Review of the Ferrata Viali that climbs a gully under the Monte Gramolon. The ferrata is varied, of medium difficulty with some more challenging and athletic passages. Itinerary with rather short approach and return that extends at low altitude. Pay attention to the hot summer months.
The starting point of the itinerary is the Bepi Bertagnoli Hut (1225 m) point where the road that climbs the Campodalbero valley ends in the province of Vicenza. From the south follow to Arzignano and then towards Chiampo. We continue going up the valley paying attention after the Valletta locality at the right turn for Campodalbero (first indication for the Bertagnoli Hut). We follow the road, sometimes a little narrow, up to Campodalbero. We follow the various bends and we stay on the road, now narrower, even after Campodalbero up to the parking lot at the hut. Directions for Google Maps available here.
From the parking lot at the Bertagnoli Hut we climb towards the hut and we pass it in the direction of one small church where a CAI path sign indicates the direction to the right to keep. We climb into the wood on a path with a moderate slope following the signs 221. We follow the path that initially uphill then downhill and aided in some exposed passages and on a slightly landslide bottom they make us lose altitude by descending to the base of a gully where we notice the first sign indicating the Ferrata Viali. A few meters further, looking up to the right, we see the accatto a few meters higher (20 'from the parking lot).
Start reached we climb diagonally on an edge to the right of the marble slab of the ferrata. The edge that we ascend is located on the left side of the gully that characterizes the first part of the Viali. The first meters are rather vertical on well-set rock and subsequently we cross to the right in a series of medium difficulty passages. You will immediately notice that the bottom is composed of small pebbles and unstable traits. It is not uncommon for stones to be thrown along this route and therefore a helmet is absolutely mandatory. We continue on the traverse for about twenty meters without too much difficulty up to move to the right side of the canyon.
We climb in diagonal for 5 meters and after one short ledge we are under the key passage of the way: one aided overhanging wall with a long series of metal brackets. The brackets are wide and offer the possibility to support both feet making possible stops with a quickdraw or webbing. The wall is about fifteen meters scarce and could be divided into three series of passages: initially very steep, in vertical central part and the last meters again overhanging although less than the first part. Climb up this wall we move to the left using a useful peg for the feet and a bracket. We walk a short and exposed crosswise initially horizontal then diagonally coming under a second aided wall. Also this wall is challenging although less than the previous one. Indeed it is less steep and shorter ending with the last brackets diagonally who deposit us on a short ledge to the left.
After having passed these two challenging sections, we now find ourselves climbing one vertical ladder of about twenty pegs. We leave the ladder on the right using some brackets present and we cross to the left. We climb diagonally using the small natural grips and some pegs wisely inserted until reaching a wall where the cable rises vertically. Some pegs help to climb this passage. We are at a point where originally there was a second ladder which climbed to the left side of the wall. Currently the way has been re-aided and pass On the right side climbing a vertical section aided with a series of brackets. This trait yes salt by bending to the right and the abundant artificial tricks make the passage less difficult than it actually could be without. We leave the vertical wall and after a short traverse to the left with which we go around an edge we find ourselves in the part more shady and narrow than the gully.
The cable starts again vertically with a series of handles and brackets, we go through a new traverse to the left and reach one wall where there are some brackets. We climb this wall vertically and we enter the gully to the left along a exposed sideways on pegs. We continue to climb towards the left alternating vertical lines and short horizontal lines. Let's go up a long vertical section on one edge with a slight overhang in the initial part and more tiered in the upper part beyond which we move to the left side of the gully paying attention not to move rocks that inevitably would fall along the gully that we have just risen creating potential dangerous situations for those who follow.
On the opposite side of the canyon we begin a climb initially vertically on a wall that becomes quickly exposed. The climb is quite steep and where there are no holds present handles to win the most challenging leaps. We climb diagonally towards left and we reach a small balcony where we can see the newly ascended gully from above. We cross a horizontal traverse to the right and later some rocks over which we are on a more comfortable path that leads us to one Park bench in a connecting section towards the final section of the route.
After a pause on the bench we continue on the track of path that leads us towards one Rocky wall where one is located long metal ladder. The ladder it is about 25 meters high and in the final part becomes less vertical leaving us in a section of aided path, after which we are on path 202 where the Ferrata Viali ends (2h from the start).
At the end of the Viali ferrata we are on a path that cuts across the Gramolon and we will have some options based on how we want to continue our itinerary.
If our goal is to return to the Bertagnoli Hut we can follow the path 202 on the left, we cross a military tunnel (no torch needed) until we cross a steep path before the Passo di Scagina that descends to the left. The path descends into the woods and passes next to a small monument in memory of Bepi Bertagnoli, who perished in these mountains and continues downhill until reaching the start point of the Ferrata Viali (40 'from the end of the Ferrata). Now we continue backwards along the approach path to the car park (about 1 h from the end of the ferrata - about 3h 30 'total).
The most satisfying alternative is to continue towards Gramolon. If you want to go up to Gramolon, take path 211 just after the ferrata, which climbs to the right to Gramolon. Along the path it is possible to take a deviation signposted to the left to cover the short but challenging Ferrata Ezio Ferrari (read report here). Go up to the Gramolon on a steep but not difficult path until you reach the summit cross (1814 m - 45 'from the end of the via ferrata). The return takes place backwards along the uphill path (avoid the Ferrata Ferrari downhill) and then descend to Bertagnoli as indicated above (4h 45 'total).
The Ferrata Viali is a very pleasant via ferrata, of medium difficulty, with single passages that are challenging but never prohibitive. The two overhanging passages are athletic but short. If you are not sure of being able to climb them, it is advisable to have with you a quickdraw or a sling with which you can pause. The rest of the via ferrata is varied with different sections of vertical ascent, traverses, ledges, rocks and finally a long, adrenaline-filled metal staircase. If combined with the nearby Ferrata Ferrari it becomes a really interesting and challenging itinerary. The via ferrata has been completely re-aided recently and all the equipment, ropes and window frames are in excellent condition. Beware of the fog that tends to rise in the afternoon hours in this area of the Little Dolomites. Keep in mind that the itinerary extends in a rocky gully and after rains you could find part of the wet itinerary with a significant increase in climbing difficulties. Finally, as indicated in the report, pay attention to the somewhat landslide background and not to move stones along the way.
The Ferrata Viali is generally combined with the short, athletic one Ferrata Ferrari (not mandatory). The area of the Small Dolomites offers many other interesting aided routes. Moving in the Carega area we meet 4 different and very interesting itineraries: the short and exposed one Ferrata Biasin, the long and interesting Aided path Pojesi, the Ferrata Campalani and finally the Ferrata ascending to Vajo Scuro with the new difficult variant Lontelovare.
Moving instead in the Val d'Astico you can go along the recent one Ferrata Anelli delle Anguane.
If instead we wanted to move to the north in the direction of Pasubio we meet the Aided path to Monte Cornetto and the Path Aided to the 5 Cime del Pasubio.
Approach: 0:20 h
Ferrata: 2:00 h
Itinerary: 3:30 h
Via Ferrata gap: 370 m
Route difference: 550 m
Max altitude: 1700 m
Length: 3.5 Km
Mountain Group: Vicentine Pre-Alps