The GER Aided path (Rancesi Excursion Group) is a beautiful aided itinerary that goes up the southern slope of Monte Coltiglione. The climb is not technically difficult but it is certainly a long and tiring itinerary with some exposed sections not protected, therefore, not to be underestimated and to be avoided in case of rain or unstable weather.
The starting point of the itinerary is the village of Rancio Alto above the city of Lecco. From Lecco take the road that leads us towards Ballabio up to an evident double hairpin bend in the middle of the houses. Near the second hairpin bend, we will notice that on the left a road continues straight and we take it (via Quarto). continue about 200 meters until you see a paved road on the right near a clearing that rises steeply with a rusty white bar open. We take this steep climb. We will make a first hairpin bend to the left and we will reach a crossroads where we continue to the right uphill. We continue a couple of minutes until we reach a bar where we park.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
There are many alternatives to reach the start of the GER Aided path at Coltiglione. We will propose 3 of them in increasing order of difficulty with some variations within them:
Undergoing the GER Aided path you will face the ascent of a first unnamed rock cliff with some rocks to tackle for free. We continue on the path going down from the rocky prominence in the direction of the Dente del Coltiglione. The path in this stretch continues almost flat, sometimes exposed and aided with rope or chain. After these first aided sections we reach the most interesting and exciting part of the trip. You will have to go up a long gully that increases the steepness as you go up. In this section the climb is definitely tiring.
Follow the red signs along the ascent path in the gully until you reach a cave - already visible during the ascent of the gully. From this stretch begins the real aided stretch that will alternate stretches of path with equipment. Go up a diagonal wall from left to right coming out of the roof where the cave used to be. This stretch is the most technically demanding of the path. Continue along a ledge going up a sloping ramp between earth and rock with equipment. Climb up a rocky rocky gully that leads to the aided ridge. We continue on this ridge until its end where we are now near the grassy and wooded peak of the Coltiglione (1h 45 'from the beginning of the path - 3h 15' total).
The easiest option to reach the Coltiglione is to descend along the path that leads to the Piani dei Resinelli, to reach the SEL hut and then along the beautiful Val Calolden trail back to the car (2h 30 'from the top - around 6h) Total).
As a longer alternative you could follow the signs for the Belvedere Trail. At the junction where you reach the Calolden summit on the right, we will turn left towards the Forcellino. From here you go down a steep, not well marked path (signposted AA on some trees) along the beautiful Val Verde. At a crossroads we will follow the Rifugio Piazza. From the hut (2h from the top) we have some alternatives: get off at the Madonnina del Carmine and from there back down the path towards the car, or go down along the Paths aided with Pizzetti or that of the Vergella. These itineraries require approximately 3 to 4 hours to return.
Of course, the alternative, which is more demanding than going back down the GER Aided path, remains the same, reaching the saddle below the Medale and descending along the Aided Medal Path. This is a longer and more demanding option.
The path is not technically difficult and is certainly rewarding for the hiker. Due to the absence of water sources along the climb, it is advisable to take plenty of it considering the difference in height that will mature.
Some of the routes easily linked to the GER Aided path are indicated in the climb options (see above). It should however be emphasized that the GER Aided path is a long itinerary - with any approach - so the training you have to do in evaluating which ascent and descent route to take must be well calculated.
Approach: 1:30 h
Ferrata: 1:45 h
Itinerary: 6:00 h
Via Ferrata gap: 250 m
Route difference: 1110 m
Max altitude: 1479 m
Length: 16 Km