Orrido di Forest satellite Map. Thanks to Google Map.
The "Via Ferrata Orrido di Foresto" (Foresto Gorge) is a wonderful and particular Via Ferrata. It's traced alongside the bed of Rio Rocciamelone, always hidden between two vertical grey rock walls. There are a lot of awesome passages, close to potholes, waterfalls and fords. This easy Via Ferrata is very funny, but there are a couple of technical steps (overhanging) which require strong arms and a little bit of skill in rapid snap-hook change.
Via Ferrata has been reopened in 2003, by Valsusa Alpin Guides, on an old trace of 40 years ago. Some old iron steps are still visible while climbing the second waterfall (Cascata della Grotta).
Bad weather: the run in the gorge is very dangerous not only for Rio Rocciamelone floods. Rainwater is enough to cause rock toss! Be careful.
In late spring season (May, June) greater stream of Rio Rocciamelone, for snow melting from far above Rocciamelone flank, can splash Via Ferrata run, expecially at 2nd and 3rd Waterfall.
Duration: 2hr/2hr30m + 30 min return trip.
Ferrata begins at 550 mt. Difference: 250 mt.
Best period: fall, summer. Absolutely NO
after rain or summer storm!
From Turin, Milan.
Motorway A32 (the Olympic Motorway, Torino-Tunnel Frejus), exit Chianocco. Follow (brown) panel to "Orrido di Foresto". Cross Bussoleno town onto SS25. About 2 km after Bussoleno, turn right to Foresto village.
From France (Mont Cenis pass, Frejus Tunnel Motorway A32).
If on Motorway A32, exit at Susa Est, turn right to Turin direction once on SS25 junction. In about 4 km, turn left to Foresto village.
If on SS25 (Mont Cenis, Moncenisio): cross all Susa town. After 4 km, turn left to Foresto village.
If on SS24 (Montgenevre, Monginevro): once in Susa, drive to SS25. Then as written above.
Once in Foresto: free car parking in the tiny square of village Church, or in Piazza della Libertà (close to Primary School), fresh potable water.
The great pothole of Cascata della Grotta
Leftside (west) from village church, cross the little bridge on Rio Rocciamelone (the same in the gorge). Onto a narrow paved road (wooden panel "Orrido di foresto"), walk for about 5 minutes north direction. After pizzeria Zia Maria there is a junction. Turn right ("Orrido di foresto" panel, half hidden by a tree) to "Ponte del Mulino" (Mill bridge) and enter in the gorge on an easy footpath under a huge vertical wall. Forward leftside Rio Rocciamelone then cross the river on a cement ford. Go ahead for a very short track close to an ugly artificial bank. Before getting over the bank, cross the river again (second ford) to join the beginning of Via Ferrata (left in the gorge, right hydrographic).
A very simple crossing leads to a steeper rocky jump, close to the first waterfall. Once passed 1st waterfall, the "Grande Traverso" (Big Transverse) begins. This very long transverse introduce to the most spettacular slice of this whole unique Via Ferrata: the "Cascata della Grotta" (Cave waterfall) and the "Strettoia del Tasso" (Bottleneck Yew tree). After a series of ups and downs, the Via Ferrata reach a very narrow rocky passage. Then the highest waterfall (2nd, Cave waterfall), stands at the end of an hollow cave, closed at its top by the "Strettoia del Tasso".
At the foot of this wonderful rocky jump, there is the first athletic track: 4 overhanging meters to get to the smooth vertical wall to reach the top of "Cascata della Grotta". While climbing this vertical jump, one can admire the deep dark green pothole at the foot of waterfall. In May/June (and after a period of hard rain) this technical climb may be slippery for water splashed by the near waterfall.
Always on left river bank another easy transverse lead to the the third ford, very close to the third waterfall. A methallic cable could be useful to cross to right bank, to get at the foot of the most difficult passage of whole Via Ferrata.
The jump of "Terza Cascata" (Third Waterfall), begins with a vertical series of steps, then a tiring "left tilted" overhung. Once over this wall, a spectacular (easy) transverse on a vertical dark rock, leads to the fourth ford (other cable to help crossing again on left river bank). It's time to get a little break admiring the "Marmitte dei Giganti", a pair of beautiful potholes, under the "Giardino dell'Agrifoglio" (Holly Garden).
Here we are at the "Quarta Cascata" (Fourth Waterfall), easily surmontable leftside on iron steps. Once at 4th waterfall summit, the Via Ferrata leads left on a smooth 40 meters high dihedral, to get out of the gorge.
A couple of minutes on a steep path, then a grey rocky belt (last rocky passage), introduce to a very steep earthy-dusty footpath, where Via Ferrata and cable ends. A wooden panel shows the way back to Foresto.
2hr - 2hr30min.
Descente / Return
Follow the steep path close to right side of Foresto Gorge precipice, scrambling down on broken rock belts. Two very little chapels are on the way back: the "Pilone del Rusciass" and the "Pilone della Reina". This last one leads to the very large and finally confortable footpath back to the village. The wayback ends close to climbing practice field, very close to the village. In 5 minutes back to the parking.
Via Ferrata "Y" kit. Helmet.
Other Web ResourcesAltox website (italian description)
Meteo resourcesWeather forecast for Bussoleno - ForestoNimbus: page for Piemonte: 4 days long forecasts (... english page version no more available).
Useful telephon numbersEmergency:
Soccorso Alpino: 118
Guide Alpine Valsusa: +39.0122.96060
AltoX Guide di alta Montagna: Tel. fax +39.0122.653230 (www.altox.it)