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Fletcher/Smith Rating: 4A
Hofler/Werner Rating: -
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The Sentiero Attrezzato Rio Sallagoni is quite a short outing. The ferrata portion is short, and the hiking portion is also short. The ferrata climbs along the smooth walls of a narrow gorge - nice and cool on a hot summer day! The climbing is almost entirely done on stemples, so the technical difficulty of the climb is quite low. For those of you also consulting the fletcher / smith guidebook about this route, I realize that it is graded a '4A', but in all honesty I myself would grade it a '2A' - and an easy '2A', at that.
This climb is documented in the fletcher / smith guidebook as route 'RIVA 4'.
start of the sallagoni route
The route can be done as a loop or, if you have two vehicles, as a one-way traverse. The start of the route is from a parking lot on provincial highway 84 (SP84) - the road that connects the town of Dro to the town of Drena. There is a good-sized parking lot just uphill of a large soccer / sports field, and below where the road starts switchbacking up towards Drena. If you have two cars, you can leave one up at the parking lot near the Castel Drena (Castello di Drena).
From the parking lot, head east through a grassy picnic area. There's a sign at the far end of the picnic area that says 'passegiata per il Castello'. Obey the sign and turn right, and follow the wide, gravelly path. There are nice views ahead and to your right into the Sarco valley towards Arco.
After passing a big tunnel and a few left-hand side branches, you'll come to a big notice board. See picture 'Sign for the Rio Sallagoni Route' below. Turn left here, and in very short order, you'll arrive at the narrow cleft that is the lower end of the Rio Sallagoni Gorge. If it is a hot day, blessedly cool air will issue forth from depths of the gorge.
Sign for the Sallagoni route
The ferrata starts right from the entrance of the gorge. It is a nearly continuous sequence of stemples, following a bold line up the smoothly curving wall of the left side of the gorge. It is not at all hard (unless you happen to be short enough that you can't stand on the stemples while you are clipped into the wire, in which case things will be awkward).
After following a rising traverse for a while, the route flattens out, traversing mostly horizontally in the narrow confines of the gorge. In places it is almost cavelike, with big chockstones above you. At one point, the gorge narrows to about a metre wide, and the route crosses over to the right-hand wall. Again, almost the entire ferrata is stempled, so you are basically walking along, mostly horizontally, on stemples almost the whole time.
After a short twenty minutes or so of wire and stemples, the ferrata abruptly ends and the gorge suddenly opens up into a green, leafy, tropical-feeling space with high rock walls all around. There is a wire bridge running across the canyon partway up, but this is not obligatory to complete the route.
Staying to the left side of the now widened canyon, the route goes up with some easy scrambling (protected with some wire), goes through some narrow passageways in the rock, and emerges into another verdant alcove in the canyon. A pretty log-staircase climbs up to the next level, where a junction is encountered. Turn left and cross the bottom of the gorge on a small wooden bridge, and then follow the trail steeply upwards as it climbs out of the gorge.
Soon you'll see the tower of the Castle Drena high above you, and you know you are nearing the end of the route. The route climbs up to the base of the castle, then winds around it to the right, ending at a railing near the entrance to the Castle. If you wish, you can pay the entrance fee and explore the castle, the highlight of which is a climb up to the top of the castle's tower, which is in good shape.
end of the sallagoni route
If you've left a car at the top end, then you've finished your adventure. If not, you can either take a path (or walk down the road) back to your starting point. The fletcher / smith guidebook has instructions on following this return path, if you want more information on that (I've not done it myself, so I don't know the details).
Interactive Trackmap & Photo Points - Sentiero Attrezzato Rio Sallagoni - Click link below to expand
Quick Reference Ferrate Route Index
rating from the newer Cicerone Guide by Fletcher and Smith
(**) Difficulty rating from older Cicerone Guide by Hofler/Werner
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