The Aided path of the Infernone (literally "the Aided path of the big hell" - just notice that infernone is also a slang way of calling "gorge" in Italian) is a beautiful itinerary that runs along the gorge of the Elvo stream near Sordevolo. The path does not present any particular technical difficulties and winds along an area of absolute landscape interest. There are 3 suspension bridges that add a bit of exposure to a path that is otherwise quite devoid of air traits.
The starting point of the itinerary is Sordevolo, a municipality in the province of Biella. You will park your car in the public park along Via Bagneri.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
From the car park, continue downhill along the road making a first hairpin bend to the left and continue to descend. Follow the aboundant signs, signs on a showcase . You reach a saddle in the road where we will keep the left (sign CAI for the Ferrata dell'Infernone) until the asphalt road ends and we take the dirt road downhill. Along the dirt road, ignore a junction towards a farmhouse and you continue downhill until you reach the aided path (20' from the parking lot).
The last sections downhill is aided with ropes as it is a little slippery due to the humidity of the stream and the undergrowth. Turn right starting with the actual aided path going up a diagonal ramp until you pass under the stone bridge to Bagneri. Cross the bridge and continue along an easy path next to the river, with wonderful view, alternating between aided and non-aided sections. This section of the route has aided sections just in some parts, sometimes with metal wire others with rope. Those aided are slightly exposed climbing some rocky jumps helped by some artificial pegs for feet. We then reach some sections of go up and down aided until a more marked descending part aided with rope (not wire) descending towards the stream. In the next section you walk next to the stream on easy rock traversing always to the left until a short vertical wall with metal brackets. You continue on the aided path until a first bridge so called monkeys bridge with 3 wires leading us on the right side of the river.
Following the bridge we face a downhill section up to a stone bridge which cross the stream leading us on the left side. We continue next to the river on rocks without aiding ignoring a yellow sign deviation descending to the river close to a waterfall. We then reach an horizontal traverse above the river next to the waterfall. You climb a short wall to reach second suspension bridge. Also this bridge with 3 wires leads us on the right side of the river. We continue to the right on a traverse using also metal brackets for the feet right above the stream, where this gets narrow, untill you reach a humid ledge which is followed by some easy ups and downs. We descend vertically and continue to a small natural canyon where we walk right above the stream. We conitnue on traverses in a marvellous environment. The traverse leads us under a roof and then we continue.
We reach the sign and get to a large path leading us back to Sordevolo to the car (40' from the end of the Ferrata - 3h total).
Being an itinerary that is located near a stream and in the last stretch inside a gorge, it must be avoided in the periods following heavy rains, since the track would be very humid.
For via ferrata enthusiasts, an option is to take the via ferrata in the opposite direction and return to the car along the aided path. The difficulty level is slightly greater in the few vertical sections.
The province of Biella on its site offers the possibility to download the maps and the traces of the paths of the province. A commendable activity that really helps those who are not from the area to plan their trip.
Not far from the Aided path of the Infernone there are 4 other climbing routes, all moderately difficult: the Via Ferrata Nito Staich, the Via Ferrata Ciao Miki, the Via Ferrata del Limbo and the Via Ferrata Balma. The first 3 develop near Oropa (30 minutes by car) while the last extends near San Paolo Cervo (40 minutes by car).
Approach: 0:20 h
Ferrata: 2:00 h
Itinerary: 3:00 h
Ferrata height difference: 170 m
Route difference: 300 m
Max altitude: 800 m
Length: 7.8 Km