Review of the Ferrata del Vajo Scuro and the new Lontelovare variant. Long and varied itinerary that includes many aided sections, some of which are demanding. A rather steep approach and a long downhill walk characterize the trip. Pay attention to the not optimal mark of the path after the Vajo Scuro and for the return.
The starting point of the itinerary is the Cesare Battisti hut at the Gazza (1275 m). To reach the hut you must first reach Recoaro Terme. From the center of Recoaro Terme we continue in an easterly direction following the first brown signs indicating the hut at Gazza. We will keep the left in the village going into the valley going up to the locality of Parlati where the road continues uphill, now narrower. Go up the road now very winding and full of hairpin bends up to the end for 7 km at the hut. We stop about 200 meters before the hut at the last bend where on the right there is a parking lot, one showcase and a pole of CAI paths. Directions for Google Maps available here.
From the parking lot (1250 m) we follow in northbound the path 105 on a slight slope. We continue until we meet on the left the path 113 which will be the return path of our itinerary. We remain on the path 105 now uphill up to a next crossroads (20 'from the parking lot): go up to the left into the Vajo of Pelagatta, we keep to the right the 105 that back in the woods In short. We continue along the path until we reach a new saddle marked where we keep the left on CAI 105 with reports for the Vajo Scuro. We continue now uphill decided with some short aided sections until you reach the Poe harness (1515 m - 1h from the parking lot) where on our left we see two characteristic rocky pinnacles. We always continue northward under incumbent rock faces until we reach the first wire rope near the Vajo of Lovaraste (1550 m - 1h 15 'from the parking lot).
The first section of the ferrata is downhill and will lead us to reach the base of the narrow Vajo of Lovaraste. Let's start by going down diagonally until reaching a vertical section aided with metal brackets and pegs. We reach a ledge we walk to the left. There ledge narrows and in short stretches the supports are minimal but present. We always descend diagonally up to a new vertical jump of 8-10 meters. In the lower part we meet again some brackets and handles that help us to complete the descent. The lower part is more tiered and we reach the base of the Vajo of Lovaraste covered with large boulders. We go down along the vajo paying attention to the stones and remaining on the right side where there are brackets in the most difficult sections. We then reach the base of the vajo where the equipment temporarily ends.
At this point we go out on the opposite side of the vajo following the trail track until we meet at a crossroads (15 'from the start) where we will have to opt:
The report continues now describing the Ferrata variant of Lontelovare (not mandatory).
We start the diagonal wall going up some jumps mixed rock and land of limited difficulty. Cut the wall diagonally by climbing easy rocks and leaps quickly gaining height. After a horizontal stretch we reach the base of one beautiful vertical wall. The initial part of the wall is vertical aided with handles that help us progress. The upper part offers more natural grips and allows more rock climbing. Finish the wall and walk along a traverse to the right that is initially not binding then with fewer holds. The rope then starts up again vertical in a challenging wall with some slightly overhanging passages where surely we reach the greatest difficulties of the way up to this point. We end this challenging vertical stretch and reach a narrow ledge to the right which we cover. We then reach some jumps on land without difficulty but on constant exposure that lead us to a dihedral. The rope rises to the left with some brackets on both sides of the dihedral of about 6 meters. We go up the dihedral and we find ourselves in a new ledge to the right followed by a stepped wall. Attention to this stretch where the earthy ground can be slippery.
We are now under a new vertical wall. Always supported by one good amount of metal handles, we go up the wall similar to that previously climbed but more challenging and with more passages in slight overhang. We go up the challenging wall of about 35-40 meters reaching a narrow balcony. We continue vertically but now on stepped rock although the exposure is definitely present. Using the last handles we leave the wall on a stretch of path surrounded by mountain pines. We travel one ledge towards right which it leads near the Recoaro tower where, holding the right, there enter the Vajo Scuro where the original Ferrata del Vajo Scuro begins (45 'from the start of the variant).
The Ferrata del Vajo Scuro extends, contrary to the variant described above, actually inside a narrow gorge. Let's start (1645 m - 1h from the Vajo di Lovaraste start) by climbing up the rope fund of the vajo until meet the first brackets (handles and brackets) with the cable that vertical part. The cable rises vertically with an initial passage in slight overhang taking us along a narrow passage. We pass the narrow passage and we enter the gut of the vajo towards the left towards the more iconic passage of the route. We climb tight between the two walls on the left side of the vajo going up towards a hole through which we will have to pass with a mixture of agility and strength. The holds - both natural and artificial - are not lacking but a lesser possibility of movements is inevitable. Absolutely avoid bulky backpacks. We continue vertically in the climb along the fissure meeting some stuck boulders that offer good grips and soon we go out.
From the balcony to the exit of the crack we always go up the vajo on the right side going up a beautiful vertical wall to climb up and climb over a boulder that obstructs the route. After the first vertical meters the cable it bends to the left and the climb becomes more supported. We now climb along the vajo climbing some stones without difficulty along the path exiting definitively from the dark Vajo reaching a saddle (1812 m -40' from the start of the Vajo Scuro).
Once out on the saddle we follow to the left the track that on the hillside cuts the detrital valley continuing in the opposite direction. We meet a first detrital gully that we ignore and we continue towards the second that rises in the direction of an evident stuck boulder. We climb up to meet again the wire rope on the left side with which we go up a leap of about 4 meters beyond which we see the characteristic leaning boulder on the two sides of the vajo. there we pass under without difficulty and we continue on the opposite side where we face a downhill section. Always on the left side I must vajo follow the rope that descends diagonally using large boulders stuck as a support for the feet up to the last stretch. We complete the challenging downhill section and we are at the end of the difficulties in the aided sections of the Ferrata del Vajo Scuro (1h from the Vajo Scuro start).
We continue now in the trail on track and we turn to see the carving ("Orecchia del Diavolo") from which we passed a few minutes ago. We continue on exposed path and only partially aided in the direction of the Forcella della Scala (1850 m - 15' from the ear of the devil - 2h 15' from the start including the new variant) where there is a another singular stuck boulder ("Gate of Hell"). We continue on the opposite side until we reach a junction where there is no signposted where we join path 195: on the right we go down to Campogrosso, while we on the left uphill continue between spiers and wonderful views over the Small Dolomites on the slope up to reach Forcella Lovaraste (1919 m - 30 'from Forcella della Scala - 2h 45' from the start) from which it is optional to reach Punta Lovaraste identifiable with its large metal cross.
Before leaving we can turn our gaze to the north where the Monte Cornetto and the Baffelan (where the Aided path of Monte Cornetto) and the Pasubio (where the stupendous one extends Falcipieri Aided path at 5 peaks). We continue reaching uphill reaching the Cima Centrale del Fumante where we meet some parts are aided with ropes in exposed passages and we continue downhill towards the Forcella del Fumante (1905 m - 30 'from Forcella Lavaraste). At this point we can walk along the ridge that leads first to the Passo dell'Obante and then to the summit of the Obante (1h from Forcella del Fumante) or down to the below Rifugio Scalorbi. We opt for the latter option going down until we join the path 109 which reaches the Pelegatta Pass (1776 m - 30 'from Forcella del Fumante -3h 45' from the start - 5h total) where the Scalorbi Hut is located.
To complete the return we have two options:
The Ferrata del Vajo Scuro combined with the new variant of Lontelovare is a difficult and challenging itinerary. The two vertical passages of the variant are very demanding from an athletic point of view, so you need good strength and training to follow it. There are no extremely difficult or technically prohibitive passages, but the sum of the various passages (some of which are steep) and the length of the itinerary classify the trip as definitely challenging. The trip in the complex is very satisfying. While remaining at a limited altitude it offers magnificent views and a variety of respectable passages. Beware of the typical fog of the area that appears punctually in the afternoon hours. This aspect, added to the dated and not optimal signature of the path, advises you to tackle the itinerary early in the morning.
The Dark Ferrata del Vajo is a long itinerary that could easily be combined with other routes in the area, especially those near the Carega. In this case you could easily climb from the Scalorbi Hut to the Passo Pertica Hut, where combining a two-day itinerary you could take the Via Ferrata Biasin and Aided path Pojesi. Alternatively, if you stay at the Scalorbi Hut, you could climb the next day Ferrata Campalani and reach the Fraccaroli al Carega Hut. Finally, using the car, you can continue towards the Gramolon where, starting from the Bertagnoli Hut, you can take the Ferrata Viali and the Ferrata Ferrari. From Pian delle Fugazze it is also possible to undertake the Aided path Baglioni. Moving instead in the Val d'Astico you can go along the recent one Ferrata delle Anguane.
Approach: 1:15 h
Ferrata: 3:45 h
Itinerary: 7:00 h
Via Ferrata gap: 264 m
Route difference: 786 m
Max altitude: 2035 m
Length: 9.5 Km