The Ferrata Crench is a beautiful via ferrata of medium difficulty that takes place in a beautiful environmental context with Lake Idro behind us. The climb is logical and does not present any particular difficulties although a couple of steps are athletic. The short approach and return, together with the low altitude in which it extends, make it ideal to be linked with other ironmongers in the area.
The starting point of the itinerary is the village of Crone on the eastern side of the Lake of Idro. Few meters past a white house on the left side of the road, we will notice a steep road on the right (via Preonde). We take it and follow it uphill at a certain point following its curve to the left until we reach a parking lot where we already see the signs for the nearby via ferrata.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
From the parking lot we follow the signs of the CAI 452 which starts towards the left between the walls of the houses. We continue through the woods to a saddle in the road: on the right, we climb up the 452 towards Cima Crench, on the left we follow the rock gym and the via ferrata. Shortly after we will notice a new saddle with the rock gym on the right. We continue straight ahead to meet shortly thereafter to meet the white sign indicating the start of the Ferrata Crench (15 'from the parking lot).
The Ferrata Crench starts with a short uphill ledge to the right that leads us to one of the most challenging and pleasant passages of the climb. We have a beautiful vertical wall with excellent grips to climb. This section offers the possibility of free climbing, paying attention to the slightly more difficult final stretch where the cable could help as a balance in the progression. We bend to the left and climb a series of rocks. We come under a short dihedral in which it is easy to climb by climbing using holds on both sides. at this point we follow an easy path to a downhill ledge that leads us to an escape route marked with a metal sign. If we want to continue next to the sign, the cable goes up vertically. This stretch is perfectly attached and can be comfortably climbed. We continue on an easy traverse to the right that leads us under a second more difficult stretch than the average of the route. This section presents us with a rocky ledge with holds for tall feet and this will force us to do a couple of meters of traction on the cable to climb the first jumps. Having climbed this first passage, the rest of the vertical section can be climbed back and you can avoid pulling on the cable. We cover a ledge and we find ourselves under another short vertical stretch. A metal bracket helps us to start in the first stretch and then we continue around a rocky roof to the left. We now walk on a not difficult traverse up to another slab similar to the previous one, both for polishing the rock and for the presence of brackets and a rocky projection in the upper part. We climb up the slab and we find ourselves facing some rocks until we reach the key passage of the route.
This passage has a short overhanging stretch where we have to go up a rocky ledge for a couple of meters. This step would certainly be more complex without the presence of a chain (fairly loose but still useful) on the left side. This will allow us to compensate for the slope and lack of natural grips and to trace this stretch of arms. Having climbed this section we have completed the challenging sections of the via ferrata and are preparing to take the last section of the route.
We continue on a short ledge of transfer and we find ourselves under the last two vertical walls to climb. These do not present particular difficulties and can easily be climbed using the rope as a balance in some individual passages. We continue now in the last stretch of the road composed of an easy aided path and a ridge that leads us to the summit cross of Cima Pelada (631 m - 1h 15 'from the start - 1h 30' from the parking lot)
At the end of the ferrata we continue eastwards following the path that soon leads us to a cross beyond which a small path continues. We soon reach a saddle where on the right a steep path goes down that will take us near the start of the via ferrata and from there backwards for the approaching path to the car (30 'from the end of the ferrata - 2h total). During the descent we will meet a war gallery that can be visited entering on one side and exiting the other.
If you want to continue the itinerary, upon reaching the saddle we continue on the ridge path for 30 minutes towards the nearby peak of Cima Crench (or as indicated in some Cocca d'Idro maps). From the top we continue going down on the opposite side beyond which we will notice to the right a path that goes down valley. We take it and we will come close to the parking lot (1h 15 'from the end of the via ferrata - 2h 45' total).
The rock in this climb is quite unstable and therefore the use of a safety helmet is a must (as always). The Crench Ferrata is a medium difficulty ferrata. The experienced hiker will find it pleasant to climb almost all of it. On the other hand it is also suitable for well-trained hikers but at the first ferrata experiences. In fact the environmental difficulties are very low and the exposure is limited. A couple of more challenging passages will give you a taste of what you can do in more difficult routes, while still being fairly isolated passages and thus allowing you to recover the energy used.
The Ferrata Crench has a short approach and return so it is well suited to be linked with other routes in the area. For a long loop itinerary you could chain with the Aided path to the Hydro Falls. Obviously it could be the natural continuation of the day for those who have faced the Via Ferrata Fregio and the Ferrata Ginestre or the Aided path Sasse or the brief Via Ferrata to the Fort di Cima Ora.