ferrata del Limbo or the Via Ferrata Nito Staich could be done in the morning and in the rest of the day you could do the Ferrata della Balma. There Via Ferrata Ciao Miki, still about 30 minutes by car from the Ferrata della Balma, it is longer and therefore the timing of the trip must be studied in advance. Another option within an hour's drive is the Aided path of the Infernone, or by extending the province of Vercelli Via Ferrata Falconera or Partusac.