The Ferrata Che Guevara is a long trip that goes back from Pietramurata to the summit of Monte Casale in the province of Trento. The climb does not have particularly difficult stretches from a technical point of view however it is long, exposed and covers a high gap. The return is long and round for a total of about 7-8 hours trip. Attention to the heat in the summer months and we reccomend to undertake it if in good physical condition given the length and lack of escape routes along the climb.
The starting point of the itinerary is the town of Pietramurata near Sarche in the province of Trento. Coming from Riva del Garda continuing in the direction of Sarche, cross the town of Pietramurata and when we are in sight of the sign for the exit of the village, take via Collungo to the left. Coming from Sarche, vice versa, just after passing the entrance sign to Pietramurata, turn right on the same route. Follow the industrial road to a large parking lot where we leave the car.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
The approach of the Ferrata Che Guevara is to be considered a little anomalous compared to other via ferratas. The main reason is that the beginning of the ferrata sign occurs after the most technical section of the route. Keeping this in mind, the suggestion is to put on the harness and the helmet already in the parking lot because we will soon meet the first aided sections and shortly after the aforementioned challenging stretch.
From the parking lot we skirt the industry that we will see straight to us until the paved road ends and the approach path begins. The path marked with red marks soon becomes steep and at times set with a wire. After a few minutes on this steep path we skirt a rocky wall with a traverse to the right where we will meet the challenging passage (20 'from the parking lot).
As anticipated the beginning of the real via ferrata is after, but the dihedral we have to face is of greater difficulty than the rest of the passages along the way and if we wanted to interrupt the ascent it is right to do so at this point. We climb this dihedral clallenging in particular due to the lack of holds in its central part. It will be necessary to pull the cable a couple of times to gain the next pass. We leave the dihedral and proceed on a long inclined slab beyond which we walk a stretch of rocky ledge to the left gaining exposure on the below caves with ahead of us the Monte Casale in all its height. We continue on sloopy path between easy aided sections and trail sections until some rocky leaps (ignore the left saddle towards a fixed rope). We pass on a terrace where a rock presents the writing with "550 m height" paint and we proceed between easy aided sections with the presence of metal brackets where the passages are more demanding. These aided section are often separated with path sections well marked with red paint. As we approach the impressive bastion we encounter some well gripped vertical sections with brackets and a couple of free climbing passages (red signs to show us the way) until we reach a slight descent to the start of the Via Ferrata Che Guevara with a red writing on rock "Quota 675 m" (1h from the first dihedral - 1h 20' from the parking lot).
Looking up, the impressive rocky bastion of Monte Casale looks good above us although we can say that the major technical difficulties have already been overcome. We start with a short easy traverse to the right and then begin a vertical stretch for a step over which we begin to bend to the left uphill mainly diagonally. In short we are in a small clearing for the feet where we continue up vertically to the left on solid rock with good grips for hands and feet. Attention however to the detrital material in the small open spaces and ledges. In this section, the climb is a zigzag between vertical strokes, short traverses and ledges that can be tackled by trying to reduce the use of the cable to the minimum necessary with the only constant of increasing verticality and exposure. We climb this trait reach a horizontal stretch where for 5-6 meters we traverse on a fairly comfortable stretch and we can see behind us the height gained. The inscription on rock "735 m" shows us where we are on the hike.
At the end of this initially vertical wall and more leaning stretch, we arrive at a terrace where it is possible to catch your breath. A red arrow shows us to continue to the right where we go up a ledge and we reach a stretch where the equipment ends for a while. A few meters to the right, it begins with an easy ledge at "820 m height"that leads us under a vertical stretch a vertical section initially aided with many brackets. We continue vertically for this exposed stretch that has good grips for hands and feet. We climb a short diagonal section that leads us under to a wall with brackets for hands and feet. This section begins vertical and then traverses to the right and then proceed vertically. Without the brackets this slab would be poor in grips. This is perhaps the most physical part of the via ferrata , having to go up again for several minutes without the possibility of stopping comfortably. Shortly after exiting this stretch, we find on the rock the inscription "Quota 860" (45 'ca from the start slab - 2h ca from the parking lot).
We begin to climb vertically on well-grained rock with brackets where there are no obvious grips. We climb a few easy meters and find ourselves under a long slab aided with brackets. Climb up this slab, alternating with stretches from small terraces where you can temporize before proceeding, we reach a long ledge to the left on a gravel ground. We continue on a couple of diagonal stretches that are not difficult before going up vertically a long slab at times aided with brackets. This slab is not difficult given the abundance of brackets but the rock is smoother than the previous sections and therefore all the brackets present must be used to proceed. Furthermore the stretch is exposed, however physically demanding due to the constant climb and the accumulated fatigue of the climb starts to be felt therefore it is absolutely forbidden to reduce the concentration. After a nice vertical stretch, we will reach a rocky inclined terrace where it is possible to rest for a moment before starting the climb on the last stretch of the route (1h 30 'from the ferrata start slab - 2h 45' from the parking lot).
We now go up a short vertical wall with brackets and then face a very leaning wall with excellent natural steps that lead us to a not difficult rock ledge which in a few minutes leads us to the book of signatures (1h 45 'from the ferrata start slab - 3h from parking area). The Ferrata Che Guevara ends here but the climb does not end yet it still has some aided sections and therefore it is advisable not to remove the harness and helmet.
We continue on the path excellently marked in red through some easy aided stretches of rocks, a sloping slab less difficult than the previous ones. In this section of the route, the sections on which to pay the most attention are certainly those that are not protected. Continuing uphill we will have to climb up a couple of not completely stable gullies , an easy dihedral and in different sections aided with rocks. All connected by generally steep sections of path to reach the summit cross of Monte Casale (1632 m - 1h 30' from the book of signatures - 4h 30' from the parking lot).
From the summit of Monte Casale we will have two descent options:
The Ferrata Che Guevara is a via ferrata that definitely deserves some clarification on its actual degree of difficulty and development. The via ferrata is often considered easy with moderate difficulties and this is undoubtedly a point of view we share, however, we highlight some important clarifications. The route does not have particularly challenging stretches from a technical point of view - except for the initial dihedral and a couple of single passages along the way - due to the abundant equipment placed on the route. Alongside the relatively low difficulty, however, the length of the itinerary and the difference in height on which it extends should be emphasized. Reaching the summit of Monte Casale leads us to climb almost 1400 m in altitude and the aided sections, although concentrated between 700 and 1200 m above sea level, begin well before and end well after.
To conclude, the exposure of the via ferrata is generally high and the development takes place towards south south-east, therefore generally in the heat of the morning sun. For this reason large quantities of water are strongly recommended. With these considerations, the via ferrata is ideal to travel in mid-seasons. Finally, pay attention to the obstruction along the road due to the high number of tourists who travel through it in the summer and on holidays.
The Ferrata Che Guevara is a long hike with a high gap and a loop return path that ends in both options after several hours of departure. With this premise it will become difficult and very tiring to combine a second aided route to the via ferrata, apart of course if you choose the aided Rampin Trail as a descent.
The area between the upper Garda and the Sarche and the neighboring valleys is however rich in itineraries aided with a lot of variety on the level of difficulty present. Between Via Ferrata at Lake Garda we suggest for highly trained and prepared hikers you could opt for the Ferrata Rino Pisetta or for the Ferrata Giulio Segata al Bondone. Staying on a technical level similar to the Ferrata Che Guevara you can opt for the Ferrata Mori, the Ferrata delle Aquile or for the Via Ferrata Preore. Finally, if you wanted to choose an easy route, you could opt for the Ferrata Signora delle Acque in Ballino or for the Via Ferrata Colodri.