The Ferrata della Vecia is a short ferrata located in the Pale di San Martino and is usually traveled on longer routes around the Forcella del Porton. The ferrata is short, albeit vertical, and does not present substantial technical difficulties as it is abundantly staffed. The itinerary proposed here includes the approach from San Martino di Castrozza, the Ferrata della Vecia traveled uphill and then the Gusella Aided path to Forcella Stephen. At that point the itinerary includes the descent to the Ball Pass and then the return to San Martino di Castrozza. Long route.
The proposed itinerary begins in San Martino di Castrozza (Trento) along the road that leads to the Hotel Maso Col. Along the road that connects the town to the hotel we will notice on the right a small wooden building from which a path branches off. We will look for parking nearby or at the hotel.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
The approach will be all along the path 721 which starts near the wooden notice board. The trail initially rises along the pasture meadows and then enter the woods. We will meet a couple of detours along the way and we will avoid taking to Malga Civerteghe always remaining the 721 with indications for the Rifugio del Velo. The path gradually increases the steepness after crossing the bed of a stream. The climb up into the woods is quite long and cuts halfway up below the slopes impressive rocky walls. After about 2 hours we leave the forest and after a few steps on a landslide we are at deviation on the left for the Ferrata della Vecia (about 2h from the paved road).
The Ferrata starts with one series of vertical walls abundantly staffed with ample metal fittings. The first meters quickly gain exposure but this happens without difficulty given the abundance of brackets. We move with an easy cross to the right to go up a few meters and then bend to the left on a rocky ramp. Let's go up another Rocky wall with characteristics similar to the previous one. We travel a horizontal traverse on good supports and we are below the last two rocky walls that we go up again without particular difficulties. The way ends up later some easy rocks (20 'from the start of the via ferrata - ca 2h 30' from the beginning).
We are now on path 739B which go up steep towards the visible Forcella del Porton. The path is up well marked track. Shortly before reaching the saddle we will meet an unmarked saddle, where to the right you can reach the Via Ferrata of Velo and therefore the homonymous hut. This is a faster return option than the one suggested in the itinerary.
At this crossroads we will keep the left in ascent. In a few minutes we will be at a crossroads just below the Forcella del Porton (30 'from the end of the Ferrata della Vecia - about 3h total). On the left the path that leads to the Gusella Aided path comes off. If we want to go down the Porton Ferrata, we must reach the saddle. Attention in this case that the Via Ferrata of Porton it will be covered all downhill, including the terminal crumbling gully.
The review continues along the Aided path Gusella that passing under Cima Ball leads us to Forcella Stephen in 1h 30 'from Forcella del Porton (4h 30' total). To this link the report of the Gusella Aided path.
Forcella Stephen (2705 m) is the highest point of the itinerary and at this point a long descent begins in San Martino di Castrozza. As the first section of the descent we will reach the underlying Passo di Ball (2443 m) through a series of steep aided sections (45 'from Forcella Stephen - about 5h 15' total). At this point we will see the Pradidali Hut on the right. We will keep the left going down the long valley closed between the Pala di San Martino and the Cima Val di Roda. In this section we will encounter some exposed ledges protected with metal cables. We walk down the impressive valley until we reach a signposted junction: straight on we can reach the Rifugio Pedrotti and the cable car, on the left we descend along the path to San Martino di Castrozza. We will keep the left with signpost 702 that in steep descent will lead us to the narrow road where we started the itinerary (about 7h 30 'total).
The Ferrata della Vecia is a connecting via ferrata and, taken individually, has no particular interest in being traveled. On the other hand, the via ferrata is very convenient both uphill and downhill if combined with one of the other aided routes in the area. The proposed tour is very logical and ring-shaped. Attention along the ferrata not to move stones: the road is vertical and the stones fall below. At the same time, a lot of caution is needed when you go up because it is common to meet people who go down.
As indicated in the report, the Ferrata della Vecia is often traveled on routes that include the Ferrata del Porton, the Ferrata del Velo or the Gusella Aided path. If included in multi-day itineraries, it could be combined with one of the others via ferrata in the Pale di San Martino: the Via Ferrata Bolver Lugli, the Via Ferrata Gabitta d'Ignoti at Cima Vezzana, the Ferrata Dino Buzzati and Aided path of the Cacciatore. If inserted in multi-day itineraries within the group it can also be combined with Via Ferrata del Canalone and the Via Ferrata Fiamme Gialle Ferrata to the Reali Shelter.