The recent Ferrata della Falconera is located in a vertical wall above Varallo in the province of Vercelli. The via ferrata is challenging and athletic. Due to exposure, the presence of overhanging and athletic stretches should not be underestimated and should therefore be recommended for experienced hikers in good conditions. In this type of climb a quickdraw or lanyard is definitely recommended.
The starting point of the itinerary is Varallo, in the province of Vercelli. Arriving in the village, park in the large square near the "Casa Serena" rest home.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
Once left the car in the parking, you cross the road towards a muletrack and a showcase which explains the route. You walk uphill for about 10 minutes until a crossroad in the woods which leads us to an easy aided path, then to a sign of the beginning of the Ferrata Falconera (20' from the parking)
It has recently been added a bench close the beginning for wearing the harness. Despite confortable, it happens sometimes that stones fall from the top therefore we reccomend to wear the helmet already on the way there.
From the beginning you go a couple of meters horizontal to the right then up on a first leaned wall bending gradually to the right. Soon begin the abundant brackets which leads us above helping gain height and exposure giving quickly a taste of the route with a overhanging wall. We will come to a traverse to the right, intially horizontal then diagonal, the "Traverso della chiappa tremante". Once ended the traverse we come to a ledge. We walk on the ledge passing by the "Grota del Fico" leading us under a first vertical wall more chellenging. The wall walks vertically a slab towarda a rocky roof. Under the roof you will find wires on both our sides. We climb around the roof on the left side in a passage reminding of a dihedral. Very nice the view in the clear days on the 4000 mountains - here comes the name "Cengia dei 4000".
We now in growing exposure and come to a ledge - the Cengia della Campana - as the name suggests there is a metal bell. The ledge leads us to the right under a vertical wall where we face the two most challenging section of the route. We climb up the vertical wall coming under a rocky roof requiring us to proceed quickly so to avoid tiring our arms. The passage is short - 2 meters - however chellening and exposed. We come up this first roof then we proceed vertically following the brackets and soon we reach another similar roof to the previous one however with the peculiarity of flagging you towards the outside. We climb it in growing exposure and with a physical effort and then we are in the last part of this hard section. We reach a panoramic terrace where we can rest and enjoy the view. Both the overhanging passages can be demanding therefore we reccomend a lanyard to rest.
Let's go up a couple of walls easier than the previous ones, we begin a stepped ridge in some part rocky in other grassy, and then we reach the suspended bridge: "Ponte Via col Vento". As it happens in other routes in Pedimont, such as the Ferrata Detomasi in Cimalegna, the bridge is with 4 wires and rather stable, however the ropes around the bridge poses some difficulties in the progression. It is also possible to pass the bridge standing on one of the extenral wires. Once passed the bridge, we proceed in an easy but exposed horizontal traverse to the right and we are close to one of the last hard passages of the route. We climb up a vertical wall, facing some rocks then a couple of rocky jumps, coming then to the "Cresta del Traguardo" which, after few easy passages however well aided, leads us to the end of the route . We are the signature book Via Ferrata Falconera (2h from the start - 2h 20 'total).
The most immediate descent path to Varallo is to take the 636C path in a north-eastern direction, then take the 636B in the direction of the Scarpia lake. Once at the lake, take path 636 downhill towards Varallo (40 'from the start - 3h total).
If you would like to eat something, you can use one of the 3 stone tables available along the descend in less than 10 minutes from the end of the ferrata.
The Falconera is perfectly aided. It is physical rather than technically difficult. You climb vertically most of the time with a couple of hard passages. In July 2020, it has been lanuched è elevata lungo tutto il percorso. I fittoni sono numerati e questo può aiutare nella localizzazione in caso di incidente.
A inizio 2020 è stata inaugurata the night lightning of the route. This features is unique in Italy. At these two links (1 and 2) are available in Italia more info on how to enjoy it, days and times of openings. The lightning system is generally turned on Saturdays at the times indicated in the links above and close to certain festivities. Please note, front torch is needed in order to descent after the route.
In order to overcome the hard sections of this via ferrata, we reccomend you to read out article "How to temporarily take a pause in a Via Ferrata".
The natural continuation of the Ferrata Falconera is the Via Ferrata Partusac, whose beginning is near the end of the ferrata along the return path. If you wanted to take another via ferrata in the area, you could opt for the Via Ferrata Picasass (1 hour drive towards Lake Maggiore) or the via ferrata in the Biella area: la Via Ferrata Balma, the Via Ferrata Nito Staich or the Aided path of the Infernone.