Important communication July 2019: the Gamma Alpinistic Group declared the Ferrata Gamma 1 closed pending maintenance work. It is forbidden to follow it until a later date.
The Ferrata Gamma 1 is one of the most well-traveled ferratas in the Lombardy Alps. The ferrata extends along the impressive rocky bastion of Pizzo d'Erna. The via ferrata is characterized by a large number of stairs that go up wide sections of the first and last part of the route. The technical difficulties are modest with a couple of slightly more complex passages, however short. The ferrata has a high exposure and an escape route halfway through.
The starting point of the itinerary is the large square from which the cableway to Piani d'Erna in the municipality of Barzio in the province of Lecco. Once in Lecco from the highway that connects Lecco with Ballabio and then with Valtellina, at the exit of a tunnel take the exit with clear signs for "Piani D'Erna". From there continue uphill between hairpin bends until the end of the route in the large square.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
Go to the right side of the parking lot with respect to the ski lifts and you will notice a path that goes down. This is the path 1 which proceeds towards the Stoppani Hut. Continue on the wide uphill path for about 20 minutes to a junction marked by a sign. We will take a steep path that climbs to the left and in about 10 minutes takes us to the start of the Ferrata Gamma 1 (25 'from the parking lot).
The first few meters of chain help us to climb a short, well-appropriated chimney. We fold to the right for a couple of meters and climb on one partition wall where there are good holds and a couple of metal brackets. Attention in this stretch to the rock that is sometimes dirty. We fold again to the right quickly gaining altitude. We reach a slab on which cross diagonally to the left on smooth rock where some old brackets help to find support for the feet. We then reach the first long metal ladder.
Climb up the ladder, we continue to the right on a traverse with good supports for the feet. The traverse ends and we follow one aided ledge to the right up to a wall. The wall is exposed with some supporting brackets e rises along a crack. The slit ends on a pulpit from which one starts new metal staircase. This section of the route is a succession of stairs with which we earn quickly share.
We go up some easy walls until we reach a dihedral with a crack in it that can be climbed using the natural supports and the artificial ones present. We leave the dihedral and go up some easy leaps to the left reaching aanother long ladder. We finish the ladder in strong exposure and go up a slab aided with brackets. The chain folds to the right, depositing us at the base of a new long staircase separated with a short connection point. finished this long climb to ladder, we find ourselves traveling a exposed sideways to the left with the presence of two chains. The cross leads us to the base of aother set of stairs that, in forte exposure, leads us to the end of the first section of the ferrata.
From the end of the first section it is possible to follow one escape which leads to Rifugio Stoppani or keep to the left and take a connecting path that leads us to the second section of the via ferrata. let's begin climbing a series of rocks first to the right and then bending to the left until you reach the key passage of the route. We find ourselves at the base of a wall that is poorer in grips with a slight overhang to climb. The transition is short but requires more effort than the average of the steps in the route. We continue uphill on the well-gripped wall going around a right rocky pulpit. We now reach the bridge suspended (2 strings) of about 8 meters. The bridge is avoidable with a comfortable track.
After the bridge we meet two new metal ladders and then a series of pleasantly climbing rocks. We continue now in ridge reaching the second suspension bridge. In this case we are talking about one solid metal walkway. We continue uphill on rocks on the ridge alternating in this stretch of the route some aided sections, short ladders and passages on the path approaching thelast tower before the end of the via ferrata. This last tower it goes up again with a new one set of metal stairs close up until you reach one summit ridge and the big cross del Pizzo d'Erna (1375 m - 3h from the start - approx. 3h 30 'from the parking lot).
Very beautiful view from the cross on Lecco, the Lake of Como and the surrounding plain. If the sky is clear the gaze sweeps and even the distant Matterhorn is visible.
At the end of the ferrata we follow the path that leads in a short descent to the Piani d'Erna buildings, including a hut. At this point you have two options for the descent:
The Ferrata Gamma 1 is characterized by a first part with strong exposure, many stairs to climb and technical difficulties contained. The via ferrata has a considerable height development and for this reason it could be tiring if poorly trained. Halfway along the route we will meet a stretch of path where it is possible to take an escape route towards the Stoppani Hut.
The second section has a technically more difficult point than the rest of the route, but not particularly difficult. There is a short and not excessively exposed suspension bridge. Attention to some stretches of the ferrata where the nails to which the heavy chain is tied are quite distant and a fall could have a serious consequence for the fall factor.
Once you reach the Piani d'Erna, you can take many aided routes, especially on the south and south-east side of the Resegone. In ascending order of difficulty, one could undertake the uphill Aided path of the Buco della Carlotta, the Aided path of the Bobbio Canal, the Ferrata of the Centenary to the Resegone, the Via Ferrata Silvano de Franco and finally the very difficult Via Ferrata Gamma 2 with the latter two leading to the summit of Resegone and the nearby Rifugio Azzoni. Obviously it could be linked, energies permitting, one of the aided paths to the return for a long ring route.
Approach: 0:25 h
Ferrata: 3:00 h
Itinerary: 5:00 h
Ferrata height difference: 600 m
Route difference: 700 m
Max altitude: 1375 m
Length: 6.5 Km