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. 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 continue to descend until you reach the aided path (20' from the parking lot).
The last stretch of descent is secured by a rope 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 for Bagneri. Cross the bridge and continue along an easy path that runs alongside the stream, alternating between aided and non-aided sections. Those aided are slightly more exposed going up some short jumps helped also by artificial foot holds. You reach stretches of uphill and downhill facilities up to a more marked descent on a rope (not rope) gradually descending towards the stream. In the following section you walk closer to the river on comfortable rocks that always cross to the left up to a short vertical wall with metal brackets. Take a section of aided path up to the first bridge of the 3-string monkeys that leads us to the orographic right side of the stream.
After the bridge you face a downhill stretch up to a stone bridge that crosses the stream bringing you back to the orographic left. Continue along the torrent on the rocks without equipment, ignoring a deviation with yellow signs that descends towards the stream. You then come to a horizontal traverse slightly suspended over the river in a waterfall. Climb up a short distance to reach the second suspension bridge. This bridge of the monkeys also takes us to the orographic right side of the stream. We continue to the right on a traverse right above the stream until we reach a ledge that between comfortable ups and downs allows us to continue the climb along the stream. We then reach a stretch of vertical descent towards the stream bed. We go up a diagonal ramp that leads us near a small natural canyon where we will continue horizontally with our feet on the brackets overlooking the stream. We go around an unmarked edge and continue on the traverse surrounded by an increasingly wonderful environment with the stream that creeps into the canyon after a waterfall. The traverse takes us near a rocky roof that forces us to descend slightly to continue.
We continue on the long traverse up to a stretch where we continue to cross with our feet on a rope until we reach the third and last suspension bridge, the shortest of the three. We return to the orographic left and after the last meters of cable the Aided path of the Infernone ends (2h from the start - 2h 20' total).
Go up the slope towards the coast that overlooks the gorge. We will come to a mule track that descends back to Sordevolo until we find via Begneri and then to the car park (40' from the end of the via 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