Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monte San Simeone

This is a relatively unknown climb from Bordano (a town famous for butterflies and murales) to the top of Monte San Simeone (1505 meters). The paved road stops in a beautiful alpine meadow at 1168 meters- you need to hike or mountain bike to reach the summit. The paved portion is 10 km at an average 8.3% grade- great workout!

The climb starts around 300 meters at the saddle on the road between Bordano and Interneppo. The first stretch is through shady forest, a very nice 7% climb up to the junction with the road to Monte Festa. That will be another climb I'll try soon- there is a big World War I fortress up at the top.

The road continues through the forest and steepens a bit. The asphalt-and-pebbles pavement soon ends, replaced in sections with concrete. One stretch is quite bad- the surface is all lumpy, like the batch of concrete turned out bad. But most of the concrete is quite smooth. Soon the road begins a series of long switchbacks, partially shady with some openings with great panoramas. The grade stays generally in 8-10% range, with a few stretches of 13%. There are about 10 very short tunnels, mostly curved. This continues uninterrupted for 10 km.

My lower back got sore from all the seated climbing, so on the upper half of the climb I switched to standing on sections of 11% or more. This helped. There were butterflies flitting around and I finally found one sitting still long enough to photograph. At 1100 meters the road enters a wildflower-covered meadow, with stupendous views of the surrounding mountains, and the Tagliamento far below. At 1168 meters the concrete pavement ends and a dirt road continues toward the summit. Another footpath leads to the Chiesetta di San Simeone. I thought about slipping on my cleat covers and walking the 200 meters to the church, but a menacing black thunderhead changed my mind.

The descent is very slow because of loose stone and leaves etc on the roadway, as well as all the curves limiting visibility. Most of the curves have no guardrails, so if you made an error you'd have a lengthy plummet. Finally I arrived at the junction, rode the smoothly paved main road down to Bordano, then continued between the cliffs of Monte Brancot and the Tagliamento River to Trasaghis, where we got a little shower. I put my non-waterproof camera and cell phone into the zip-loc bag with my documenti and stuffed it inside my now-drained camelback. Seemed to keep them dry. After joining the Strada di Bottecchia, I continued to Pinzano and then the flat ride home.

Here's some good info about Bordano, the butterflies, mountains etc:

Looking at Bordano, the Butterfly Town

Lots of these brown butterflies flitting around. This one was a very cooperative subject.

The eye-spot on her wings to fool predators

Sorry for the blur (shaking from the climbing) but had to share this green butterfly with yellow polka dots.

Wild roses in the alpine meadow

The south end of Lago di Cavazzo, near Interneppo

Monte Piciat to the west (1615 meters)

Venzone in the Tagliamento valley

Monte Chiampon (1709 meters) and the range of peaks stretching to Slovenia

Monte Ledis center front, and the mountain range reaching Slovenia

Beautiful wildflower in alpine meadow

Monte Chiampon left, Gemona on slope, right

The azzuro Tagliamento River

Map of the 11 km climb

Altimetria of the 800 meter ascent

The gradient

1 comment:

  1. Bill, I get tired just reading about your trips! Your pictures are beautiful as usual. It is amazing that such beautiful of God's creations show up where you never expect them...