Review of the Falcipieri Aided path to the 5 Cime del Pasubio (the so called "5 peaks of Pasubio"). The itinerary is long, never too difficult but always quite exposed. The route maintains a mountaineering character, while remaining moderately difficult, with several sections of free climbing unprotected both uphill and downhill. Places of strong historical interest both uphill and along the way back through the "52 Tunnel Road".
The starting point of the itinerary is Bocchetta di Campiglia in the province of Vicenza. This location, where the large car park for access to the Road of the 52 Tunnels is located, can be reached from Passo Xomo, generally reached by turning north from State Road 46 which connects Rovereto (Trentino) with Schio (Vicenza). In Ponte Verde, near a wide hairpin bend, a road comes out with clear indications for the 52 Tunnel Road. Follow the narrow road all the way to Passo Xomo for about 5.5 km. Once you reach the pass, follow the signs to the left for Pasubio. We walk the new road for 1.5 km to the paid parking lot at Bocchetta di Campiglia. Directions for Google Maps available here.
Leave the car in the parking lot (1220 m) and walk towards the beginning of the Road of the 52 Tunnels which, however, we will soon leave by following on the right the signpost 367 for the Aided Monteaineering Path of the 5 Cime. This path runs parallel to the Route of the 52 Tunnels (signpost 366) which we will cover on our way back. We climb into the woods following the red and white signs until we meet the slab from which begins the Aided path Falcipieri or the "Via delle 5 Cime del Pasubio" (15 'from the parking lot).
Reached the first wire rope we moved to the ridge that we will follow along our entire route alternating stretches of aided and non-aided path, more or less vertical sections of via ferrata and short stretches of free climbing (max grade II). After this first jump closed between two stones we continue on the path reaching a chimney where the cable runs to the left while we encounter some artificial holds on the right side. We cover a stretch of path where we meet some short aided sections along the ridge. We pass through a crack between two rocks and descend into an aided stretch. We continue on the path going up some easy aided jumps until we see a tunnel of the road below. Let's proceed on our trail passing inside one short gallery and therefore proceed to the left on a aided ledge. We cover the ledge and bypassing one aided edge to the right we climb it in pleasant climbing.
After the ascent of this spur, rather vertical and exposed in the upper part, we continue along the ridge always aided until we descend a few meters and heading towards a rocky bastion where we find the metal equipment. Initially on the ledge to the right to then meet a dihedral leaning with cable on the right. We easily ascend the dihedral until we reach one long metal ladder. We are at the so-called "Bovolo". Let's go up the ladder which ends on a short traverse in slight overhang to the right where there are some brackets. We cross the traverse, initially with limited grips for the feet, then wider and we reach a ledge. We cover the ledge which is interrupted by a well-set wall and aided with brackets. We go up the decidedly climbing wall taking the ledge back to the right. The ledge rises momentarily on some rocky slopes before reaching a wider stretch of path that leads us to the first of the 5 Cima: Bella Laita (1881 m - 1h 30 'from the start).
We now proceed in a westerly direction on a long stretch of ridge. The ridge is generally wide although exposed on both sides with some easy stretches to climb for free. We continue on the well-marked path with pines and low vegetation on both sides. After a few minutes on the ridge we face a stretch of fifteen meters of unprotected climbing on which to pay attention. The steps are obvious and not difficult but the steps are exposed and prudence is needed. Once we reach a small saddle, we always go back free on passages of the first degree on the opposite side for resume the ridge path to the second summit: Cima Cuaro (1939 m - 30 'from Bella Laita - 2h from the start).
Leaving the top we continue on the ridge starting a descent in a short gully where we meet a metal bracket in support. Then we take the ridge path again reaching the wire rope which helps us to descend an initially vertical stretch then more supported and stepped. Short transfer section and we take up the aided descent along a leaning wall but with a friable base. In the lower part of this section we descend along a diagonal traverse not difficult but exposed before go down the last vertical meters and reach the end of the rope at a wider saddle - Forcella Camossara (1875 m - 30 'from Cima Cuaro - 2h 30' from the start).
We continue along the ridge in a westerly direction with some easy climbing steps with always a good exposure behind us. there we carry on the ridge edge initially on the left side then on the right side proceeding now without equipment following the white red signs on the path that gradually widens up to reach the metal equipment again. We climb a short step to then go around a boulder on the left and go up a short gully that brings us back to the ridge. The road continues towards the top Forni Alti now on the ridge around the mountain pines to be interrupted only knows a jump. We continue the path meeting again the equipment that goes up the ridge. The upper part of this section is certainly the most exposed with some aerial passages supported by wide brackets. These steps are exposed but not difficult and come up with a pleasant progression. We complete the vertical ascent and find ourselves back on the ridge that after a last stretch of partially aided rocks and a short gully always aided, leads us with path to the spartan wooden cross of the Forni Alti advance. We continue on the ridge in this fairly flat section until we reach the metal cross on the top of Forni Alti (2023 m - 45 'from Forcella Camossara - 3h 15' from the start) - third top reached along the way. Straight to us we see the ridge that we will travel downhill and later uphill towards the Cimon del Soglio Rosso.
We continue the path passing next to one commemorative slab of the Great War and therefore we proceed inside a war gallery that bifurcates inside. We follow the white red signs holding the left tunnel coming out into short from the tunnel where we meet a well-aided stretch of descent that leaves us on the path below. We follow the path that leads us inside a second gallery. We cover it (torch is not necessary) and the path continues slightly downhill on the opposite side up to a pole indicating the Passo di Fontana d'Oro (1875 m). We ignore the deviation for the 52 Tunnel Road (signpost 366) and we keep right on the path in the direction of the Papa Hut (signpost 369).
After this stretch of descent, the trail continues now in a modest climb alternating sections of a comfortable path with some rocky leaps. Having said this, the first aided stretch is downhill on a steep stretch that leads us, after a diagonal stretch, to a drop-out. We continue along the path along a narrow ledge to the left. We continue on the path that returns to the ridge where we meet the metal equipment in the first section. We cover the ridge and reach the penultimate top of the road: the Cimon del Soglio Rosso (2040 m - 1h from Forni Alti - 4h 15 'from the start). Before leaving we turn to see the route taken descending from Cima Forni Alti crossing two tunnels with the below Strada delle 52 Gallerie which runs parallel to our path.
Once at the top of the Cimon del Soglio Rosso the rest of the itinerary becomes straight to us. We go down along the ridge for back up soon the fifth and last top: Top of the Observatory (2027 m - 15 'from Cimon del Soglio Rossi - 4h 30' from the start). After visiting the remains of a observation point in the Great War, we go down with a steep path up to the Porte del Pasubio where we reach the great General Achille Papa Hut at the end of this exciting and long hike along the ridges of the Pasubio (ca 5h from the start - 5h 15 'total).
From Rifugio Papa the return to Bocchetta di Campiglia takes place along an equally exciting road. In fact, we will go along the road that we have repeatedly seen running parallel to some tens or hundreds of meters below the Falcipieri Aided path: the Road of Heroes, or the Route of the 52 Tunnels. If the torch is not necessary due to the short tunnels along the via ferrata, it is definitely in this part of the route. We will indeed go to cross 52 galleries dating back to the Great War, some of a few meters other long (up to 370 m) e articulated, some dark others illuminated from holes in the rock. The road is about 6.5 km long and winds its way to half shore along steep precipices and it is a work that leaves us astonished when it was built and the time of construction (only 10 months). Follow the along the return path taking the time to admire the landscape and reaching the parking lot after about 2 hours from the Hut (about 7h 30 'total).
The Aided path or Ferrata Falcipieri is a ridge itinerary therefore with a fair exposure present in long stretches of the route. Moreover, as indicated by the sign at the beginning of the itinerary, it maintains a certain mountaineering character although it is widely aided. In fact, we meet different sections of climbing (max grade II) that require attention especially in the case of wet rock. The equipment has been recently modernized and is in good condition.
Another aspect that we highlight for this trip is the fog. In this area, especially in the warm months, it often happens that in the afternoon a thick fog rises from the valleys. Considering the length of the itinerary it is advisable to have already arrived at the shelter in the early hours of the afternoon to avoid having to travel through sections of the road wrapped in fog. Last consideration. Bring abundant supplies of water as there are no sources between the start and the Pope Hut.
The Falcipieri Aided path winds along the northern part of the Small Dolomites. Moving further south we immediately meet the Aided path to Monte Cornetto while if we move in the area of the Carega we can climb the Aided path Pojesi, the Via Ferrata Biasin, the Ferrata Campalani or the Ferrata at the Vajo Scuro. Finally from Recoaro Terme we can go up to the Bertagnoli Hut where it is possible to walk along the Ferrata Viali and the Via Ferrata Ezio Ferrari at the Gramolon. From Pian delle Fugazze it is also possible to undertake the Aided path Baglioni. Moving instead in the Val d'Astico you can go along the recent one Via Ferrata Anelli delle Anguane.