Toughest climb I've done, hands down.
After warming up on the easy climb from Vittorio Veneto (155 meters) to Sella Fadalto (487 meters), I followed the western shore of Lago Santa Croce to Paludea. Here the climb begins for Rifugio Dolomieu (1494 meters) on Monte Dolada (1938 meters, pictured above on left).
Starts off nice enough- it averages 7% for the first 6.5 km up through Tignes, and Pieve d'Alpago, steepening to one km of 10-11% below Plois.
But the last 6 km from Plois to Rifugio Dolomieu averages 10.7%. This breaks down to one half km of 15%, a stretch of 10-12% followed by another half km of 15%, more 11-12%, and another half km of 15%. The steepness is unrelenting- you keep thinking it must flatten a bit after the next bend, but instead it only gets steeper. I stood in the pedals and tried to inhale enough oxygen to fuel this ascent but on five or six occasions I had to stop and breath for a few minutes to catch up. The problem was finding a place to stop and rest with a wide enough roadway to restart with clipless pedals. I was lucky except for one stop, where I had to walk maybe 50 meters to find a restarting point.
The bottom two thirds of the climb are exposed to the sun, so quite hot. The last third is covered in trees, which helped stave off heat exhaustion. The pavement is mostly good, so no added complications there. Oddly the Ediciclo guidebook rates this climb easier than Monte Crostis or Passo Cason di Lanza. Maybe if I try again in Fall when it's cooler and skip the warm up climb from Vittorio Veneto it will be easier.
Mountains on north shore of Lago Santa Croce
This guy scared me zooming down from Rifugio Dolomieu. I was taking a picture of mountains and suddenly heard this whooshing noise as his hang glider swooped directly above me