Important communication July 2019: the Gamma Alpinistic Group declared the Ferrata Gamma 2 closed pending maintenance work. It is forbidden to follow it until a later date.
The Ferrata Gamma 2 at the Dente del Resegone is one of the most challenging and technical via ferratas of the entire Italian scene. The level of difficulty in the first half is much lower than those encountered in the second and for this reason it is advisable to use one's energies carefully, preferring a progression in climbing compared to an exaggerated use of the chain. The Ferrata is not recommended for beginners, novices and people in poor physical shape.
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.
As is the case for many all the Via Ferratas on the south and east walls of the Resegone, for the approach you can go up by cable car from the parking lot to Piani d'Erna and save about 1h and 30 'of uphill path and take the approach path already in quote. If you opt for the cable car, follow the directions of Trail 5 in the direction of Rifugio Azzoni. We continue along Sentiero 5 to the junction with Sentiero 1. Path 5 would continue towards Passo Foo, while we take Trail 1 uphill to the left. We continue uphill to a pole that shows us the path to follow for the start of the via ferrata. We face some easy rocks and soon we are starting the Ferrata Gamma 2 (40 'from the cable car).
If, on the other hand, you want to walk up, you take path 1 going up on the right-hand side of the parking lot. We pass beside the Rifugio Stoppani and continue uphill towards the Rifugio Azzoni at the top of the Resegone. We will reach a junction with Path 5, which we will ignore, and from this point we continue as indicated in the previous paragraph.
The most challenging of the approach variants is to travel uphill the Via Ferrata Gamma 1 (3h 30 'from the parking lot) and then follow the directions as in the first paragraph on approaching the Gamma 2 start in about 4h and 15' from the parking lot. In this case it is necessary to calculate well the effort required for the second via ferrata which will be much more demanding than the first.
For a challenging via ferrata such as the Gamma 2 it is worth starting the review by underlining to evaluate one's energies and training before undertaking it and, once undertaken, to proceed trying to climb where possible avoiding to abuse the presence of the chain in some stretches view of the difficult passages concentrated mainly in the second half of the route.
The route starts with a first vertical wall with excellent natural handles and good grips for the feet with which we can start climbing. We then follow a small path that leads us to a second small wall with characteristics similar to the previous one. We reach a first chimney to be climbed again in a split, also using some brackets to then go up again briefly and reach a path. We proceed with a couple of short ridges until we reach a second, more demanding chimney with the chain running on the right side and two brackets - one on each side - which will allow us to proceed in a split in the initial section. Once stable with the feet it is better to proceed to the right side paying attention to the stability of the rock. Go up the chimney with a good exposure going up an edge that delimits the right side. You exit the chimney crossing it in the high side. Already from this stretch we understand the technical level of the via ferrata. We continue on the path going up some well-hung walls with the chain that often will flow in front of us with the possibility of easily climbing the rocks we meet. At this point you take a path with a handrail chain to the right, ending the first section of the via ferrata.
The second section of the via ferrata begins, going up 2 vertical meters and then facing a dihedral. Although the chain runs on the left side, it is also possible to look for holds on the right side of the dihedral, which are not large, however. Go up the dihedral, not without trouble, looking for the best combination of steps up to a narrow terrace where you can stop for a moment. The first part of the dihedral ends and uphill for a further 5 meters. It starts with the second part of the dihedral characterized by a very smooth rock in the first meters leading us to have to pull on the chain. Going up there are a couple of artificial brackets and some natural spots where to go climbing. Now follow a short, uphill path until you reach a vertical wall exposed with good holds. As you go up this wall becomes a dihedral with a fairly pronounced crack. The chain runs to the right but there are many good holds on the left. Once the dihedral is over, turn left going up a wall about 10 meters exposed with some protruding rocks. You reach a ledge that to the right leads us to the first key passage: a diagonally exposed to the left with very smooth rock that in fact forces the use of the chain. Climb the crossbar diagonally to reach an exposed edge that we must go back up using the few grips present. This trait requires good arm strength, absolute absence of vertigo and a minimum of patience in finding the few grips present for progression. In the final part of the tower, go up to the right, initially pulling up the chain, then looking for the foot holds. Back up the pylon we are in a ridge aided. We cover the ridge and reach a small path that leads us to the last part of the ferrata.
This last part of the ferrata begins with great difficulty. We have to go up a vertical wall initially very devoid of grips and then proceed with some metal brackets and in the upper part in split using a rock on the right. At this point a path is taken that goes around a gully along the mountain. Go along a ledge and you come to a series of passages where you have to climb and jump back up. Go along a path and face a last small wall to go up before reaching the second key passage that we will reach with a stretch of path. The second vertical passage is of absolute difficulty and it is advisable to recover all the strength before undertaking it, since a possible descent would be extremely difficult and dangerous.
This key passage is a long chimney of about 30 meters to be climbed with a good mix of technique, strength and agility. It immediately attaches to the left side of the chimney with a pair of metal handles that help the beginning a lot. Also going up will be comfortable the right side to proceed in split and to find balance points for the hands. Then we reach the first point where the chain crosses the chimney. Now go up on the right side going up a vertical wall and inevitably exposed. Go up to the right going to reach a providential handle. The chain now passes inside the chimney and returns to its left side. At this point it is necessary to pay attention not to get stuck and get out of the slot. Although the chain runs to the left, the right-hand side of the chimney is probably richer. We now come to a technical point where it is necessary to proceed in a split. If you proceed by totally pulling the rope, you will have to look for holds only on the left wall with the result of doing a lot of effort at the level of the arms. Go up the chimney crack and reach a slightly wider point where you can place both feet. The chain crosses the chimney and we now proceed on the last stretch standing to the right and climbing a last smooth vertical section with some brackets present. We are almost at the end when we arrive in a panoramic terrace before facing the last 3 meters and being in fact and with great satisfaction outside the chimney. We climb the last slope and we are at the end of this demanding and exciting climb (2h 30 'from the start - 3h 15' from the top station of the cable car).
The easiest descent requires reaching the Rifugio Azzoni. From the end of the via ferrata, continue to the right in a north-westerly west direction where, after passing a few ups and downs, you reach Rifugio Azzoni (15 'from the end of the ferrata). From the hut, follow trail 1 downhill to the junction with path 5. At this point we will have to consider whether to reach the cable car or to go down to the car park by path:
Unlike others extremely difficult via ferratas, Gamma 2 presents modest difficulties in the very first part. The level of difficulty grows regularly reaching its apex in a diagonal expose traverse and in a long technical chimney to be climbed in split. In particular, the chimney is a very technical passage where having climbing skills helps greatly.
Another aspect to consider is the arrangement of the chain in some places. The chain is positioned to support the fall but not to help progression. If you proceed by exaggeratingly pulling the chain, the result is to tire your arms a lot. Speech aside for the traverse, where the smooth rock and the type of climb requires a constant use of the chain at least up to the edge. The last consideration on the chain is the distance between the taproots: in some sections (eg: at the end of the dihedral), the distance between a taproot and the other is definitely long with the result, in the event of a fall, of a long flight and bad consequences for the fall.
For experienced hikers and with available forces the descent could take place along the Aided path of the Bobbio Canal. This is a steep path for experts with some non-trivial aided sections (1 hour we return to Piani d'Erna).
If, on the other hand, you opt for the longer return from trail 1, you could also go downhill Aided path of the Buco della Carlotta that winds in a narrow gully.
Both these options should be evaluated if you are still in good physical condition after the effort made uphill. Always uphill towards the Resegone it is possible to opt for the less difficult ones Ferrata of the Centenary to the Resegone and the Via Ferrata Silvano de Franco.
Approach: 0:40 h
Ferrata: 2:30 h
Itinerary: 5:00 h
Via Ferrata gap: 424 m
Route difference: 624 m
Max altitude: 1875 m
Length: 6.7 Km