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AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
edited April 2008 in Tour & expedition

Me and 5 others are heading off to Bormio in September for some biblical suffering!

We have designed 3 'big days' over our 5 days theres:-

1) Bormio - Up Passo Stelvio to Umbrail Pass - Descend into Switzerland then make out way back round to Prato - Up the Passo Stelvio from the more famous 48 switchback ascent..2 brutal massive climbs in our first day...are we mad?

2) Bormio - Mazzo - MORTIROLO - Ponte Legno - Passo Gavia - Bormio - Yes, we are mad!

3) Bormio - Tirano - Passo Bernina - Livigno - Pass eira/Foscagno etc - Bormio.

In between it would be nice to get restful days...there seems no flat at all really - any suggestions? (apart from the Bormio2000 ski station climb)

I've been up Others over the years..e.g Ventoux / Tourmalet / Galibier / Mount Teide / Croix de Fer do these compare to the ones I've already did?.

Any feedback very appreciated.


  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    Did some of this on Raid Dolomite last year. Based on that:

    V important:Take warm/waterproof clothing, dont take carbon wheels and beware sudden changes of weather. Did Stelvio from Bormio, set off in rain and was a full blizzard by the time reached the top. Almost caught frostbite on the descent then had long hot sunny ride to down the vally to Lana. Riders coming up other way in hot weather gear had a bit of a shock.

    Climb of Stelvio from Bormio is not too tricky, good road surface and easier than the climbs you mention.

    Did pretty much your day 3 as a one day ride (started from Chiavenna to go up Maloja St Moritz then onto Bernina etc to Bormio. Majola/Bernina was hardest of the bunch but we had a cold headwind. Restaurant at the top, nice glaciers. Livigno advice: bear right before you get to the village proper (up into into a vally with cable cars). Livigno/Eira/Foscagno all similarish climbs of 3-6 km at 6-7% so small beer compared to others you have done/Stelvio. Descent to Bormio is a long fast blast.

    We hit a massive traffic jam at the Foscagno (because Livigno is a tax free zone and customs sometimes stop every car). If this happens advice you scoot up the outside or you could be in for a long wait.

    If you havent already got it Touring Club Italiano 1:200 000 map 4 is very clear and accurate.

    Envy you going up Stelvio the classic way. Good luck and happy climbing
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Thanks Bahzob,

    Yeah, looking at the profiles etc I think the way up the Stevlio (well Umbrail Pass at 2500meters) from Bormio will be a fairly tough ordeal...its a climb of 1200 meters at 6.7%...but not expecting too much damage...that will follow after we descen to Santa Marie and head round to Prato for the ascent of the Stelvio the classic way...a climb of 1808meters at 7.4% avg....thats going to be tough, I've been informed the Stelvio is a tad easier than Ventoux...but that doesnt make it any more pleasing as Ventoux is a 100% killer.

    Never did 2 HC climbs back to back so this will be a real tester.

    I'm expecting the Gavia from Ponte Legno to be a similar difficulty as the Tourmalet..which was again brutal in its own right.

    The Bernina Pass from Tirano I guess will be a tad easier....and the climbs back over the Eira and Foscagno from Livigno to Bormio looks fairly small.

    Its the dreaded Mortirolo thats playing mostly in my mind...a climb of near 1300meters in less than 12kms...I've did a few biggish steep climbs before...Pla D'Adet was a shocker, and people don't understand how steep the Porter Aspet is...I also did a real steep censored in Tenerife up from a Village called Masca...but I reckon the Mortirolo being so much longer than those with a consistently high gradient will test me to the limit...ok its not near as steep as the insanity we have here in the UK but having 12kms of 10.5% is something...we shall see!
  • Did Venice to London last summer, climbed Stelivo with 27kg equip, There is a campsite right at the base of the climb in the Village coming from venice to stelivo, good to camp up the night there before the climb. There is also a cycle route , tarmac, completely away from trafic from just after Venice to Stelivo. Did not see a car for 5 days, realy nice route, can send you the map, when we got to the top Instead of doing a left to Bormio we took the right to Switzerland. links to pics below.

    Leave early morning so you have plenty of time for the climb, rest on the top and then to Bormio before it gets late. Dried figs loaded with natural sugars for the instant energy hit without the big drop and loaded with carbs for the slow release energy to sustain you.
    The view is something else. ride safe....& enjoy
  • Hey there guys, yeh that is some tuff riding you have there..
    But hey its nothing but fun, you just need to take your time and be careful of the traffic.
    The italians will love you, the germans and austrians will run you down

    Now if you are looking for flat rides, head east of the province of bolzano and go to either Bolzano, Laives, Merano... these are all very cool towns and have flat rides galore. You can recover there and enjoy yourselves on the neverending bike trails that go down as far as Trento. There is plenty of wineries and castles between Merano and Bolzano as well

    Enjoy.. please let me know if you need more info
  • wakemalcolmwakemalcolm Posts: 284

    Just a quick note of warning - the Umbrail pass descent isn't metalled all the way down, there's a couple of Ks of track (very rideable but a bit of a shock if you're not expecting it)

    Stelvio twice in one day? Yes you are mad.
    Cake is just weakness entering the body
  • andypandyp Posts: 9,066
    hi Richy,

    Looks like a great trip. As you know I've spent some time in that area so have ridden all the routes you've done. If you do go ahead with those three days then I doubt you'll be up to much other riding! There really isn't much else to do other than reversing routes you've done.

    Day 1 is one I've done myself and it's a good ride. The climb to the Umbrail isn't too tough apart from the tunnels (more later on these) and a section just before the 14 hairpins which is as steep as it gets. I'm not sure if the Umbrail is still unmetalled as wakemalcolm says as there were plans to tarmac it all. I'd agree with him though and say it really isn't anything to worry about. The north side of the Stelvio, from Prato, is immense with just over 1800 metres of height gain in 24 kms. It steepens as you climb so the last 10 kms are the hardest part. The road surface is variable too as it suffers a lot from frost damage each winter. Nothing can prepare you for the top of the Stelvio, you go from splendid isolation to commercial hell in a few wheel revs! The descent back into Bormio is fast but be careful in the tunnels as they are unlit - I'd recommend a back light as a minimum and remember to lift your sunglasses before you enter them to avoid being plunged into darkness. Brian Smith (BrianS on here) rated the descent as a worst experience than the climb when he rode it in the Giro in 1994.

    Your second ride is horrific - the Mortirolo is the nastiest climb I've done. It is unremittingly steep and seems to go on and on for ever. It's quite low too so if the weather is warm you'll really notice it, especially on the lower sections. I did it in the Gran Fondo Marco Pantani last year so had the Gavia in my legs first. It'll be interesting to hear how you find it given your liking for the steep stuff! The Gavia is a great climb with some superb views but it is also long. Be warned that there is a tunnel about 3 kms from the top that is unlit and 350 metres long. The descent back into Bormio is frightening, with a very twisty bumpy section from the lake at the top all the way down to Santa Caterina. Then it's straight and very fast back down to Bormio (with a small village to go through just before Bormio itself). The GF Marco Pantani was as hard as anything I've done and I was 15 minutes quicker on that than I was for the Marmotte so be prepared for a long, tough day in the saddle. Hopefully doing the Mortirolo first will ease it slightly but the payback could be that the Gavia is a horror.

    The Bernina from the Tirano side is also a long climb and the road can be quite busy as people head towards St Moritz. Livigno is great and as bahzbob says be prepared for a traffic jam as you go over the Foscagno. The cafe at the top there serves the thickest hot chocolate you'll ever see in your life btw! Another great descent follows all the way back to Bormio.
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